Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy (42) runs with the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half of the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

NFC North 2013 Draft - All teams have ups and downs

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Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the NFL shield logo and main stage before the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

We have always liked Ted Thompson’s comments about the NFL Draft and his baseball analogythat it’s not always

The Green Bay Packers war room. Ted Thompson sits at the head of the table (left).

possible to hit home runs when you come to bat – that’s it’s a matter of working the averages and scoring when you can.

For all four teams in the NFC North, there were some hits and misses, as you can see and read below in the individual team grades provided below by walterfootball.com.

Who did better? Who did worse? Again, you could pull together the specific numbers, but at this point in April that’s a bit foolish – we all know championships aren’t won in the offseason – they are won when players hit the field, coaches do their magic and things like schedule and injuries start to work their mystical effects on just how the NFL season transpires.

What we can see clearly below is that each of these teams took a different path in this draft – with many of the moves based on total numbers of picks, where they were situated and the players available to them at the time of each team’s selections.

There were some surprises (Kyle Long to the Bears; Nate Palmer to the Packers; and Jeff Locke to the Vikings), but there were some home runs, too (Sharrif Floyd to the Vikings; Eddie Lacy to the Packers; Cornellius Washington to the Bears; and Larry Warford to the Lions).

Minnesota Vikings 1st round draft pick Sharrif Floyd
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

How this particular draft gets judged will be debated for the next several months as the “experts” tear apart the numbers, the names and the statistics. But one thing is for certain – as each of these teams spend the next week or so signing undrafted free agents to complete their rosters heading into the training portion of the NFL season, all of them have improved their status with fresh, enthusiastic and young talent that will change the landscape once again across the NFL.

For all of the NFC North selections, see below. And don’t forget to click on over to walterfootball.com for more information than one can absorb in a lifetime … it’s an incredible football site.

 

 

 Chicago Bears (Last Year: 10-6) 

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades: 

Kyle Long speaks during a Chicago Bears press conference.
Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

20. Kyle Long, G, Oregon: D Grade 
Well… at least this fills… a need… Umm… I’m kind of speechless right now. With Tyler Eifert and stud defenders like Desmond Trufant and Sylvester Williams available, the Bears decided to take an inexperienced second-round guard. Long may have been around for Chicago’s next selection, so this pick is extremely questionable.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

50. Jon Bostic, ILB, Florida: B Grade 
The Bears hope they’ve landed their successor for Brian Urlacher. Middle linebacker was a big need, and Jon Bostic is definitely worthy of being chosen 50th overall. I would have gone with Arthur Brown, but there must be major medical concerns with him because he has first-round talent.

117. Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers: A Grade 
Khaseem Greene was viewed as a second-round talent by many, but it’s not too surprising to see him fall a bit because he doesn’t fit many defenses. The Bears don’t mind though, as they fill a need with a good value selection. s

163. Jordan Mills, OT, Louisiana Tech: B Grade 
So, I guess the Bears wanted to focus on the offensive line and linebacker groups in the draft. Jordan Mills is a right tackle who should be able to challenge J’Marcus Webb. He fits the range, so this is a solid pick.

188. Cornelius Washington, DE, Georgia: A+ Grade 
I don’t understand why Cornelius Washington fell to the middle of the sixth round. Washington is a Day 2 talent. He is raw, but that’s fine because the Bears won’t really need him until Julius Peppers moves on.

236. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State: A- Grade 
Why not? Marquess Wilson was once considered a second-round prospect, but he quit on his team because he didn’t get along with head coach Mike Leach. It has to be considered that Leach is a bad guy, so Chicago is right to take a shot on Wilson.

 

 Detroit Lions (Last Year: 4-12) 

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades: 

5.

