NFL Draft Review: NFC North Winners and Losers

Jacob Feldman


For the most part, the NFC North went into the draft trying to solidify their teams by fixing holes on defense or building a better supporting cast around their already high powered offenses. Of course the only exception to this was the Vikings who are working on finding a future for their team at the quarterback position.


Calvin Johnson, WR DET

It is a little unfair to defenses when the best receiver in football is going to be even harder to defend thanks to the addition of more weapons. That is exactly what happened with Megatron. Thanks to Eric Ebron being drafted by Detroit, opposing defenses are going to need to devote some time and serious attention towards the middle of the field, making it impossible to bracket Megatron like they have in the past. He was already destroying records. What will he do now with less defensive attention?

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Matthew Stafford, QB DET

Stafford has gone from “just” having Megatron to having multiple legitimate targets all over the field. He already has a 5,000 yard season under his belt and adding more weapons in the passing game to go with two very good receiving running backs is going to make the Lions offense pretty tough to handle. If Stafford can stay healthy and go through his progressions, someone is going to be open on every play. He could have his best year yet!

Golden Tate, WR DET

I view Tate as the weak link in the offense. Had the draft unfolded slightly differently, it would have been very possible for the Lions to replace Tate with a better talent. Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans going before the Lions picked basically saved Tate’s job. Being the second receiver for the Lions should make him a very solid fantasy asset and a weekly WR3 for now. I’m not sold on him being the long term answer, but he’s their number two guy for now.

Kyle Rudolph, TE MIN

I’ve been pretty down on Rudolph for the last few years compared to most. The major reason was I felt his lack of an NFL caliber quarterback limited his upside. With Teddy Bridgewater in town, I think Rudolph will stand a chance at actually being a reliable TE1 in the near future. Bridgewater’s average arm strength also plays in perfectly to the short and intermediate types of routes Rudolph runs over the middle of the field. If healthy, he could finally produce like so many have been hoping he would for years.

Aaron Rodgers, QB GB

For many, Rodgers is the cream of the crop at the quarterback position and has been so for years. There have been a few, like me, who have been a little leery of anointing him the king of the position for a few reasons. One of them was the lack of quality depth at the wide receiver and tight end positions with losses of Greg Jennings, James Jones and Jermichael Finley. The Packers took the time to address this with the selections of Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis. While their selections might limit their fantasy upside until the group plays out a bit more, adding them to the mix with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb presents a very talented and deep group of receivers for Rodgers.

Chicago Bears Offense

The Bears, after scoring the second most points in the NFL last year, spent almost all of their draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. With the infusion of young talent on the defense, it should help to give the offense at least one if not two more possessions a game if they pan out. Giving all of them even more opportunity to show what they can do in Marc Trestman’s system will make fantasy owners very happy all year long.


Brandon Pettigrew, TE DET

Pettigrew never really lived up to what many of us hoped he would become. Instead he has been replaced by Ebron, who has the talent to be even better than what the biggest Pettigrew fan had in mind. It is likely Pettigrew will still be on the field, but it will probably be in more of a blocking role. His days of being fantasy relevant, if he ever was, are at an end.

Joseph Fauria, TE DET

Fauria turned a lot of heads with his massive touchdown production last year, but the pace simply wasn’t sustainable. He is a big body, but he really can’t run routes effectively. With the addition of Ebron, he’s likely to never be much more than a situational red zone threat. He might not even have that role anymore if Ebron proves to be everything people hope he can be.

Christian Ponder, QB MIN

One of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL over the last few years has finally seen an end to his reign. It really isn’t all Ponder’s fault and I feel a little bad for being so harsh with him over the last few years. He just isn’t an NFL starter in terms of talent. He was over drafted based on need and thrown into the mix without a solid receiving group to catch the ball. Combine that with some injury issues and you get a recipe for disaster. He’ll still play this year while they groom Teddy Bridgewater, but he’ll be someone’s backup from here on out. If he’s still on your roster, he’s an easy drop.

Jarrett Boykin, WR GB

One of the many sleeper hype trains this offseason was for Boykin. He was slated to take over the third receiver role in Green Bay after James Jones left for Oakland. I’m not sure Boykin ever had the talent to be a reliable player in that role, but now he might not even have a chance. Drafting three different wide receivers, one of them early, signals to everyone the Packers weren’t exactly sold on Boykin being their number three guy. I really like the guys the Packers drafted and I think there is a chance he could be even further down the depth chart this year than he was last year. Either way, the sleeper shine has definitely faded from Boykin.


jacob feldman