NFL Draft Grades: NFC North
With the 2021 NFL Draft officially complete, theScore's NFL editors hand out their initial grades for how teams fared.
We love Chicago's 2021 class for several reasons. First: the Bears found their quarterback of the future. Fields, our second overall prospect, would have been the first QB taken in many other recent drafts. Chicago may have parted with a first-rounder next year to grab him, but general manager Ryan Pace's aggressiveness should be applauded. The Bears weren't fleeced by the Giants, and Chicago couldn't have entered the season with Andy Dalton alone atop the depth chart. The Bears drafted a few potential diamonds in the rough on Day 3, and we loved the Jenkins selection in Round 2 - he should have been drafted Thursday.
This draft was all about establishing a culture and building for the long term, and Detroit accomplished its goals. The Lions' first five picks as a group are impressive - all but McNeill could be argued as steals in their chosen slots. Sewell was billed as a surefire top-five prospect for much of the year and will instantly upgrade the club's blocking unit. Even Barnes and Jefferson provide great value as the final two selections. Detroit likely views its rebuild as a multi-year process, and its 2021 class is an excellent first step. There aren't many holes to poke here.
Green Bay Packers
It certainly wasn't a fun week in Green Bay. With Aaron Rodgers rumors swirling, general manager Brian Gutekunst completed his second straight underwhelming draft class. Stokes addresses a need at cornerback, though he'll likely be targeted by opposing offenses if he sees significant time as a rookie. Myers is also a disappointing selection, especially considering the quality of other offensive linemen available (Creed Humphrey, Wyatt Davis). The Packers didn't even select a quality offensive tackle. The Amari Rodgers selection in Round 3 salvaged their grade, but there isn't much to get excited about when you compare Green Bay's crop of prospects to other teams.
Minnesota followed up drafting a whopping 15 players in 2020 by adding another 11 this year. We were impressed with the Vikings' week, especially GM Rick Spielman's first-round craftiness. Darrisaw could have been chosen 14th overall prior to the trade down via the Jets, so grabbing him nine picks later while accumulating draft capital must be commended. Minnesota also addressed needs at interior offensive line and edge rusher, even though the players' upside won't wow many evaluators. Finally, Mond's addition is a confusing one, but grabbing a quarterback is rarely bad business. This is an exciting group overall.
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