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NFC NORTH: 2020 NFL Draft recap

The 2020 NFL Draft is in the books, and there are plenty of new rookie faces to get to know in the NFC North. The Lions, Packers, Bears and Vikings added talent and depth to their rosters over the course of the three-day draft.

Now that the dust has settled on the draft, let's take a look at who Detroit, Green Bay, Chicago and Minnesota added, and how it might impact the division moving forward:


Draft picks (7): Rd 2 – TE Cole Kmet (Notre Dame), Rd 2 – CB Jaylon Johnson (Utah), Rd 5 – OLB Trevis Gipson (Tulsa), Rd 5 – CB Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern), Rd 5 – WR Darnell Mooney (Tulane), Rd 7 – T Arlington Hambright (Colorado), Rd 7 – T Lachavious Simmons (Tennessee State).

Most impactful pick: Kmet has a terrific opportunity in front of him to earn significant playing time and contribute right away in Matt Nagy's offense. Jimmy Graham is going into his 11th season, and Adam Shaheen hasn't developed as quickly as the Bears had hoped. Kmet is a huge target (6-5, 250) for a team desperate to find production from the position.

Sleeper pick: The Bears moved up in the fifth round to select Gipson. The 6-foot-4, 268-pound linebacker adds depth to the Bears' pass-rush and is coming off a career senior season with Tulsa where he recorded 49 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and eight sacks.

Quotable: "We identified a cloud of players we could acquire in the fifth-round area, so we just maneuvered around to make that happen," Bears GM Ryan Pace told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We knew giving up the future (fourth-round pick) to go up and get Gipson – without having to give up a pick in this year's draft – that was valuable for us. He was a player we had graded high, and we wanted to make sure we got him.''

Twentyman: After drafting Kmet, arguably the top tight end in the class, the Bears now have nine tight ends on their current 90-man roster. To say Pace is looking to bolster the tight end room is a bit of an understatement. That's been a hole in the Bears' offense for a few seasons now, and they're obviously looking to fix it.


Draft picks (9): Rd 1 – QB Jordan Love (Utah State), Rd 2 – RB AJ Dillon (Boston College), Rd 3 – TE Josiah Deguara (Cincinnati), Rd 5 – ILB Kamal Martin (Minnesota), Rd 6 – G Jon Runyan (Michigan), Rd 6 – C Jake Hanson (Oregon), Rd 6 – T Simon Stepaniak (Indiana), Rd 7 – S Vernon Scott (TCU), Rd 7 – DE Jonathan Garvin (Miami).

Most impactful pick: Dillon has a shot to be a bigger, change-of-pace back opposite starter Aaron Jones, who recorded a league-high 16 touchdowns last season. Dillion should add some balance to the Packers' backfield, though he doesn't offer up much in the passing game.

Sleeper pick: Garvin was nicknamed "Spider" for his length and athleticism. The Miami product was productive (10.5 sacks, 26 tackles for loss) over the last two seasons for the Canes. He's got some good veterans to learn from at that position on defense, and could flash some playmaking ability early on if he secures a roster spot.

Quotable: "We haven't been able to (draft quarterbacks) the last few years, it just hasn't fallen for us the right way," Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told the Green Bay Press Gazette. "And it's not like we haven't wanted to, it's just the value of the player and where we thought they were and where we could take them at the time, it just didn't happen. I think it's always kind of been in my DNA that anywhere in the draft, if you have an opportunity to take a quarterback you really think can play, you need to consider it."

Twentyman: Green Bay pulled off the most shocking pick of the first round by trading up to snatch Love at No. 26 overall. Could the Packers be getting ready to transition from veteran Aaron Rodgers just as they did with his predecessor, Brett Favre? It will be interesting to see what kind of relationship the two of them have.

One thing I thought was missing from this class was getting Rodgers help along the outside to complement wide receiver Davante Adams.


