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BBAO: Draft day arrives amid uncertainty

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Day 1 of the NFL draft is always wild, and the extra layer of labor chaos will only add to the drama.

No matter what happens on the labor front, I'll be stationed Thursday evening at the Minnesota Vikings' practice facility to find out once and for all if they'll draft their quarterback of the future. That issue will be one thrust of our coverage, but I'll also provide timely analysis of all NFC North moves (and non-moves) in the first round.

For now, however, let's take a tour of how the local media markets see this draft shaping up:

  • Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune examines the top six possibilities for the Chicago Bears in the first round. No. 1 is taking one of the top four offensive tackles. No. 4 is a trade down.

  • Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times projects the Bears selecting North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin.

  • Mike Mulligan of the Sun-Times hopes that Tim Ruskell helps improve the Bears' draft results: "Here's hoping he's the missing ingredient in helping improve the Bears, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Despite running a scheme that has fallen out of favor leaguewide, which means the Bears are looking at a different pool of talent than other teams, the strike ratio during the [Jerry Angelo-Lovie Smith] partnership has been awful. Oddly, Angelo was a better at drafting defensive players before Smith arrived despite the seeming advantage the two should share by working off a different blueprint than other teams."

  • Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com doesn't want the Bears to trade down.

  • Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press: "The Lions haven't done anything that silly in MONTHS. They actually seem to know what they are doing. They have gone from punch line to competence. ..."

  • Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com projects the Lions to select Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara.

  • Drafting Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith would be "more than a calculated risk" for the Lions, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.

  • Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette is guessing the Green Bay Packers will select Arizona linebacker Brooks Reed at No. 32 overall.

  • Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com looks at Packers general manager Ted Thompson's best 10 draft picks.

  • Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "This year, perhaps more than any other, the Packers seem so strong across the board that they have the luxury of really and truly being able to take the best player available."

  • Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com thinks the Minnesota Vikings will either draft Washington quarterback Jake Locker at No. 12 overall or trade down.

  • Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune: "The Vikings ... can't simply draft for the future because they have enough needs that some of their higher picks likely will need to play a significant role whenever football resumes. And there is no guarantee how many holes the Vikings will be able to fill through other means of player acquisition."

  • The St. Paul Pioneer Press considers various options for the Vikings.