2012 NFL Draft: NFC North Team Needs
John Tuvey
April 16, 2012

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MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3rd overall pick)

Eight picks plus two compensatory picks: 1.3; 2.3; 3.3; 4.3; 4.33 (compensatory pick); 4.39 (compensatory pick); 5.3; 6.5 (from CLE); 7.3; 7.16 (from PHI via NEP)

The Vikings have options with the third overall selection, including dealing down with a team looking to make it a QB trifecta at the top of the draft. Either way, look for Minnesota to address their offensive line early in the draft, as well as providing last year’s top pick Christian Ponder with another downfield weapon or two. At least one early pick and quite likely several over the course of the draft will be spent on upgrading a secondary that was horrifically bad last season, at both the corner and safety positions.

Possible options: OT Matt Kalil, USC; CB Morris Claiborne, LSU; WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State; WR Rueben Randle, LSU; CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama; LB Mychal Kendricks, California; S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame

CHICAGO BEARS (19th overall pick)

Seven picks: 1.19; 2.18; 3.16; 4.16; 5.15; 6.14; 7.13

Most mocks had the Bears eyeing a wide receiver with their top pick, but after trading for Brandon Marshall that’s no longer a key need. Now Chicago can direct its attention to an offensive line that has overachieved under Mike Tice but still lacks talent, and a defensive line that could use some depth across the board. The Bears added a pair of backup corners via free agency but will also be looking to add warm bodies in the secondary as well.

Possible options: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina; OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia; DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois; DT Devon Still, Penn State; OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin

DETROIT LIONS (23rd overall pick)

Seven picks: 1.23; 2.22; 3.22; 4.22; 5.23; 7.12 (from SEA); 7.23

Detroit’s post-Millen drafts have stocked the cupboards with talent, but there are still a few areas to address. The annual plea for an upgrade to the offensive line may finally be addressed, and after both Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure missed large chunks of time last season a running back could be on the shopping list as well. The Lions will also look to add corner help, a necessity in an NFC North that has transitioned from its black-and-blue roots to a very pass-friendly division.

Possible options: CB Dre’ Kirkpatrick, Alabama; OT Riley Reiff, Iowa; OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia; CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama; RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech; RB Bernard Pierce, Temple

GREEN BAY PACKERS (28th overall pick)

Eight picks plus four compensatory picks: 1.28; 2.27; 3.27; 4.28; 4.37 (compensatory pick); 4.38 (compensatory pick); 5.28; 6.27; 7.17 (from NYJ); 7.28; 7.34 (compensatory pick); 7.36 (compensatory pick)

The Packers traditionally don’t draft for need, which may be why they sport one of the most talented rosters in the league. That said, there are some areas they may look to shore up with those proverbial BPAs—specifically an outside linebacker to complement Clay Matthews and defensive backs to stock the depth charts for the eventual retirement of Charles Woodson. Green Bay also should dip into a deep running back pool to address the weak link of their high-powered offense.

Possible options: LB Donte Hightower, Alabama; OC Peter Konz, Wisconsin; LB Nick Perry, USC; RB Doug Martin, Boise State; RB Chris Polk, Washington

AFC North  |  AFC South  |  AFC East  |  AFC West  |  NFC North  |  NFC South  |  NFC East  |  NFC West

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