NFC North mock draft roundup: new names enter the fold across the division

USA Today

We are at the doorstep of the NFL Scouting Combine, and before teams make their observations, there are mock drafts to dissect.

The latest mock draft to show who could be entering the NFC North, specifically the Lions roster, comes from Luke Easterling of Sports Illustrated. He dropped a four-round mock draft a week before the combine and included some names we haven’t seen in recent mocks.

Post-combine, the entire landscape of the NFL will change. Rumors and free agency will start, landing spots will stop making sense, and needs will change. For now, enjoy this last installment before the chaos takes place in Indianapolis.

Chicago Bears

: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Selections

  • Round One: Caleb Williams, Quarterback, USC and Brock Bowers, Tight End, Georgia
  • Round Two: Zach Frazier, Center, West Virginia
  • Round Three: Adissa Isaac, Edge, Penn State
  • Round Four: Jermaine Burton, Wide Receiver, Alabama and Ainias Smith, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M

Impact on the Lions

When it comes to the Bears fast-tracking their rebuild, this is the way. They instantly have an explosive offense with the pick of Williams but adding in Bowers who can block and receive, Burton who is a physical receiver, and the playmaking of Smith is perfect.

This team could cause some headaches for the Lions if they do not address the pass defense this offseason. They will be young and make mistakes but NFC North divisional games are always a toss-up regardless of talent level. Those are two games the Lions need all year and this is the type of draft that could steal those from them.

Green Bay Packers

: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Selections

  • Round One: Cooper DeJean, Cornerback, Iowa
  • Round Two: Graham Barton, Offensive Lineman, Duke and Kamren Kitchens, Safety, Miami (FL)
  • Round Three: Maason Smith, Defensive Line, LSU and Cedric Gray, Linebacker, North Carolina
  • Round Four: Blake Corum, Running Back, Michigan

If I were a Packers fan I would not be happy with the back half of this mock draft. Smith has injury concerns but could produce when healthy, Gray is a fun linebacker but there are questions around him.

The first two picks here with Cooper DeJean and Graham Barton fill two major needs for the Packers. DeJean is getting mocked a lot by the Packers and it makes sense. He has the style they appreciate and could play either corner or safety depending on how much they want to use his playmaking. DeJean could present some problems for Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Barton will sure up the Packers offensive line and make things difficult for the interior pass rush and run defense.

Minnesota Vikings

. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Selections

  • Round One: Terrion Arnold, Cornerback, Alabama
  • Round Two: Chris Braswell, Edge, Alabama
  • Round Four: Michael Pratt, Quarterback, Tulane and MarShawn Lloyd, Running Back, USC

Impact on Lions

The back end of this mock doesn’t concern me too much if we are being honest. Pratt and Lloyd will have to earn a meaningful role over time, as for Arnold and Braswell those need to be discussed. Arnold could be considered a top-five player overall in this draft class. If the Vikings land him and Braswell they could instantly improve the pass rush and pass coverage for the Vikings together. Could make for some long days for Jared Goff.

Detroit Lions

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Selections

  • Round One: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Cornerback, Missouri
  • Round Two: Marshawn Kneeland, Edge, Western Michigan
  • Round Three: Ja’Lynn Polk, Wide Receiver, Washington and Christian Haynes, Offensive Lineman, Connecticut

Impact on Lions

This grab of talent by the Lions is about as perfect a scenario as they could hope for. Rakestraw Jr. has the size and physical style to fit into the Lions style perfectly. He can be beaten sometimes when he shouldn’t but the amount of big-time plays he makes versus the ones made against him is greater.

Marshawn Kneeland is a project at edge but the homegrown talent could develop into a really fun edge presence. He played well at the Senior Bowl and some folks even believe he could sneak into the back end of round one.

As for the grab in round three, I like Polk as a prospect but he may not be the type of receiver the Lions need right now. His role with Washington was almost identical to what Ben Johnson uses Jameson Williams for. If the plan is to have Polk take over that role and Williams move outside then I endorse it. Rounding things out, Haynes is about as complete an interior lineman there is in the draft but the positional value pushes him into round three.

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