Team-by-team draft needs: NFC North

Pat Kirwan breaks down each team's positional needs, listed in order of importance, entering the draft.

More team draft needs:

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


Chicago Bears

Wide receiver:Devin Hester is making significant strides in his second full offseason as a receiver, but he's still not a true No. 1. Second-year pro Earl Bennett has been slow to learn the offense, and Rashied Davis is a No. 3 receiver at best. The Bears could use two receivers: 1) a burner to play on the perimeter opposite Hester and 2) a bigger, more physical wideout who can occupy space in the short middle and allow TE Greg Olsen to run more vertical routes that take advantage of his speed.

Defensive tackle: Some will argue that the Bears need a defensive end because of their lack of sacks last season (28 in 2008 after registering 41 in 2007). But what they really need is more production from their edge rushers, and they might have already filled that need with the hiring of Rod Marinelli as their defensive line coach. The other thing the Bears need is an interior player with some size and quickness to penetrate and collapse the pocket from inside. While Tommie Harris is coming off a down year, Dusty Dvoracek has been beset by injuries and doesn't have even a sack in his three-year career. On a defense that relies on quarterback pressure, the Bears need pass rushers at all four spots on the defensive line.

Safety: Josh Bullocks was the big free-agent signing, and he has starting experience. However, he anchored a weak secondary in New Orleans. At the very least, the Bears need a player who can get down in the box and support the run.

Cornerback: Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman have struggled with injuries in recent seasons, and there has been some talk of moving Tillman to safety. But with Zack Bowman moving to safety and Corey Graham the only player pushing Vasher for a job, the Bears are thin at cornerback. They need a strong nickel option and someone who can push the vets for a starting job this time next year.

Draft choices: Nos. 49, 99, 119, 154, 190, 246, 251


Detroit Lions

Quarterback: Daunte Culpepper has impressed the Lions thus far, dropping a lot of weight and showing that he is committed to rejuvenating his career. But at 32 years old, Culpepper is a short-term solution. The Lions certainly could go with Georgia QB Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 overall draft pick.

Linebacker: The Lions are set on the outside with Ernie Sims and Julian Peterson, who recently was acquired in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks, but they need an upgrade in the middle. The Lions already have said they would play Wake Forest OLB Adam Curry in the middle if they drafted him. If they go with a quarterback at the top of the draft, they could take a look at USC's Rey Maualuga or Ohio State's James Laurinaitis with the 20th pick if those players are still available.

Defensive tackle: Chuck Darby is a gap shooter on the inside, so the Lions added some size by signing the immovable Grady Jackson in free agency. However, Jackson is far from an every-down player and actually is very limited in the number of effective snaps he can give in a game. The Lions still need another player who can play in heavy rotation.

Offensive guard/tackle: Jeff Backus has been a disappointment at left tackle, and the Lions would badly like to upgrade. But they also need help at left guard, where Daniel Loper and Damion Cook are holding the fort. Detroit could draft a young tackle and play him at guard for a year.

Defensive end: Who will rush the passer on this team? DeWayne White has some pass-rush ability, but Jared DeVries? No. Peterson is an effective blitzer, which will help, but the Lions are in desperate need of a speed rush off the edge.

Wide receiver:Calvin Johnson would be the top threat on any team, and Bryant Johnson is a viable second option, but the Lions will need to look for a third receiver for depth purposes. The Lions will run the ball more, but they still need more receiving options, especially since they don't have a real pass-catching threat at tight end.

Cornerback: Only one defensive back had an interception last season, and that was CB Leigh Bodden, who was released. Phillip Buchanon, who came over from Tampa Bay in free agency, will provide an upgrade, but Travis Fisher wouldn't be a starter on most teams. Anthony Henry, acquired from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for former starting QB Jon Kitna, will compete for a starting spot, but he's better suited to a backup role or in substitute packages.

Draft choices: Nos. 1, 20, 33, 65, 82, 137, 174, 192, 255


Green Bay Packers

Defensive end:Cullen Jenkins should adjust nicely to the Packers' new 3-4 scheme, but he's coming off an injury and might be slow to work his way into the defense. Johnny Jolly likely will have to convert to end after playing tackle in the 4-3. Mike Montgomery wasn't all that productive in the 4-3 and must add weight to stay at end in the 3-4.

Outside linebacker: Every indication is that Aaron Kampman has the athleticism, experience and football IQ to make a seamless transition to the 3-4 and excel as an outside linebacker. Brady Poppinga is slated as a starter opposite Kampman, but 3-4 teams can't have enough linebackers or players who can rush the passer.

Offensive tackle: Mark Tauscher is coming off major knee surgery, and Chad Clifton has had knee issues of his own. Tauscher is a free agent who likely will re-sign if he can prove he's healthy, but the Packers need to keep an eye toward the future.

Punter: Derrick Frost won't be back, and Jeremy Kapinos didn't even average 40 yards per punt in limited opportunities.

Defensive tackle: At 330 pounds, Ryan Pickett has the size and girth to man the middle, but durability could be an issue. The Packers might want to look for a young plugger to play in rotation.

Draft choices: Nos. 9, 41, 73, 83, 109, 145, 182, 187, 218


Minnesota Vikings

Offensive tackle:Bryant McKinnie's off-the-field issues and Ryan Cook's inconsistency should have the Vikings thinking about who their cornerstone tackles of the future might be. The offensive line has been very good for several years, but the team needs to have the next generation ready to go in the next couple of years.

Wide receiver: At first glance, there appears to be plenty of depth here. Bernard Berrian, Bobby Wade, Sidney Rice, Aundrae Allison and the newly signed Glenn Holt are all capable. But the Vikings' pursuit of T.J. Houshmandzadeh this offseason shows that the team believes it still needs a true No. 1 receiver.

Cornerback: Karl Paymah, who was signed away from the Denver Broncos to add depth, had three interceptions in the last two years. Cedric Griffin will enter his fourth NFL season, but Antoine Winfield is 31 years old. If the team believes Benny Sapp and Charles Gordon can step in as starters, then this isn't as pressing of a need. If not, the Vikings need to find the next guy.

Linebacker: Middle linebacker E.J. Henderson missed nearly all of last season because of a foot injury, which forced the Vikings to sign Napoleon Harris off the street. They don't want to be in that situation again, and depth also is an issue at outside linebacker.

Defensive tackle: Pat Williams is 36 years old, and Jimmy Kennedy is not -- or should not be -- considered a starting option. A first-round draft pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2003, Kennedy had only one tackle in two games with the Vikings last season.

Defensive end: All the sack production can't come from one side of the formation. Ray Edwards had a career-high-tying five sacks in his third NFL season, but those came as a result of protections being slid away from him to account for Jared Allen. A consistent pass rusher coming off the left edge would make a very good Vikings defensive front even better.

Draft choices: Nos. 22, 54, 86, 158, 221, 231

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