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NFL Draft: Team Report Cards - NFC North
John Tuvey
April 28, 2008
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Chicago Bears

Needs Addressed: Left tackle Chris Williams in the first round and running back Matt Forte in round two were exactly what the doctor ordered; Forte is a perfect fit for the Bears’ power running game but Williams, while quick-footed, is more of a finesse guy. Third round wideout Earl Bennett should get a chance to contribute, but Da Bears failed to address a quarterback situation that is far from solid.
 
Fantasy Impact: Forte will at minimum battle Cedric Benson for carries, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he ended up as the primary ball-carrier—especially in short-yardage situations. Bennett and Davis will be bit players at best in a passing game that still relies on Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton.

Overall Grade: B-

Detroit Lions

Needs Addressed: Matt Millen was looking to do the same thing the Bears did, but despite being just one pick behind Chicago it felt as if they received far less value. Gosder Cherilus will help on the right side and Kevin Smith could surprise, but Rashard Mendenhall and a lineman later might have made more sense. Unless you count Cliff Avril, who will likely play linebacker, the Lions failed to add a much-needed pass rusher. 
 
Fantasy Impact: All Smith has to do is beat out Tatum Bell—or wait for the inevitable injury—and significant carries will be his. Given that the bulk of the elite runners in this draft ended up in job share situations, Smith could be the most productive rookie runner of the Class of 2008.

Overall Grade: C

Green Bay Packers

Needs Addressed: Aaron Rodgers has some company, as the Pack added both Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn to their Favre-less quarterback situation. Jermichael Finley will need time to acclimate to the pro game, but the Pack has Donald Lee so there’s no rush. Three of Green Bay’s five starting offensive linemen were second-day picks, and the Packers hope to strike gold again with tackles Josh Sitton and Breno Giacomini.
 
Fantasy Impact: Brohm could step in if Rodgers struggles, but that certainly wouldn’t be the ideal scenario in Green Bay. Top pick Jordy Nelson is a talented wideout but will have to leapfrog Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, and Ruvell Martin just to get looks.

Overall Grade: C+

Minnesota Vikings

Needs Addressed: After giving up three of their first four picks to acquire Jared Allen, the Purple entered draft day looking for a tight end and help on the right side of their offensive line. While they found value in safety Tyrell Johnson and added a solid developmental quarterback in John David Booty, they failed to address either glaring need with their cache of late-round selections. 
 
Fantasy Impact: The Vikings aren’t banking on Booty seeing the field this season, leaving this draft completely devoid of anything helpful on the fantasy front—and that includes targets for Tarvaris Jackson and/or someone to open holes for Adrian Peterson on the right side of the line.

Overall Grade: D+


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