NFC North draft grades: Bears put Mitchell Trubisky in hard spot

Former NFL player/scout Bucky Brooks and Around The NFL's Conor Orr are performing a division-by-division assessment of the 2017 NFL Draft, spotlighting notable picks and handing out grades for each team. Below is Bucky's review of the NFC North.


BEST PICK: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Minnesota Vikings, Round 2, No. 41 overall

Despite the presence of recently signed running back Latavius Murray, the Vikings might've snagged the front runner to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year when they selected Cook in the middle of the second round. The electric playmaker is a home-run hitter capable of going the distance whenever he touches the rock as a runner or receiver out of the backfield. Cook possesses a unique set of skills that will not only remind some observers of Jamaal Charles/LeSean McCoy in their prime, but it will help the Vikings' offense emerge as a high-powered unit with Sam Bradford at the controls.

MOST SURPRISING PICK: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Chicago Bears, Round 1, No. 2 overall

Bears GM Ryan Pace shook up the draft world when he moved up a spot to select the North Carolina quarterback with the second overall pick. While most observers viewed Trubisky as a first-round talent, there weren't many coaches or scouts slapping top-five marks on the Tar Heels QB when they submitted their grades at the end of the fall. Questions about his NFL readiness (only 13 collegiate starts) and leadership style led many to peg him as a "redshirt" candidate in need of a year or so on the sidelines before transitioning to a starting position. As the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, however, he will be expected to hit the field as a rookie, and external pressure could force the Bears to play him before he is ready. Given the number of flameouts that have occurred at the quarterback spot over the years, Chicago's aggressive approach to snag Trubisky could make it harder for the young QB1 to play up to expectations in the Windy City.

Green Bay Packers, Round 4, No. 134 overall

The Packers needed to acquire a rock-solid inside runner in the draft to balance out an offense that's become one-dimensional in recent years. Williams not only gives the Packers a rugged runner with power and pop, but he allows converted receiver Ty Montgomery to become more of a change-of-pace playmaker from the backfield, which better suits Montgomery's skills. Considering how the Packers would like to tweak their approach down the stretch to rely on a punishing rushing attack to salt away games, Williams' presence as a workhorse runner could be vital to the team's playoff push in 2017.


NOTE: Draft classes are ranked from best to worst within the division.

» Round 2: (No. 33 overall) Kevin King, CB, Washington; (61) Josh Jones, S, N.C. State.

» Round 3: (93) Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn.

» Round 4: (108) Vince Biegel, LB, Wisconsin; (134) Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU.

» Round 5: (175) DeAngelo Yancey, WR, Purdue; (182) Aaron Jones, RB, Texas-El Paso.

» Round 6: (212) Kofi Amichia, C, South Florida.

» Round 7: (238) Devante Mays, RB, Utah State; (247) Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU.

The Packers made a concerted effort to upgrade the defense with their early-round selections. King and Josh Jones should compete for starting roles in Year 1 in a secondary that's looking for more playmakers. Each defender has the length and athleticism to help Green Bay generate more splash plays. Adams and Biegel are competitive defenders probably slated for roles as rotational players. On offense, Williams and Aaron Jones give the Packers options at the running back position as talented runners with role-specific skills (Williams as a thumper, Jones as a change-of-pace weapon). Keep an eye on Dupre as a developmental pass catcher with the potential to crack the lineup.

» Round 1: (No. 21 overall) Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida.

» Round 2: (53) Teez Tabor, CB, Florida.

» Round 3: (96) Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois.

» Round 4: (124) Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, Tennessee; (127) Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo.

» Round 5: (165) Jamal Agnew, CB, San Diego.

» Round 6: (205) Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE, Arkansas; (215) Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami.

» Round 7: (250) Pat O'Connor, DE, Eastern Michigan.

The Lions needed to upgrade their defense by adding a few energetic playmakers to the lineup. Davis gives the defense a thumper with sideline-to-sideline range and exceptional instincts. He could quickly emerge as a dominant player between the tackles for the Lions. Tabor is a wild-card selection as a talented cover corner with speed concerns. However, he is a savvy playmaker capable of filling a role as a CB2 if he polishes up his technique. Roberts is an athletic tight end with a knack for putting the ball in the paint in the red zone. With his size and movement skills, he could carve out a nice role as a TE2 in double-tight sets. Kaaya is a developmental quarterback with intriguing potential. 

» Round 2: (No. 41 overall) Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State.

» Round 3: (70) Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State.

» Round 4: (109) Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa; (120) Ben Gedeon, ILB, Michigan.

» Round 5: (170) Rodney Adams, WR, South Florida; (180) Danny Isidora, OG, Miami

» Round 6: (201) Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech.

» Round 7: (219) Stacy Coley, WR, Miami; (220) Ifeadi Odenigbo, DL, Northwestern; (232) Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas State.; (245) Jack Tocho, CB, N.C. State.

The Vikings are tweaking their offense to better suit the quarterbacks (Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater) poised to direct the unit in 2017. Cook gives the team a dynamic RB1 capable of delivering explosive plays as a runner or receiver from the backfield. Elflein should start at the pivot from Day 1 as an experienced inside blocker, giving the O-line another people-mover at the point of attack. Hodges is an athletic hybrid with strong hands and good ball skills. Johnson is a pass-rushing DT with quick hands and an explosive first step. Gedeon is a tackling machine with solid instincts and diagnostic skills.

» Round 1: (No. 2 overall) Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina.

» Round 2: (45) Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland.

» Round 4: (112) Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama; (119) Tarik Cohen, RB, North Carolina A&T.

» Round 5: (147) Jordan Morgan, OG, Kutztown (PA).

The Bears entered the draft with huge needs on the defensive side of the ball, but they used three of their five selections on offensive players. Despite signing Mike Glennon as a marquee free agent, the Bears traded away a handful of picks to grab Trubisky with the second overall pick. As discussed above, the inexperienced signal caller will be expected to lead the franchise out of the doldrums -- a difficult position to be in. Shaheen is a rugged "Y" with the size, speed and strength to dominate the middle of the field as a featured pass catcher. Cohen is a dynamic playmaker capable of delivering explosive plays out of the backfield. Overall, the Bears decided to count on a number of small-school standouts to spark their re-emergence as playoff contenders.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content