Draft picks (15): Rd 1 – WR Justin Jefferson (LSU), Rd 1 – CB Jeff Gladney (TCU), Rd 2 – Ezra Cleveland (Boise State), Rd 3 – CB Cameron Dantzler (Mississippi State), Rd 4 – DE D.J. Wonnum (South Carolina), Rd 4 – DT James Lynch (Baylor), Rd 4 – ILB Troy Dye (Oregon), Rd 5 – CB Harrison Hand (Temple), Rd 5 – WR K.J. Osborn (Miami), Rd 6 – T Blake Brandel (Oregon State), Rd 6 – S Josh Metellus (Michigan), Rd 7 – DE Kenny Willekes (Michigan State), Rd 7 – QB Nate Stanley (Iowa), Rd 7 – S Brian Cole II (Mississippi State), Rd 7 – G Kyle Hinton (Washburn University).

Most impactful pick: When a team trades a player like wide receiver Stefon Diggs, which the Vikings did this offseason, they're looking for maximum value on any return, and they have to think they got that with Jefferson at No. 22 overall. He's got a chance to be a great complement to Adam Thielen.

Sleeper pick: Dantzler was one of the best cornerbacks in the SEC last year, but he slipped down draft board after a sub-par 40-time at the Combine. He played his best ball against LSU and Alabama, and that's saying something against those receivers. Mike Hughes is the team's most experienced cornerback with Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander all on other teams. Dantzler, Gladley and Hand should all get an opportunity to earn a role on defense.

Quotable: "I never even thought of (the record) to be honest with you," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune of the 15 players selected by him in the 2020 class. "It's great to have that many picks ... we had enough draft capital just to take guys that, if we didn't have that draft capital in the later rounds, we may not have gotten them as (undrafted) free agents."

Twentyman: The Vikings turned 12 picks into 17 picks and landed 15 players (two picks next year) in this class. It's the largest draft class since 1994, when the league went to the current seven-round format.

The Vikings got some playmakers in this group, especially at the top with Jefferson. He might have been the most polished receiver in the class, and should make an immediate impact. Seven of their 11 picks on Saturday were on the defensive side of the ball, as the Vikings continue to look to replace a few familiar faces from that unit.


Draft picks (9): Rd 1 – CB Jeff Okudah (Ohio State), Rd 2 – RB D’Andre Swift (Georgia), Rd 3 – DE Julian Okwara (Notre Dame), Rd 3 – G Jonah Jackson (Ohio State), Rd 4 – G Logan Stenberg (Kentucky), Rd 5 – WR Quintez Cephus (Wisconsin), Rd 5 – RB Jason Huntley (New Mexico State), Rd 6 – DT John Penisini (Utah), Rd 7 – DL Jashon Cornell (Ohio State).

Most impactful pick: Okudah should be penciled in as a starter as the No. 3 overall pick. He's got terrific size, length, speed, quickness and toughness to fit right in on the outside of Detroit's defense. As a starting cornerback on the outside, he's a player who will likely see the field on every defensive snap. There's no greater impact than that.

Sleeper pick: The Lions get Austin Bryant back after he missed most of his rookie season with an injury, and now add Okwara to that mix of rotational edge rushers. If Okwara didn't break his leg last year, the Lions probably never had a chance to draft him in the third round. He's quick off the edge and could play a couple different roles as a high-ceiling player.

Quotable: "I think it's a class that we put a lot of hard work into," Lions general manager Bob Quinn said. "I think we have playmakers on both sides of the ball, and probably on special teams with a couple of these guys as well.

"This year is a little different, but I feel really good about this class. But again, we feel good now – these guys have to do a great job in the offseason, whatever that entails. They have to work their butt off on their own and learn the playbook, so when they hit training camp or later on in the offseason program, they hit the ground running because we had a competitive team before these guys."

Twentyman: It was a balanced class for Quinn and the Lions that featured a nice mix of need and best available, especially with the Okudah, Swift and Jackson picks, in particular. Cephus has a chance to make an impact, as does Huntley as a third-down back or return man.

Detroit will be counting heavily on a number of their defensive free-agent acquisitions, with Okudah likely a starter, Okwara a rotational guy and Penisini and Cornell fighting for reserve roles.

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