ESPN’s NFC North reporters weigh in on which team in the division helped itself the most in the draft. Each team’s draft class is below reporter’s analysis.
Rob Demovsky, Green Bay Packers reporter: Neither the Packers nor Vikings had a first-round pick, and the Bears had only five total selections -- one of which, QB Mitch Trubisky, probably won’t play this year -- yet there wasn’t anything overly special about the Lions draft, either. So let’s go back to the Packers and Vikings. It appears Green Bay did everything it needed to do to improve its defense, but the biggest impact rookie in the NFC North could be Vikings second-round pick Dalvin Cook. The Florida State running back who went No. 41 overall was under consideration by the Packers when they took cornerback Kevin King at No. 33. A running back might be able to make a bigger immediate impact than a cornerback.
Jeff Dickerson, Chicago Bears reporter: It’s really close between Minnesota and Green Bay, but I’ll give the Vikings the edge because I think Cook can be a home-run threat in that offense, and they got him in the second round. Third-round pick Pat Elflein was arguably the best center in the draft class, and he also can play guard in the NFL. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see fourth-round choice defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson out of Iowa get some action on passing downs.
Ben Goessling, Minnesota Vikings reporter: The Packers and Vikings both filled plenty of needs while stockpiling picks. The Packers helped their thin secondary with their first two picks and added two more potential defensive contributors in Montravius Adams and Vince Biegel, while the Vikings added a playmaker in Cook and their possible center of the future in Elflein. In the end, I’ll take the Vikings, simply because it’s difficult to know how quickly Packers cornerback King will be able to make a difference as a rookie. Cook can step in and provide a boost right away, both as a ball carrier and as a receiver in an offense that will frequently ask running backs to be targets for Sam Bradford.
Michael Rothstein, Detroit Lions reporter: They didn’t have a first-round pick and yet the Minnesota Vikings ended up with a first-round talent in Cook. There are questions about him, but if he’s able to perform on the field, it’s a heck of a grab. Overall, really liked what the Vikings did. Elflein is a good player who could be a decade-long starter and the last-day picks of linebacker Ben Gedeon, guard Danny Isidora, tight end Bucky Hodges and receiver Stacy Coley were all good moves. Thought Hodges and Isidora could have gone on Day 2, so great value.