HomeFootball#258: 2021 NFL Draft Recap (NFC North with Jacob Infante)

#258: 2021 NFL Draft Recap (NFC North with Jacob Infante)

1. Lions

-With their first-round pick, the Lions began their draft theme of drafting guys that can “bite kneecaps off” with Oregon OT Penei Sewell. His addition arguably makes the Lions offensive line one of the most promising groups in the NFL. The Lions now have rock solid bookend tackles with Sewell at RT and Taylor Decker at left tackle. Inside, they have All Pro Frank Ragnow at center and Jonah Jackson, who had a very good rookie season in 2020, at one of the guard spots. Would you be surprised if the Lions OL becomes a top-10 unit at the end of this season, if not a top-five unit?

-On day two, the Lions double-dipped at defensive tackle with Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill. Double-dipping at a position in the draft usually means (at least in terms of logic) that the two players have perfectly complimentary skill sets. How well (if at all) do Onwuzurike and McNeill compliment each other, and can you see them as the two starters at DT for the Lions at some point in the next few seasons?

-With their third-round compensatory selection, the Lions selected somebody who I personally expected to go quite a bit higher in CB Ifeatu Melifonwu out of Syracuse. He’s that long, lean, lanky, athletic corner most NFL teams prize in the modern NFL. Do you see Melifonwu capturing the starting CB spot opposite Jeff Okudah at some point this season?

2. Bears

-The Bears arguably came away with not only the biggest steal of the 2021 NFL Draft, but a steal that can be THE most pivotal move in the history of the franchise as they traded up to snatch a potential superstar franchise QB in Justin Fields. Unlike most clubs in the NFL, most on Draft Twitter had Fields as the second-best QB in the draft solely behind Trevor Lawrence. And I agreed with that sentiment because in my view, Fields had the highest ceiling and highest floor out of all the non-Trevor Lawrence QB’s. On my draft livestream, I said that Justin Fields just might be the best QB in Chicago Bears history already, even though he’s yet to throw a pass. What makes Justin Fields so special, and exactly how high would you consider both his floor and ceiling to be? If Justin Fields wins the Week 1 starting job in training camp and preseason, should the Bears trade Andy Dalton, especially if he will get more value in return than Nick Foles would?

-In the second round, the Bears traded up again to get Justin Fields some protection in Teven Jenkins, who is the quintessential “bouncer in a nightclub” offensive lineman. I was hoping the Bears planned on him playing RT opposite Charles Leno, but shortly after the draft, the Bears released Leno and said Teven Jenkins will be playing LT this season. Most draft analysts I really trust believe Jenkins is better suited to play RT or guard in the NFL than left tackle. How concerned are you about the Bears plan for him?

-One of my favorite day three picks for the Bears was CB Thomas Graham, Jr. out of Oregon. It is VERY important for everyone to know that the Bears are essentially returning to the Vic Fangio playbook on defense this season with the promotion of Sean Desai to defensive coordinator, a move that was recommended to the Bears by Fangio himself. Graham is the vintage CB for a Fangio scheme given his instincts in zone coverage and ball skills. Do you see him starting at that slot corner spot at some point this season?

3.  Vikings

-The main need for the Vikings in this draft was to address their offensive line, and they did just that, with Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw in the first round and Ohio State G Wyatt Davis in the third round. Was getting those two guys better than staying put at 14 and taking Alijah Vera-Tucker instead? Given those two additions, how much better is the Vikings OL compared to last season?

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