Detroit Lions first round draft pick Ezekiel Ansah.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

, DE, BYU: B+ Grade 
Finally, a good pick! I’m tired of bashing these teams. Well, OK, maybe not. But this selection makes so much sense. The Lions had a close look at Ezekiel Ansah at the Senior Bowl where he dominated the competition during the actual game. He’s a great fit in Detroit’s wide-nine formation, and will replace the departed Cliff Avril. He’ll be instrumental in Detroit’s pursuit of Green Bay in the NFC North.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

36. Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State: B- Grade 
Darius Slay was projected to go in the first half of the second round, so the range of this pick makes sense. Cornerback was also a need, though not as great of a need as people think. Having said that, what Detroit plans on doing at left tackle is beyond me. Matthew Stafford probably won’t make it through the 2013 season.

65. Larry Warford, G, Kentucky: A Grade 
This is an awesome pick. Larry Warford should have been chosen near the top of the second round. He is monstrous mauler who figures to be a huge upgrade on the interior of Detroit’s offensive line.

132. Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina: B Grade 
The Lions had to find two defensive ends in this draft because they lost both Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Devin Taylor is a good fit in the wide-nine formation, and this is the right range for him.

165. Sam Martin, P, Appalachian State: C- Grade 
Unlike the Vikings, Detroit actually needed a punter. But this is still a bad pick. Again, it’s like selecting a kicker in the 10th or 11th round of a fantasy league. It’s lazy. Solid punters can be found as undrafted free agents.

171. Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech: B- Grade 
I’m surprised the Lions waited this long for a receiver. I feel like there were better options than Corey Fuller, but this is still a fine pick. It’s just disappointing that Detroit couldn’t secure a solid No. 2 option across from Calvin Johnson.

199. Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame: B Grade 
Reggie Bush isn’t exactly the most reliable player in the league, so it’s good that the Lions added some depth at running back. At the very worst, Riddick will add some punch in the return game.

211. Michael Williams, TE, Alabama: A- Grade 
This is a solid pick. I thought Michael Williams would go earlier than this. Detroit got a good look at him at the Senior Bowl. The team needed some tight end depth.

245. Brandon Perburn, ILB, Florida A&M: B Grade 
The Lions needed linebacker help, so this makes sense in terms of both need and draft range.

 
 Green Bay Packers (Last Year: 11-5) 

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades: 

UCLA Bruins defensive end Datone Jones was the Packers first round selection.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

26. Datone Jones, DE/DT, UCLA: A- Grade 
Datone Jones has been discussed as high as No. 19 to the Giants, so the Packers are getting good value with Datone Jones. They’re also getting a tremendous upgrade on the defensive line. Green Bay was completely obliterated by Colin Kaepernick, so the team needed to find players to help them stop the read option. Jones is a great fit, as Ted Thompson continues to be one of the better drafters in the NFL.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

61. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama: A+ Grade 
Ted Thompson makes this looks so easy. Not only did he sit and wait for the top running back in the 2013 NFL Draft; he also moved down and still managed to maintain him. Eddie Lacy would have been a first-round pick if it weren’t for an injury that he’ll quickly recover from. He’ll be a tremendous upgrade in the backfield.

109. David Bakhtiari, OT/G, Colorado: A Grade 
Ted Thompson loves versatile linemen, and David Bakhtiari definitely fits the bill. He can play both tackle and guard positions, so he’ll definitely help somewhere on an offensive line that needed to be upgraded. Baktiari was an early third-round projection, so the value is good.

122. J.C. Tretter, G/OT, Cornell: B- Grade 
Another versatile offensive lineman, though J.C. Tretter is more of a guard whereas David Bakhtiari should be at tackle. I’m not as crazy about this pick because I feel like Tretter could have been taken a round later.

125. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA: A+ Grade 
Wow, what a steal! Johnathan Franklin was viewed as the top running back in this class by some, so it’s inexplicable that he fell all the way to the bottom of Round 4. Projected as a player similar to Warrick Dunn, Franklin will form a tremendous one-two punch with Eddie Lacy out of the backfield.

159. Micah Hyde, CB/S, Iowa: B Grade 
Micah Hyde played cornerback at Iowa, but he may have to move to safety in the NFL because of speed concerns. Ted Thompson could be fine with that. He likes versatile players and needed help at the safety position. I thought Hyde would go in the middle of the fifth round, so this is the right range for him.

