LIONS INSIDER

NFC North: Draft rumors surrounding the Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings

Posted Apr 23, 2013

What are the needs for each NFC North team, and which draft prospects could fill those needs?

The NFL Draft is just two days away. Three words best describe the couple days leading into Thursday’s first round – hope, speculation and smokescreen.

There are only a select few who truly know what the draft boards look like for these four NFL teams, but the speculation portion of the next couple days is one of the fun parts of the draft.

Here’s a look at some needs for the four teams in the NFC North and a few players who might fill some of those holes.

CHICAGO BEARS

2012 record: 10-6

First-round pick: No. 20

Total draft picks: 5 -- 20 (1st), 50 (2nd), 117 (4th), 153 (5th), 188 (6th)

Top positions of need: Guard, linebacker, defensive line, cornerback

Who fits: The Bears might not be able to run their card up fast enough if Alabama's Chance Warmack or North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper, the top two guard prospects, fell to them at No. 20.

Alec OgletreeLB Alec Ogletree

There’s a chance Alec Ogletree or Manti Te’o could be around at No. 20. Both players could step right into the middle of the Bears' defense and allow them some options in moving more versatile players who plan both inside and outside around.

Purdue’s Kawann Short and Alabama’s Jesse Williams could fit in the middle of their defensive line.

DETROIT LIONS

2012 record: 4-12

First-round pick: No. 5

Total draft picks: 8 -- 5 (1st), 36 (2nd), 65 (3rd), 132 (4th), 137 (5th), 171 (6th), 211 (7th), 245 (7th).

Top positions of need: Defensive end, offensive line, receiver and secondary

Who fits: The Lions would be thrilled if Eric Fisher falls to them at No. 5, but it doesn’t seem that’s as likely as it was a month ago. Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson has also been linked to the Lions, but he’s a bit raw having only played tackle two seasons, and might not be ready to step in right away.

There are similar question marks surrounding defensive end prospects Ziggy Ansah, Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo. The defensive end class is deep and the Lions might get more value in the second round with players like Alex Okafor, Sam Montgomery or Tank Carradine.

Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner could make an immediate impact as well.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

2012 record: 11-5

First-round pick: 26

Total picks: 8 -- 26 (1st), 55 (2nd), 88 (3rd), 122 (4th), 159 (5th), 167 (5th), 193 (6th), 232 (7th).

Top positions of need: Safety, running back and offensive line

Who fits: Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, the consensus No. 1 safety, is most likely off the board, but the Packers can still get great value at their slot in Florida’s Matt Elam or LSU’s Eric Reid.

There’s the potential that Alabama’s Eddie Lacy, the top running back available, will still be on the board at No. 26. If so, the Packers could get a workhorse back to compliment Aaron Rodgers and those receivers.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

2012 record: 10-6

Cordarrelle PattersonWR Cordarrelle Patterson

First-round pick: No. 23 & No. 25

Total draft picks: 10 -- 23 (1st), 25 (1st), 52 (2nd), 83 (3rd), 102 (4th), 120 (4th), 155 (5th), 189 (6th), 213 (7th), 229 (7th).

Top positions of need: Receiver, cornerback, linebacker

Who fits: The Vikings are in a good spot to fill their top positions of need with great value in the later stages of the first round.

Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson or Justin Hunter and Cal’s Keenan Allen would fit nicely opposite Greg Jennings and add another weapon for the Vikings' offense.

Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden is reportedly moving up some boards, and might not be there at No. 23 or No. 25, but this cornerback class is deep with talent, and players like Xavier Rhodes (Florida State), Darius Slay (Mississippi State) and Johnthan Banks (Mississippi State) could all fit.