The 2022 NFL Draft is complete, and now teams are looking to get their draft picks, undrafted players and tryout players on the field for rookie minicamps across the league before they join the veterans for OTAs. The four teams in the NFC North certainly believe they are better today than they were early last week, thanks to the new infusion of young talent via this year's draft.
Now that the dust has settled on the draft, let's take a look at who Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota and Green Bay added to their roster, and how it might impact the division moving forward:
Draft picks: Rd 1 – DE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan), Rd 1 – WR Jameson Williams (Alabama), Rd 2 – DE Josh Paschal (Kentucky), Rd 3 – S Kerby Joseph (Illinois), Rd 5 – TE James Mitchell (Virginia Tech), Rd 6 – LB Malcolm Rodriguez (Oklahoma State), Rd 6 – OLB James Houston (Jackson State); Rd 7 – CB Chase Lucas (Arizona State)
Most impactful pick: There are a few candidates here, but I have to start at the top with Hutchinson. The No. 2 overall pick has a ton of position versatility. Lions defensive line coach Todd Wash said he expects Hutchinson to be a three-down player with the ability to also move inside and rush. He'll make a big impact on Detroit's defense right away.
Sleeper pick: Don't sleep on Rodriguez, Detroit's sixth-round pick out of Oklahoma State. There are a lot of question marks at the linebacker position in Detroit. There's some good veteran depth, but not a lot of proven difference makers. Rodriguez should make an impact early on special teams, but he'll also get a shot to compete to play some defense too.
Quotable: "We had a sense that with all the things that we wanted to do we had a sense that it might tilt a little toward defense," Lions general manager Brad Holmes said about drafting six defenders among their eight selections.
Twentyman: I like the class in its entirety, but the top three picks of Hutchinson, Williams (when healthy) and Paschal have a chance to really impact the Lions early in their careers. Paschal is going to start on the edge, but the Lions hope to bulk him up a bit so he can move inside and really give then some juice in their pass rush from the interior. Williams gives them a legit deep threat, and Hutchinson should be a good player in this league for long time. The Lions got much better after last weekend, especially on defense.
Draft picks: Rd 1 – LB Quay Walker (Georgia), Rd 1 – DT Devonte Wyatt (Georgia), Rd 2 – WR Christian Watson (North Dakota State), Rd 3 – OT Sean Rhyan (UCLA), Rd 4 – WR Romeo Doubs (Nevada), Rd 4 – OT Zach Tom (Wake Forest), Rd 5 – DE Kingsley Enagbare (South Carolina), Rd 7 – LB Tariq Carpenter (Georgia Tech), Rd 7 – OT Rasheed Walker (Penn State), Rd 7 – WR Samori Toure (Nebraska)
Most impactful pick: Walker and Wyatt pencil in on Green Bay's defense to start, but Watson has a chance to make a big impact early on with his combination of size and speed. The Packers are looking for a new No. 1 receiver after Davante Adams left in free agency. Watson will get a chance to make an immediate impact. He's got one of the best in the business throwing him the football.
Sleeper pick: Like Watson, Doubs will get a chance to make some early plays in Green Bay's revamped receiver corps. I really liked him at the Senior Bowl, and he's got a history of production, with back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons at Nevada.
Quotable: "What they're coming from is about as close as you can get to the National Football League," Packers GM Brian Gutekunst told the Green Bay Press Gazette of first-round picks Walker and Wyatt. "They do such a good job there training their players, like a lot of the other schools do.
"I just think that certainly they've been on the big stage, they've been in really, really big games. Both these guys have played against NFL players their entire career, not only during games but during practice."
Twentyman: Green Bay addressed some defensive needs at the top of the draft before shifting their focus to receiver and snagging three players for that position group. Gutekunst knew he had to get stronger defensively and did that in the first round. Walker, Wyatt and Watson should all be immediate impact players and starters, which is what teams want early in the draft. The NFC North crown still goes through Green Bay.