167. Josh Boyd, DE/DT, Mississippi State: B Grade 
It’s no surprise that the Packers spent two selections on the defensive line because they have some expiring contracts coming up soon. Josh Boyd is a solid selection who fits the range as a fifth-round prospect.

193. Nate Palmer, DE/OLB, Illinois State: C Grade 
Nate Palmer wasn’t a draftable prospect, but that’s not a big deal at the end of the sixth round. What’s more surprising is that the Packers waited this long to take a pass-rusher.

216. Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State: B Grade 
Wide receiver is another position I thought the Packers would address earlier. Charles Johnson is a seventh-round prospect, so he makes sense at this spot. He might be able to make the team.

224. Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland: C Grade 
This is a much more questionable receiver pick. It’s the seventh round, but I don’t think many would have considered Kevin Dorsey in the old 12-round format.

232. Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida: B Grade 
Considered a seventh-round prospect, Sam Barrington should be able to contribute on special teams and provide solid depth.

 
 Minnesota Vikings (Last Year: 10-6) 

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades: 

Minnesota Vikings 1st round draft picks Sharrif Floyd (76) and Cordarrelle Patterson (84) and Xavier Rhodes (29) sign autographs and pose for pictures with fan Shane Swanson at the 2013 1st round draft picks press conference at Winter Park.
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

23. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: A+ Grade 
Wow, I forgot Sharrif Floyd was available. I feel like some of the other teams like the Bears, Giants and Cowboys did as well. This is the best pick in the 2013 NFL Draft thus far. Floyd is a stud interior pass-rusher who could have easily gone No. 3 to the Raiders. But as we see every year, great prospects fall because dumb teams are picking at the top of the draft.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

25. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State: B Grade 
Xavier Rhodes was mocked as early as No. 12 throughout this process, so he definitely provides good value at No. 25. However, the Vikings run the type of defense that allows teams to pass on corners in the first round. Minnesota probably should have filled other needs like receiver. That said, this is still a solid selection because Rhodes could be considered the best player available.

29. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: B- Grade 
The 29th and 52nd choices are swapped between Minnesota and New England, so the Vikings are essentially giving up third- and fourth-rounders for this choice. They better make it count, so why not go for the home run with Cordarrelle Patterson? Minnesota desperately needed receiving help after losing Percy Harvin. Patterson is raw – which is why he dropped to No. 29 – but he has so much potential. The problem is that the Vikings don’t have a quarterback to get him the football.

120. Gerald Hodges, OLB, Penn State: B Grade 
The Vikings haven’t picked in nearly 100 selections, but they continue to draft well. Gerald Hodges fits the range and definitely fills a need, as Minnesota’s linebacking corps needs major retooling.

155. Jeff Locke, P, UCLA: D Grade 
I’m not a fan of drafting a punter in the first five rounds, especially when a punter isn’t needed. Maybe the Vikings have grown tired of Chris Kluwe’s Twitter antics, but it’s still not a reason to take a punter at this point. It’s like drafting a kicker in the 11th round of your fantasy league.

196. Jeff Baca, G, UCLA: B Grade 
Pegged as a sixth-round prospect, Jeff Baca should compete for a starting guard job eventually. The position is very weak for Minnesota, so Baca could be an upgrade.

213. Michael Mauti, ILB, Penn State: A Grade 
Maybe I’m biased as a Penn State alumnus, but I love Michael Mauti. He’s an instinctive linebacker with tremendous leadership ability; he kept the team together in the wake of the sex scandal. He would have been a second-day pick had he not torn his ACL. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mauti eventually emerged as the starter.

214. Travis Bond, G, North Carolina: B Grade 
Another guard? Well, Minnesota needed two of them. Travis Bond makes sense in the seventh round.

229. Everett Dawkins, DT, Florida State: A Grade 
Kevin Williams will likely be gone next year, so another defensive tackle makes sense. Everett Dawkins was considered a mid-round prospect, so he’s a bit of a steal here.

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