Draft Grades

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Divisional draft recap: NFC North

The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions appear to be the two NFC North teams that didn't address all their needs, even with 12 and nine picks, respectively. The Green Bay Packers didn't have a first-round selection but was able to load up on offensive talent (including two quarterbacks), while the Minnesota Vikings chose wisely after sacrificing three draft picks to acquire defensive end Jared Allen from the Chiefs prior to the draft.

Safest pick:Chris Williams, OT (Bears). The No. 14 pick out of Vanderbilt will help keep the Bears' quarterback -- whoever he may be -- stay on his feet. Williams allowed just two sacks during his final two collegiate seasons.

Riskiest pick:Matt Forte, RB (Bears). Many pundits thought a quarterback was on the Bears' wish list. With Chad Henne and Brian Brohm still on the board in the second round, Chicago opted to upgrade its running attack instead.

Best Day 2 value:Jermichael Finley, TE (Packers). The Packers found a young, athletic tight end in the third round who will slide into Bubba Franks' spot on the depth chart.

NFC North draft recaps

With numerous needs on offense, the Bears concentrated on that side of the ball. However, the team did not address perhaps their greatest need -- quarterback. Former first-round pick Cedric Benson has not shown he can be a feature back, leading the Bears to draft Matt Forte to challenge him. The loss of wide receivers Bernard Berrian and Mushin Muhammad during free agency created a gaping hole, which is why the Bears took Earl Bennett in the third round. The Bears brass believes it found two starters in defensive tackle Marcus Harrison and safety Craig Steltz.

Third-round pick Kevin Smith will be given every chance to be the starting running back in the wake of Kevin Jones' departure. The Lions have also re-signed Tatum Bell, who has never proven he can be an every-down back. The Lions will have a more balanced attack under new offensive coordinator Jim Coletto, meaning Smith could be the guy. In another effort to improve the rushing attack, the Lions used the 17th overall pick on offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus. For a change, Detroit waited until the fifth round to take a receiver.

Questions surrounding quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to draft Brian Brohm in the second round, a move hinting at an open competition during training camp. Brohm was a mild surprise, but adding LSU quarterback Matt Flynn in the seventh round was puzzling. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson brings some talent to an already talented receiving corps, but it wasn't a need for the Packers. Tight end Jermichael Finley addresses the loss of veteran Bubba Franks. Defensive back Patrick Lee brings some much-needed youth to the position behind veteran cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris.

The Vikings' acquisition of Allen eases the uncertain status of defensive end Erasmus James and the loss of end Kenechi Udeze, who will sit out the 2008 season. The team added free safety Tyrell Johnson to its secondary, which should be improved with Allen's pass rush. The addition of Berrian in free agency helped solidify the receiver position, so the team added quarterback John David Booty in the fifth round to push incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson.

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