Welcome back to Sports Krunch with DKrom ladies and gentlemen, I’m your host David Kromelow. This our third to last edition of our 2018 Dash To The Draft series and we will use it to analyze the draft classes of the NFC North. With Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Mitchell Trubisky and now Kirk Cousins in the mix, this division could exceed the NFC South as the NFL’s most QB-proficient division. Did the Bears, Packers, Lions or Vikings do what they needed to do to via the draft in order to satisfy their signal-callers? Joining us to answer that question and more on these four NFC North draft hauls is our good friend Aaron Leming of bearreport.com. Great to have you back here Aaron, how are you?
- It is very fitting that the year Brian Urlacher gets enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Bears selected a guy many believe to be a generational talent at the LB position in Roquan Smith. How excited should Bears fans be about Roquan Smith and does he have a high enough ceiling as a player in order to be the next great Hall of Fame-caliber linebacker in Bears history along with Butkus, Singletary and Urlacher?
- After missing out on Quenton Nelson is the first round, the Bears had to be giddy that another special OL talent in Iowa C James Daniels fell to them in the second round. Pairing Daniels up with Cody Whitehair and a healthy Kyle Long can give the Bears one of the best interior offensive lines in the entire NFL. Mike Mayock suggested right after the pick was made that the Bears should slide Daniels into his most natural position at the pivot while kicking Cody Whitehair out to guard. However, the Bears plan is to keep Whitehair at center and have Daniels play left guard. What is your preferred plan for James Daniels: Mayock’s plan or the Bears’ plan?
- Arguably the biggest splash the Bears made in the draft was trading up approximately 50 spots and surrendering their 2019 second-round pick to take Memphis WR Anthony Miller. Based on Miller’s talent alone, this was more than a fair price for the Bears to pay…just watch the UCLA game to realize how special Miller is. However, his injury history is giving me second thoughts about this move. Miller is coming off a Jones fracture in his foot, and as we saw in the past with Kevin Durant and Sammy Watkins, the rate of re-injury is high for this particular malady. What do you say to Bears fans that fear that this is Kevin White 2.0 all over again?
- Which one of the Bears day three picks are you personally excited about the most long-term and why?
- The Packers and new GM Brian Gutekunst made it a priority to address their chronic troubles in pass defense in this draft and they began to solve that problem in the first round with their selection of Louisville CB Jaire Alexander. Many analysts, including Mike Mayock had him as the top-rated corner in this class. Did you see any attributes to his game on tape that justify why Mayock and others felt that way about Alexander?
- The Packers doubled down on corner in round two with Iowa ballhawk Josh Jackson. While Jackson has arguably the best ball skills of any corner in this draft, he is still relatively new to the position and struggled moving in space at the Combine, which was a big reason why he slid out of the first round. Would it be better for the Packers to have him in more of a situational role as opposed to a starting role this season?
- On Day 3 of the draft, the Packers tripled down at WR with height/weight/speed specimens in J’Mon Moore (Missouri), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (South Florida) and Equanimeous St. Brown (Notre Dame). Of those three big-bodied receivers, which one is most likely to win the trust of Aaron Rodgers?
- The Lions added who they hope is the final piece of a potential top-five offensive line in Arkansas C Frank Ragnow with their first round selection. But like the Bears and James Daniels, the Lions have an interesting decision on whether to put Ragnow at guard or center. If you were Matt Patricia, at which of those two positions would you make Frank Ragnow play this season?
- In round two, the Lions traded up to select who they hope will grow into that lead-dog RB they’ve been lacking for so long in Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson. From a skills perspective, what does Johnson bring to that backfield that LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner, et al do not?
- The Lions were also aggressive on Day 3, surrendering their 2019 third-round pick in order to move up to take versatile Alabama DL Da’Shawn Hand. This was a typical “potential over production pick” as Hand has freakish athletic tools, but had neither the production, consistency nor urgency one would expect from an Alabama defensive lineman. If Nick Saban couldn’t light that fire under him, why can Matt Patricia?
- Slot corner was an underrated need for the Vikings. This is likely Terrence Newman’s final year in the NFL and Mackensie Alexander, their 2016 second-round pick, has been a major disappointment thus far. Thus, the Vikings selected UCF CB Mike Hughes with their first round pick. What on Hughes’s tape suggests to you that he will become a better pro than Mackensie Alexander?
- In round two, the Vikings addressed their offensive line by selecting Pittsburgh OT Brian O’Neill. While gifted athletically, O’Neill is very raw, struggled badly at the Senior Bowl, and currently lacks the required core strength for NFL offensive linemen. Should the Vikings essentially redshirt him and make him spend 2018 in the weight room?
- My personal favorite pick the Vikings made was their first of two sixth-round selections in Appalachian State G Colby Gossett. If Mike Remmers stays at RT, the starting RG spot will be wide open. Would it surprise you if Gossett wins that job over Tom Compton and Danny Isidora?
- Overreaction/Not an Overreaction
-Cole Madison will win either one of the Packers starting guard spots
-Daniel Carlson will beat out Kai Forbath for the Vikings placekicking duties
-Tyler Conklin will immediately play the Trey Burton role in new coordinator John DeFilippo’s offense
-Bilal Nichols will play himself into a healthy role in the Bears nickel pass rush
-If Tyrell Crosby develops like the Lions hope he will this year, the Lions will cut T.J. Lang next March ($9 million cap savings), and have Crosby replace him at RG
Thank you Aaron…and that’s it for today here on Sports Krunch with DKrom. But we’ll be back next week with recaps of the NFC South and NFC West draft classes…so stay tuned! Be sure to check out the episode archive as well as an up-to-date blog of mine at SportsKrunch.com!! And if you enjoy these podcast episodes please consider leaving us an iTunes review and donating to our Patreon at Patreon.com/SportsKrunch so we can improve our iTunes ranking and afford to produce even more shows with awesome guests like Aaron, especially since there’s NEVER an “offseason” for talking football.
For Aaron Leming, our producer Chris Brodhead, this is David Kromelow saying so long, and as usual, stay awesome!!!
Aaron’s Twitter handle: @AaronLemingNFL