Updated NFC North Team Needs: 1/11/11

One of the most important factors when preparing for the NFL Draft is knowing each and every NFL team.  NFL Mocks keeps a very close eye on each team and will bring you an updated needs assessment at the end of each month.  These needs will help as we prepare to make predictions for the 2011 NFL Draft.  Continue to check out our team needs page to find the most recent assessments.  Also after looking at the team needs move on over to the Big Board and see what prospects might fit your teams need. A don’t forget to study up on your favorite prospects at NFLMocksGameFilm!

Chicago Bears

The Bears got to sit this week and watch their potential opponents for their upcoming playoff game. While their playoff opponent (Seattle) wasn’t determined til the last game this past Sunday, their off-season needs have been well known. The Bears have been getting older at key parts of both offensive and defensive lines and with their first 1st round pick in a couple of years they have a chance to address those concerns. For as much flax as the offensive line has gotten this season, a lot of credit goes out to the players and Coaches Martz and Tice for finding a way to make it work. That said, a talent upgrade is needed at left tackle and two of the three interior line positions have starters that are at least 32 years old and battling injuries in the past year. On the defensive line, Tommie Harris is on his last legs and a playmaker on the inside of the D-Line to pair with Peppers and Idonije would go far in upgrading the “Monsters of the Midway”. The question is, which side of the line to the try and upgrade first?

Round 1: Drake Nevis, DT LSU

Round 2: Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

Detroit Lions

The Lions are locked in to the 13th overall pick with their first winning streak in recent memory finishing at 6-10. Some fans may have disliked the winning streak because it took Detroit out of a top ten pick, but winning is never a bad thing and it may have moved them into position to take one of the first two offensive tackles in this years class. Stafford may be injury prone, but the only way to know for sure is to get him better protection. Backus has played admirably for his older age (34), but finding a tackle who could protect Stafford’s blindside for the next decade would be a huge get. Keeping them from that though could be as many as four teams ahead of them (Dallas, Washington, Houston, and Minnesota) who could all potentially be looking at offensive lineman. Cornerback is another big need, but there is a deep class at that position and grabbing someone in the second round might be easier than expecting one to drop from the top of the draft.

Round 1: Nate Solder, OT Colorado

Round 2: Brandon Burton, CB Utah

Green Bay Packers

The Packers have been pretty impressive considering all the injuries they have dealt with this season. If they are this good without them, how good will they be with everyone back and healthy? While the rest of the NFC North is dealing with a few players getting older, the Packers only have two positions where age plays a factor and that is on the offensive line and with one corner in particular, Charles Woodson. Tramon Williams seems to have developed nicely across from Woodson, but having someone who could step into his role when he does retire (two years tops?) would be ideal if they want to keep playing at their current level. Woodson is the X factor on that defense as he can play everywhere and in a variety of roles. Their isn’t anyone with the talent to play at his level right out the gate (and most years won’t be), but taking one later to develop while getting a highly regarded tackle prospect to aid in the Chad Clifton transition at left tackle seems like a good strategy for the Pack.

Round 1: Anthony Castonzo, OT Boston College

Round 2: Jimmy Smith, CB Colorado

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings did something this year that they haven’t done since the NFC Central became the NFC North: They finished last in the division. Not how pretty much everyone thought their season would go, but it puts Minnesota in a good draft position as they gear up to reload their roster and grow under new head coach Leslie Frazier. It’s no question what the biggest hole in the Vikings roster is. Joe Webb is currently the only quarterback still on the roster that has seen any playing time in a Vikings uniform. While he made some amazing plays with his feet, he left a lot to be desired from a passing stand point (0 passing TDs, 3 INTs in 5 games, 2 starts and 89 attempts). Webb will be better suited as a Brad Smith type player, who can be used in all kinds of offensive packages and on special teams. In a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew Stafford, the Vikings are falling way behind in the QB arms race and will have a tough time getting back to the top of the division without a top talent at quarterback. The Vikings need to start adding pieces to an aging O-Line, but productive offensive lineman can be found in the later rounds of the draft as well.

Round 1: Ryan Mallett, QB Arkansas

Round 2: Joseph Barksdale, OT LSU

Tags: Aaron Rodgers Anthony Castonzo Backus Brandon Burton Charles Woodson Chicago Bears Chris Hairston Detroit Lions Drake Nevis Green Bay Packers Idonije Jay Cutler Jimmy Smith Joe Webb Joseph Barksdale Leslie Frazier Martz Matthew Stafford Minnesota Vikings Monsters Of The Midway Nate Solder NFC North Peppers Ryan Mallett Tice Tommie Harris Tramon Williams

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