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Grading the 2017 NFL Draft: NFC North

By
Rob Rang, The Sports Xchange
Mitchell Trubisky poses for photographs with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Chicago Bears as the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater in Philadelphia, PA on April 27, 2017. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI
Mitchell Trubisky poses for photographs with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Chicago Bears as the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater in Philadelphia, PA on April 27, 2017. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo

Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu.

It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared over the weekend.

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But waiting is no fun. As such, let's take a look at which teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future via the seven rounds of the 2017 draft.

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NFC North

Chicago Bears

Scouts like to use the baseball analogy of swinging for the fences with first-round picks and no club swung mightier than the Chicago Bears with their top choice, surrendering three picks (No. 67 and 111 in 2017 and a third rounder in 2018) to move up just one spot to guarantee the selection of North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The move was surprising given that the Bears invested big dollars in veteran Mike Glennon and have few proven weapons for either quarterback to throw to. But Trubisky does possess intriguing traits, including accuracy, mobility and vision. General manager Ryan Pace gave his quarterback(s) some help later, but each of them is facing a steep jump in competition with second-round tight end Adam Shaheen playing his college ball at Ashland, fourth-round running back starring at North Carolina A&T and offensive lineman Jordan Morgan toying with opponents at Kutztown. Alabama free safety Eddie Jackson, selected in the fourth round, was a notable exception but he is coming off injury. If Trubisky is the Bear's long-term answer, Pace will have quickly found security in Chicago. However, at least from the outside looking in, this draft reeks of unnecessary risk and a potential disconnect between Pace and his coaching staff.

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Grade: C-

Detroit Lions

Whereas the Bears' draft was clearly about securing the future of the franchise, the Lions took more of an immediate-impact approach, nabbing high-flying and hard-hitting linebacker Jarrad Davis in the first round and his trash-talking Florida teammate Teez Tabor in the second. Kenny Golladay was a bit of an upset in the third round but the long-limbed vertical threat could surprise with Matthew Stafford targeting him deep. The Lions added speed in undersized linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who reminded some on tape of former Detroit standout DeAndre Levy. Tight end Michael Roberts is an intriguing developmental prospect as a former basketball player with massive mitts that helped him secure 16 touchdowns last season. Defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter and quarterback Brad Kaaya have some intriguing traits but may lack the complete skill-set to ever prove more than backups in the NFL.

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Grade: B-

Green Bay Packers

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Few offer more consistency on draft day than Packers' general manager Ted Thompson, who can be counted on to dutifully approach each draft with a checklist that will be crossed off as reliably as if he was sent to the grocery store. Seeking to fill holes in the secondary, Thompson landed a lanky press corner in Kevin King with the first pick of the second round and a hard-hitting safety in Josh Jones at No. 61. King and Jones are imposing but aren't quite as reliable as tacklers are their size suggests. An ultra-safe (but perhaps limited) linebacker Vince Biegel was nabbed in the fourth after the requisite gamble on a talented but highly inconsistent defensive tackle in Montravius Adams came off the board in the third. With Eddie Lacy no longer on the squad, the Packers needed to get help at running back and the Packers responded with three of them on the final day, beginning with a hard-running gasher in Jamaal Williams and complementing him with similar big backs in UTEP's Aaron Jones and Utah State's Devante Mays.

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Grade: C+

Minnesota Vikings

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The Vikings did not have a first-round pick in 2017 but got a top-32 talent nonetheless when Florida State running back Dalvin Cook slid to No. 41 overall. A superstar from Day One in Tallahassee, Cook could overtake free-agent addition Latavius Murray as the Vikings' primary weapon out of the backfield if he can prove that his character and injury concerns have been overblown. Head coach Mike Zimmer has a well-earned reputation for grit, which could make classic Big Ten standouts Pat Elflein (center) and Ben Gedeon (linebacker) immediate favorites of his among this rookie class. Perhaps Zimmer's personality will rub off a bit on Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson and Day Three pass-catchers Stacy Coley and Bucky Hodges, who have each flashed exciting playmaking ability but have struggled with consistency over their respective collegiate careers.

Grade: B-

Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for w, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.>ww.NFLDraftScout.com

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