Draft picks: Rd 1 – S Lewis Cine (Georgia), Rd 2 – CB Andrew Booth Jr. (Clemson), Rd 2 – G Ed Ingram (LSU), Rd 3 – LB Brian Asamoah (Oklahoma), Rd 4 – CB Akayleb Evans (Missouri), Rd 5 – DE Esezi Otomewo (Minnesota), Rd 5 – RB Ty Chandler (North Carolina), Rd 6 – OT Vederian Lowe (Illinois), Rd 6 – WR Jalen Nailor (Michigan State), Rd 7 – TE Nick Muse (South Carolina)
Most impactful pick: Cine and Michigan's Daxton Hill were vying for second best safety in the class behind Kyle Hamilton. Cine lands in a good spot in Minnesota to make an immediate impact. The Vikings could have one of the better pass rushes in the league, and that's always a safety's best friend.
Sleeper pick: Asamoah is an explosive linebacker with terrific speed. He's a see ball, hit ball kind of player, which could work well for Minnesota's defense early in his career. He always seems to be around the football.
Quotable: "It doesn't really matter what the trade chart says, so I try and view it as a scenario thing," Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah told the Minneapolis Star Tribune of trading with division rivals Detroit and Green Bay, allowing both teams to move up in the draft while the Vikings gained more assets.
"Here are the different scenarios we could be in if we pick this player or not, and just compare them and see how we are. There's mathematical ways to do it, but there's also common sense and intuition way of doing it as well."
Twentyman: The Vikings traded back a couple times to gain assets, most notably with Detroit at No. 12 so the Lions could take Williams. Cine and Booth should be immediate impact players, and Ingram will be in a pretty deep competition in Minnesota to start at guard. It's not a draft haul that wows on paper, but there's some sneaky good talent there that could make more impact early on than experts might think right now.
View photos from offseason workouts on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
Draft picks: Rd 2 – CB Kyler Gordon (Washington), Rd 2 – S Jaquan Brisker (Penn State), Rd 3 WR Velus Jones Jr. (Tennessee), Rd 5 – OT Braxton Jones (Southern Utah), Rd 5 – DE Dominique Robinson (Miami Ohio), Rd 6 – OT Zachary Thomas (San Diego State), Rd 6 – RB Trestan Ebner (Baylor), Rd 6 – C Doug Kramer (Illinois), Rd 7 – G Ja'Tyre Carter (Southern), Rd 7 – S Elijah Hicks (California), Rd 7 – P Trenton Gill (North Carolina State)
Most impactful pick: Brisker was in the second tier of safeties with Cine and Hill, and he should pencil in right away in the Bears' defense next to Eddie Jackson. It's a great situation for Brisker, who gets to play next to a Pro Bowl player in Jackson. That could be a nice duo in the back end of the Bears' defense for some time.
Sleeper pick: Jones was another player who really caught my eye at the Senior Bowl. The Bears lost Allen Robinson in free agency, and Jones will have a chance to make an immediate impact.
Quotable: "Where we sat (in Round 2), there were two good starting-level defensive players," Bears GM Ryan Poles told the Chicago Sun-Times of not drafting a receiver with their first two picks. "And I would have made a huge mistake for this organization to say: 'Let's leave them there, let someone else take them, and we're going to go to offense where they're not on the same level.' And then you're kicking yourself a year or two later when that guy's an All-Pro. Yeah, I just did what I needed at the time.
''So it comes back to discipline and doing things the right way. And I felt like that's going to be a decision that we're all happy with.''
Twentyman: Defensively the Bears will be good, like they always seem to be, but did Poles give quarterback Justin Fields enough help via free agency and the draft? The Bears still have some issues upfront along their offensive line they need to address, and Darnell Mooney now looks to be the No. 1 receiver in Chicago. He's certainly good enough to handle the role, but that's a lot to ask of him to lead a young receiver corps with a young signal caller at the helm.