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2012 YDKF Mock Draft – NFC North

Our GMs for the NFC North teams share the reasons behind their picks. Have a dispute? Take it up in the comments or join us in the YDKF Forums.

CHICAGO BEARS

Rd 1 – (19) – Jonathan Martin – LT – Stanford With the 12 hour time difference I had to submit a very long draft board for my first and most crucial pick, which wasn’t ideal. In hindsight, I may have selected Whitney Mercilus here but given that O-line is a need for the Bears it worked out OK, as I dont think my second round pick could have got me the value at OT/OG if I hadn’t pulled the trigger on Martin. Martin is a high character, intelligent, durable tackle with great work ethic and terrific athleticism, he was a three year starter protecting Andrew Luck’s blindside. He has good size at 6’6″ and scouts see this guy as a low risk pick. What Martin lacks in strength, he makes up for with a firm grasp of technique/ fundamentals and he has the frame to allow for strength conditioning down the line; a good player and a good athlete. With this pick and under the tutelage of Mike Tice, the Bears have the O-line sewn up. Webb was inconsistent at LT last year and Martin can add depth to a line that sees the return of former first round pick linemen Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams from injury. With the dependable Garza at Centre and Lance Louis and a number of able reserves in the fold the Bears have the opportunity to finally afford Cutler the protection he needs. With the addition of Brandon Marshall in FA and with Martz and his 7 step drop optimistic blocking schemes long gone, the Bears are starting to look like they are going to compete in a division that has high-octane offences like the Lions and Packers.

Rd 2 – (50) – Bruce Irvin – DE -West Virginia ‘The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds… ‘ Bruce Irvin is this year’s Michael Oher when it comes to his story leading up this point but the guy has learnt from his chequered past and reports from his pro day indicated that Lovie Smith and Mike Tomlin of the Steelers left raving about Irvin’s potential. An explosive pass rusher, he fits the Bears’ Cover 2 scheme which is predicated on a strong pass rush from the front 4. With Julius Peppers lining up opposite Irvin, and strong inside help from Paea and Melton, the Bears should be back to their ferocious best with this pick. Rodgers, Stafford and some schmuck at the Vikes – you have been warned.

Rd 3 – (79) – Greg Childs – Arkansas – WR This year’s WR class is very deep. In fact, rounds 2 and 3 could see a record number of receivers taken. With that in mind and the Bears having addressed receiver comprehensively in free agency (Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall, ST stand-outs and able replacements Eric Weems, Devin Thomas) I felt I could leave wide-out until the third round. Childs has the size, speed and production to slot in besides Marshall and Earl Bennet in a strong passing attack next year. At this point in the draft I was pleased to snag Childs who I think had second round value. The guy is over 6’3″ and runs a good route. He’ll be a strong addition to the Bears’ O.

Rd 4 – (111) – Derek Wolfe – DT – Cincinnati The Bears lost Okoye to the Buccs in free agency and had let Anthony Adams go already. DT needs some depth and I’d thought leaving DT this late a bit of a gamble, but I lucked out. I really like Wolfe here in the fourth, he was a three year starter for the Bearcats and is a leader. Wolfe is tall (6’5”), solid and a fierce competitor, and has been described as ‘versatile’, ‘tough as nails’, ‘an extremely hard worker in the weight room’ and ‘relentless in practice with a non-stop motor’. He is durable (started last 38 games of college career) and led the conference as a senior with 21.5 tackles for a loss with career high tackles (70) and sacks (9.5). This guy has the character and all the tools to really flourish in the Bears’ rotation under the expert guidance of Rod Marinelli. For me he is a steal in the fourth and is my favourite value pick for the Bears.

Rd 5 – (150) – Coryell Judie – CB – Texas A&M A high school track star CB who fits the zone system employed by the Bears well. Good awareness, quick feet and fluid backpedal, he is ‘an aggressive tackler’ and ‘attacks the receiver from the snap’. ‘High effort leader’, with occasional ‘flashes of spectacular ball skills’, good ‘blitz potential’ and special teams contributor. The more I read about Judie the more I liked, I’ve seen a bit of film on him too and had him pegged as a 3/4th rounder alongside Shaun Prater. When Prater came off the board 7 picks before my slot, I had no qualms pulling the trigger on Judie. Judie will add depth to the Bears’ cornerback stable behind starters Tillman and Jennings. He fits the scheme and he has the tools to be a success. With the FA addition of Kelvin Hayden as well, the Bears are looking good at corner.

