2012 NFL Draft Results: Winner, Loser From NFC North
Winner: Green Bay Packers
This was a tough call between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. Both teams had a productive weekend but the Packers draft class will have a more immediate impact, especially the first three selections.
The fact that the Packers were able to pick up pass rusher Nick Perry AND Jerel Worthy is absolutely insane. Green Bay has the most potent offense in the league hands down and their defense is two seasons removed from being championship-caliber. The only piece missing from the puzzle was an interior pass rush and someone who can complement Clay Matthews. They did this with the first two picks, not to mention, used the next four to improve their secondary and provide depth to a now talented defensive line.
Casey Heyward will have the chance to absorb everything he can while sitting behind Tramon Williams and the legend that is Charles Woodson. Once he is ready, which could be as soon as this year, he will use his incredible ball skills and everything he learned from his teammates to become a dynamic cornerback. Speaking of Woodson and Williams, people seem to forget how many playmakers there are on the Packers defense. If they can survive without Nick Collins backing them up, there is no reason why Green Bay’s defense should not return to their 2010/Super Bowl form. Remember, the Packers led the NFL last season in interceptions (31) and were tied for takeaways (38).
Loser: Detroit Lions
None of the NFC North teams had a particularly bad draft; however, somebody had to come in last so the Detroit Lions are considered the losers of the group.
The Lions had the right idea to draft an offensive lineman in the first round to protect quarterback Matthew Stafford. They selected offensive tackle Riley Reiff, who started out his collegiate career playing a majority of games at left guard. Reiff then played left tackle his sophomore and junior season where he was named an All-American. Detroit is putting a lot of stock into Reiff, who is a good pass blocker and should be ready to man the left tackle position once veteran Jeff Backus is done. The Lions also hit on Ryan Broyles, who should complement Calvin Johnson and the rest of the wide receivers well.
The biggest negative about Detroit’s draft is they really did nothing to improve their defense, more specifically their pass rush. Here is a playoff team trying to get to the next level, which is win a postseason game. They clearly need help in the secondary and as good as their defensive line is they still need help getting to the quarterback. They are in a division with Aaron Rodgers and in a conference with Drew Brees and Eli Manning. If these guys are given time they are going to shred a defense, especially a secondary as average as Detroit’s. They did come away with the interceptions (21) but they also gave up the yardage (367.6 yards per game) last season. Dwight Bentley has speed and some of the outside linebackers have potential, but overall the Lions needed to do much better to go further in the postseason.
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