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Draft needs of Bears' NFC North foes


With pick No. 11, the Bears will be the first NFC North team on the clock Thursday night in the first round of the NFL Draft (assuming there are no trades.) But soon after they make their pick, the Bears' three division rivals will have their turn. The following is a breakdown of what positions those clubs might target in the first round and the prospects each team could select.

Detroit Lions

Positions of need: Defensive line, wide receiver, offensive tackle

The Lions have seen a lot of talent leave the roster in recent years, from Ndamukong Suh's free agent exit last offseason to Calvin Johnson's retirement earlier this year. Detroit has tried to recover from that with some signings, but there are still holes on the roster. At pick No. 16, the Lions could go a bunch of different directions. This year's draft class has great defensive line depth, and there should be both high-quality ends and tackles still on the board when Detroit makes its pick. If one of the top offensive tackle prospects falls, that would also be a position the Lions could consider, to provide more protection for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Finally, No. 16 is right around where many are projecting the first wideout to be taken, and the Lions could pick somebody there to try and replace Johnson.

Mock draft predictions:

Charles Davis, – Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd

Cris Collinsworth, Pro Football Focus – Mississippi defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche

Nate Davis, USA Today – Ohio State tackle Taylor Decker

Minnesota Vikings

Positions of need: Offensive line, wide receiver, safety

Two years ago in the draft, the Vikings traded back into the first round to select quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. After leading the team to the NFC North title in 2015, Bridgewater has cemented his spot as Minnesota's leader. Now the team needs to get him more help on offense. At pick No. 23, that help could be in the form of another pass-catching target, to team with last year's rookie, Stefon Diggs, who led the team in catches and yards. Or Minnesota could choose to aid the quarterback by acquiring more blockers. Last season, Bridgewater was sacked 44 times, among the most in the NFL. On the other side of the ball, Minnesota may be looking to upgrade its pass defense, either with rushers to pressure quarterbacks or more depth in the defensive backfield.

Mock draft predictions:

Charles Davis, – TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson

Cris Collinsworth, Pro Football Focus – Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones

Nate Davis, USA Today – TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson

Green Bay Packers

Positions of need: Linebacker, defensive line, running back

Green Bay came close to reaching the NFC Championship Game last season, and the team gets wide receiver Jordy Nelson back from injury after he missed all of 2015. So the Packers don't have a lot of major needs to address with the 27th pick. Still, depth is always helpful, and the team's roster is getting up there in age at a few spots. On offense, Green Bay may look to provide an alternative to running back Eddie Lacy or another pass-catcher for quarterback Aaron Rodgers Defensively, the Packers could use more sure tacklers—either outside or inside. In 2015, opponents averaged more than 4.5 yards per running play against Green Bay, so a physical run-stuffer up front or a sideline-to-sideline linebacker would be a tremendous boost.

Mock draft predictions:

Charles Davis, – Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry

Cris Collinsworth, Pro Football Focus – Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings

Nate Davis, USA Today – Alabama inside linebacker Reggie Ragland

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