Rd 6 – (184) – Josh LeRibeus – OG – SMU LeRibeus was another steal here in the sixth. Described by SI as a ‘tough, explosive blocker who’s effective in motion, gets his hands on defenders, keeps his feet moving and turns opponents off the line.. and could develop into a starter’, LeRibeus is a solid 6th round pick up I couldn’t pass on. He can provide depth at guard or centre and is a strong, tough competitor

Rd 7 – (220) – Eddie Pleasant, Oregon, SS This late in the draft you’re looking for depth and ST players. Pleasant fits both these remits. Received all-conference honours in PAC-10, a two year starter and specials teams contributor, Pleasant fits the zone scheme of the Bears and is a disciplined reader of the game showing great awareness on the field. ‘Aggressive and quick to move up to defend the run.. (he) displays a burst of closing speed and is forceful on the blitz.’ A decent late round addition to the Bears at a position they’ve struggled at in past years. Will have a chance to make the roster and compete on Special Teams. Brings a winning mentality coming in from the Oregon Ducks! (had to sneak one UO guy in somewhere!)

I’m very happy with my draft, it hinged on the first round selection as to which way I’d go. This year’s draft class has been much hyped and I can see bust potential in quite a few highly touted first round names – in fact, had we allowed trades in this mock I’d have looked to trade down or perhaps even out of the first round altogether, as there appears to be some strong, good value picks in rounds 2-3 and outside of the top 10 prospects overall, I dont see too much drop off down to mid/late second round. With that in mind and with the Bears’ needs on the O-Line, I was happy to get Martin who I view as one of the lowest risk, high character guys out there. Irvin is a very exciting prospect in the second and Childs, Wolfe and Judie were all picks I had graded higher than where I got them and also filled a need, which was very encouraging.

DETROIT LIONS

Rd 1 – (23) – Stephon Gilmore – CB – South Carolina Need meet value. Gilmore was the number 2 corner on the Lions board, and the fact he was still around at 23 was perfect. This was the easiest pick I made all draft long.

Rd 2 – (54) – Brandon Brooks – OL – Miami of Ohio The Lions need offensive linemen, and have for a long time. They really need help at every position along the line. I would have preferred a tackle in the 2nd, but I think Brooks was the best OL on the board and was very happy to find him available.

Rd 3 – (85) – Nate Potter OT, Boise State I just have a thing for Boise State players this year, and Potter is no exception. I think he is a second round talent, and to find him in the late 3rd is a steal for the Lions.

Rd 4 – (117) – Ronnie Hillman – RB – San Diego St The Lions have a lot of RBs on the roster. The problem is that Best has a long history of concussions, and if he gets another one his career is likely over. Last year they drafted Leshoure and he promptly missed the entire season with an injury, so the Lions went out and brought back Kevin Smith, a guy who can play, but the Lions are down on. Hillman is a guy I like a lot and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up starting for Detroit before long, injuries to everyone else be damned.

Rd 5 – (158) – Phillip Thomas – S – Syracuse Being an SU grad student, I got to watch Thomas play an awful lot. He was the best player in the secondary last year, and one of the top 3-4 players on the team in general. Thomas is one of my sleeper safeties in this years draft. Not that this means much, but Mayock has him as the #5 safety in the class. He just adds another dimension to the safety rotation in Detroit.

Rd 7 – (219) – Quentin Saulsberry – C – Mississippi State In case you hadn’t realized, I made the OL a priority for the Lions in this draft. I was able to add a OT, a OG and now a C on the interior of the line. I don’t know that Saulsberry can develop into a starter, but he will provide solid depth for the Lions going forward. He probably needs a year before he is ready for that role.

