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Doug Farrar

The draft in review: The NFC North

Doug Farrar
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Chicago Bears: GM Jerry Angelo was on the outside looking for the first and second rounds, but the Bears got some interesting players considering their start at the 75th overall pick. Florida safety Major Wright(notes) was an underrated defender on a team full of standouts, but he's a good deep cover man and a reliable tackler. Northwestern end Corey Wootton(notes) is huge for his position (6-6, 270) and should provide an interesting bookend for Julius Peppers(notes) if he keeps up the pace after recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the 2008 Alamo Bowl. A former first- or second-round projection, Wootton looks like a real steal in the fourth round. West Texas A&M offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb(notes) is an interesting prospect, but the selection of Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour(notes) in the sixth round is questionable with so many team needs and such a price paid for Jay Cutler(notes).

Detroit Lions: For the second straight year, the new Lions regime put together an outstanding draft. Sam Bradford's(notes) trip to St. Louis gave Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz the best player in this draft with Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh(notes). With an absolutely astounding mixture of power, speed, and technique, Suh has all-time potential. He will immediately become the interior defensive force Schwartz has been looking for since he coached Albert Haynesworth(notes) in Tennessee. Cal running back Jahvid Best(notes) was acquired with a trade up to the 30th overall pick. If he can transcend past injury issues, Best has explosive big-play ability. He's a worthy risk here. Third-round cornerback Amari Spievey(notes) is a good-sized, physical defender, and fourth-round offensive tackle Jason Fox(notes) from Miami gives the Lions depth at the position. He's an injury risk, but a tough player who plays though a lot.

Green Bay Packers: The most obvious need for the Packers is at the tackle position, and the team was fortunate that Iowa's Bryan Bulaga(notes) fell into their collective laps at 23. Bulaga isn't athletically impressive, but he's been coached very well by Kirk Ferentz, and he could start in a pinch if needed. Purdue's Mike Neal(notes) projects well as a 3-4 end, perhaps fitting better in that scheme than the departed Aaron Kampman(notes) ever did. One later-round player would could really impress is TCU's Marshall Newhouse(notes), a guard the Packers picked up in the fifth round. He's an aggressive, athletic blocker who will be a great fit over time. Buffalo running back James Starks(notes), who missed 2009 with a shoulder injury, could be another surprise producer.

Minnesota Vikings: Trading out of the late first round with the Lions, Minnesota started its 2010 draft by addressing the most pressing need - a secondary that was below average despite perhaps the best front four in the league. Virginia cornerback Chris Cook(notes), a big defender who missed time with injuries and academic issues, is an outstanding athlete how is still developing a full-scale skill set. The Vikings' other second-round pick was Stanford fullback Toby Gerhart(notes), who led the nation in rushing in 2009 and scored 28 touchdowns last season. He brings a power element to Minnesota's rushing attack. But the guy to watch here is Joe Webb(notes), the former UAB quarterback who will switch to receiver at the NFL level. Unlike many such conversion projects, Webb has experience as a wideout, switching only to quarterback because UAB wanted their best athlete playing that position.

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