Team Draft Needs: NFC North

Tuesday April 19th, 2005
NFC North Draft Needs
Chicago Bears
Receiver, running back, tight end
The Bears went out and got Muhsin Muhammad in free agency, but they still require another impact receiver. The same holds true at running back, even though Thomas Jones didn't fare poorly as a starter after joining Chicago in 2004. If the Bears take a running back near the top of this rusher-rich first round, they'll likely address their receiving corps in the second. Or vice-versa. Some combination has to help, considering the Bears were dead last in offense last season. Depth at guard and finding a decent tight end in the mid rounds are also goals.
Detroit Lions
Right offensive tackle, defensive end, linebacker
The chalk pick says the Lions need to replace the departed Stockar McDougle at right offensive tackle, but even top-rated tackle Alex Barron might be a stretch at the No. 10 slot. That said, the Lions could go a lot of different directions, because they covet a play-making defensive end (Shawne Merriman?), and could also be very happy with the draft's top linebacker, Derrick Johnson. After drafting for offense so often in recent years, the odds are that Detroit will try to find its tackle after the first round and devote its top pick to adding a defender who can make a quick impact.
Green Bay Packers
Defensive end, guard, quarterback
Finding someone to share some of the pass-rushing load with defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is job one. That's where the Packers are in luck, because names such as Iowa's Matt Roth, Troy's Demarcus Ware and Oklahoma's Dan Cody should be in the mix when the 24th pick rolls around. Green Bay's other needs are obvious: With both Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera lost in free agency, finding a starting guard by at least the fourth round would seem prudent. Also, there is that matter of Brett Favre's eventual successor to grapple with. The Packers could justify spending a No. 3 on a quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings
Receiver, defensive end, guard
With two first-round picks, including the No. 7 overall obtained from Oakland in the Randy Moss deal, the Vikings are well positioned to secure both a replacement for Moss and a big-name defensive end. Unless of course they cross us up and make a move for a running back -- a scenario that seems to grow more popular by the day. With five new starters on defense, Minnesota is already vastly improved on that side of the ball. But another pass-rushing presence opposite 2004 first-round pick Kenechi Udeze would make a good situation even better.
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