Rd 7 – (230) – Kellen Moore – QB – Boise State The winningest quarterback in the history of college football at pick 230. Say what you want about Moore’s size, arm strength and whatever else, but the guy just flat out wins games. Moore’s physical limitations have people counting him out before he even has a chance, but the guy reminds me an awful lot of Chad Pennington when you watch him play. Due to his limitations his level of anticipation is very high. He is a cerebral kid with an excellent completion percentage of 69.7 in his career, and to top it off, he is one of the best leaders in all of college football. Maybe he makes it, maybe not, but he deserves to get drafted on wins alone.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Rd 1 – (28) – Shea McClellin – DE/OLB – Boise State When the Green Bay Packers’ season ended abruptly during the divisional round of the playoffs, on their own home field of freezing Lambeau, a Packer player could only wonder what had happened that day. A few weeks before, it seemed like a sure thing that the Packers would be able to repeat as champions and once again return the Lombardi trophy to the place in which it originated. Only it was not to be. Instead of sitting at the bottom of the draft, the Packers are sitting at 28. So what exactly was wrong with the 2011 Packers? Oftentimes, it seemed like this team was perfect but in actuality it was deeply flawed. Simply put, their defense could not stop anyone. Ranking dead last in passing yards allowed per game, their Achilles’ heel was obvious. As well as the untimely loss of Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, the Green Bay Packers could not generate a consistent pass rush outside of their All-Pro outside linebacker Clay Matthews. They can address this need by taking Shea McClellin. McClellin is the perfect bookend to Clay Matthews, having the high motor and tenacity that is needed to draw enough attention from Matthews so that the Packers can have a lethal pass rush once again.

Rd 2 – (59) – Chris Polk – RB – Washington Part of the reason why the Packers couldn’t beat the Giants in the playoffs was because they couldn’t develop a consistent rushing attack, so I decided to draft them a running back here. A couple other runners were available here (David Wilson and Lamar Miller), but I decided to go with the back that I know the Packers have interest in. Polk will be able to contribute immediately as the lead back in the Packers running back-by-committee.

Rd 3 – (90) – Billy Winn – DE/DT – Boise State Another Boise State player, the Packers have been showing interest in all of the Broncos front 7 defenders this offseason. One reason why the Packers haven’t been able to generate a consistent pass rush is because they haven’t been getting enough penetration from their defensive line. Having been known for just that at Boise State, Winn will be able to contribute immediately as a rotational defensive lineman for the Packers.

Rd 4 – (123) – Michael Brewster – C – Ohio State The Packers signed long time Colt Jeff Saturday in free agency to replace the departed Scott Wells, but don’t have anyone on the roster to fill their need for a long term starting center. After finishing his career at Ohio State, Michael Brewster will be able to sit and watch one of the best centers of the past decade before eventually taking over as the starter two or three years down the road.

Rd 4 – (132) – Josh Norman – CB – Coastal Carolina With Charles Woodson ageing and possibly moving to safety, the Packers need another talented young corner in their secondary. Josh Norman fits that criteria to a tee, as he’s one of the most gifted corners in this draft class and (if developed correctly) a potential starter down the road. The Packers have also shown interest in him by sending a representative to his Pro Day.

Rd 4 – (133) – Andrew Datko – OT – Florida State Another pressing need for the Packers is acquiring offensive line depth. After last year’s 1st round draft choice Derek Sherrod broke his leg during a week 15 match-up against the Chiefs, right tackle has suddenly become a position of great uncertainty. Andrew Datko was a 2nd day draft prospect before encountering chronic shoulder issues and having his senior season cut short due to surgery. He’s a classic boom-or-bust pick, but one on whom the Packers can afford to take the risk late in the 4th round.

Rd 5 – (163) – Ryan Lindley- QB – San Diego State Pro-style quarterback with a prototypical size and an NFL arm. Underrated prospect that has the tools to play in this league.

Rd 6 – (197) – Tramain Thomas – S – Arkansas Gained tons of experience lining up all over the field for the Razorbacks. Converted corner that turned into a very athletic safety. Upside for days.

