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NFC NORTH: 2022 NFL Draft preview

NFL Draft week is here, which means teams are putting the final touches on their preparations ahead of the three-day event beginning with Thursday's first round in Las Vegas. This is Brad Holmes' second draft as Lions general manager, and he'll be looking to continue to add impact players to the Lions roster this offseason.

The Packers, Vikings and Bears will have their own strategies for finding the players that can come in and help the team right away.

Here's a look at where all four teams in the NFC North stand heading into the draft:


2021 finish: 13-4 (won division)

Total offense: 365.6 (10th)

Rushing: 111.8 (18th)

Passing: 253.8 (8th)

Total defense: 328.2 (9th)

Rush defense: 109.1 (11th)

Pass defense: 219.1 (10th)

Most impactful 2021 pick: First-round pick Eric Stokes of Georgia had an immediate impact for the Packers' secondary as a rookie. He played in 16 games with 14 starts and recorded 14 passes defended and one interception. Teams completed just 49.5 percent of the passes thrown his way with just three touchdowns allowed all season.

Top 3 draft needs: WR, RT, DL

2022 draft picks: Round 1 (22), Round 1 (28), Round 2 (53), Round 2 (59), Round 3 (92), Round 4 (132), Round 4 (140), Round 5 (171), Round 7 (228), Round 7 (249), Round 7 (258)

Who fits in Round 1: WR Treylon Burks & OT Bernhard Raimann: In Burks, the Packers get a physically imposing receiver on the outside to help soften the blow of the loss of All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams this offseason. Raimann has experience playing both tackle spots and has a ton of upside.

Twentyman's take: The NFC North still goes through Green Bay as long as Aaron Rodgers is under center for the Packers. Green Bay has two first-round picks and five picks in the top 92, so they'll be able to address some needs at receiver, offensive line, defensive line and possibly boost the tight end position as well.


2021 finish: 8-9

Total offense: 362.8 (12th)

Rushing: 113.5 (17th)

Passing: 249.3 (11th)

Total defense: 383.6 (30th)

Rush defense: 130.7 (26th)

Pass defense: 252.9 (28th)

Most impactful 2021 pick: There are a couple good choices here, but the Vikings really found something nice in the return abilities of fourth-round draft pick Kene Nwangwu out of Iowa State. Nwangwu led the NFL with a 32.2-yard kickoff return average with two touchdowns. He also averaged 4.7 yards per rush when given that opportunity.

Top 3 draft needs: DL, CB, TE

2022 draft picks: Round 1 (12), Round 2 (46), Round 3 (77), Round 5 (156), Round 6 (184), Round 6 (191), Round 6 (192), Round 7 (250)

Who fits in Round 1: CB Derek Stingley Jr. The Vikings ranked 28th against the pass last year and have addressed the first line of defense against the pass by adding edge rusher Za'Darius Smith to pair with Danielle Hunter. Stingley's had some injury issues the last couple years, but there's no denying he's one of the top cornerbacks in this draft when healthy.

Twentyman's take: The Vikings would like to continue to revamp their defense with a new regime and new scheme now in place. The Vikings could look to add players to all three levels of their defense fairly early in this draft. If they can add some young talent that can immediately help them on defense, offensively they are good enough to compete with the Packers in the NFC North.


2021 finish: 6-11

Total offense: 307.4 (24th)

Rushing: 118.7 (14th)

Passing: 188.6 (30th)

Total defense: 316.7 (6th)

Rush defense: 125.1 (23rd)

Pass defense: 191.6 (3rd)

Most impactful 2021 pick: QB Justin Fields. The rookie quarterback was just 2-8 as a starter completing less than 60 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but he got valuable experience. He went through his rookie lumps, and the Bears are hoping he's better for it entering Year 2, where players typically make their biggest leap in growth and production.

Top 3 draft needs: WR, OL, CB

2022 draft picks: Round 2 (39), Round 2 (48), Round 3 (71), Round 5 (148), Round 5 (150), Round 6 (186)

Who fits in Round 1: No first-round pick. WR Skyy Moore out of Western Michigan could be a name to watch for the Bears in Round 2.

Twentyman's take: It's not ideal for a new GM and HC to come into a team with no first-round pick, but that's what Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus have inherited. The Bears need to find another receiver to pair with Darnell Mooney. They could also use upgrades at tackle and center, and should look to add another cornerback to compete for the No. 2 spot opposite Jaylon Johnson.


2021 finish: 3-13-1

Total offense: 322.6 (22nd)

Rushing: 110.9 (19th)

Passing: 211.6 (18th)

Total defense: 379.8 (29th)

Rush defense: 135.1 (28th)

Pass defense: 224.7 (24th)

Most impactful 2021 pick: It's a tough call between tackle Penei Sewell and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, but I'll go with Sewell. When the Lions lost left tackle Taylor Decker to a finger injury the week before the season opener, Sewell moved over to left tackle and held down the fort the first eight games. When Decker returned, Sewell moved back over to the right side and was one of the better right tackles in the league the second half of the season.

Top 3 draft needs: EDGE, S, LB

2022 draft picks: Round 1 (2), Round 1 (32), Round 2 (34), Round 3 (66), Round 3 (97), Round 5 (177), Round 6 (181), Round 6 (217)

Who fits in Round 1: Edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson & S Lewis Cine. If Jacksonville passes on Hutchinson at No. 1, he fits with his position versatility, a relentless motor and high character. Cine is a versatile safety with speed and ball skills. He can play single high or split safety looks, and would give the Lions a young safety to pair with Tracy Walker and compete for a starting spot with veteran DeShon Elliott.

Twentyman's take: The Lions could certainly stand to add another receiver at some point in this draft, but this week is really a great opportunity to infuse some young talent into the defense. Detroit's defense needs more speed, more players who can affect the quarterback, and more players who can get their hands on the football. The Lions should take a big leap forward in the win column in 2022 if they can add impact defenders at every level.

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