Rd 7 – (224) – Markus Zusevics -OT – Iowa Overshadowed by his counterpart, Riley Reiff. Zusevics can play though. Surprised that he was around this late. Developmental tackle prospect that reunites with former Iowa teammate Bryan Bulaga.

Rd 7 – (235) – Ryan Van Bergen – DL – Michigan Huge, versatile lineman that should provide solid depth on the defensive line.

Rd 7 – (241) – Blake Gideon – S – Texas Heady defensive back with subpar athleticism, but a knack for making plays on the football. Special teamer with limited upside.

Rd 7 – (243) – Carmen Messina – LB – New Mexico Two words: tackling machine. Super productive mid-major backer with some upside.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Rd 1 – (3) – Matt Kalil – Offensive Tackle – University of Southern California Kalil is head and shoulders above the rest of this year’s offensive tackle group. With Minnesota grabbing their quarterback of the future last year in Christian Ponder, protection was needed. Kalil will be a starter from day one, and he should develop into one of the league’s premier pass protectors.

Rd 2 – (35) – Alshon Jeffery – Wide Receiver – University of South Carolina Arguably the best jump ball receiver in the draft, Alshon Jeffery is one of my favorite overall prospects in this entire class. Members of the sports media heavily scrutinized Jeffery during the pre-draft process. He proved all of his doubters wrong by slimming down and running a relatively fast 40 at South Carolina’s Pro Day. Getting a tall, possession wideout to compliment Percy Harvin was key. Ponder needs all of the help he can get.

Rd 3 – (66) – Jamell Fleming – Cornerback – University of Oklahoma Minnesota’s first selection in the secondary overhaul, Fleming is a criminally underrated cornerback prospect. The cornerback situation on this roster is very shaky. Actually, the whole secondary is a mess. Fleming excels in man-to-man coverage, but Fleming has all of the tools to become a starter in a zone coverage scheme.

Rd 4 – (98) – Markelle Martin – Safety – Oklahoma State University Martin is one of the better athletes in the safety position group. He displays solid range, even with some questionably stiff hips. Martin rarely gets beat over the top and knows how to get his hands on the football. An ideal fit in Minnesota’s zone coverage scheme.

Rd 4 – (128) – Joe Adams – Wide Receiver – University of Arkansas Adams is one of the biggest playmakers in this entire draft class. At Arkansas, he was an elite return specialist and also made a ton of big plays in their high-powered offense. Adams should contribute immediately out of the slot. An excellent insurance policy for the injury prone Percy Harvin.

Rd 4 – (134) – Ryan Steed – Defensive Back – Furman University Another defensive back…Steed is a long, rangy small school corner that is a top tier run defender at the position. Should make an immediate impact on special teams, and could convert into a safety down the line. He’s a part of a small group of prospects entering the NFL that should be a nice matchup against receiving tight ends.

Rd 5 – (138) – Adam Gettis – Offensive Guard – University of Iowa Gettis is one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the 2012 NFL Draft. He’ll need some time to develop and put on weight, but he has solid upside as a pulling guard. A versatile depth selection that can develop into a starter down the road.

Rd 6 – (175) – Trevor Guyton – Defensive Lineman – University of California-Berkeley I was surprised to see Guyton still hanging around this late. Minnesota could use some depth at both end and tackle. Guyton can play both in their current scheme. The Vikings like to use heavier ends, but Guyton is also capable of playing inside at tackle. Just excellent value this late.

Rd 7 – (210) – BJ Coleman – Quarterback – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Coleman is a small school sleeper with ideal size and a big arm. Minnesota’s backup quarterbacks are aging vet Sage Rosenfels and slash QB/WR Joe Webb. It was time to bring in a pure passer to develop behind Rosenfels. Ponder was injury prone at Florida State, so depth behind him is needed.

Rd 7 – (223) – Michael Smith – Running Back – Utah State University Smith is a scatback that was overshadowed at USU by Robert Turbin. He has big play ability, and catches the ball really well out of the backfield. The Vikings lack a change-of-pace speedster behind Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. Smith would provide that.

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