Omaha! ...
Season 4,

#162: 2019 NFC North Preview with Jordan Reid of The Draft Network

September 17, 2019

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1. The Bears incredible 2018 season ended in the worst possible way, with a (partially blocked) “double doink” missed FG against the Eagles in the Wild Card round. And since then, the Bears situation at kicker is arguably a million times more uncertain than it was on that day. Cody Parkey might have been jettisoned but no kicker on the current roster has been able to distinguish himself from the pack during OTA’s. Which kicker (whether on the current active roster or open market) can you see providing some stability for the Bears at that position this season? 2. Jordan Howard was traded to the Eagles and to help replace him, the Bears traded up in the third round to select David Montgomery, a talented, multi-faceted back out of Iowa State. I personally was a HUGE fan of this pick. Do you think Montgomery is an upgrade over Howard in Matt Nagy’s offense? If you do, how so? (FANTASY FOCUS: Would you be surprised if Montgomery is the back getting most of the carries right off the bat?) 3. The Bears lost two underrated pieces of their top-shelf 2018 defense in nickel corner Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos. Which of those players will be the hardest to replace? How does Chuck Pagano’s system fit the skillsets of the Bears defenders better than Vic Fangio’s? 4. The main thing that derailed the Vikings in 2018 was their porous OL play. To help fix that problem, the Vikings selected Garrett Bradbury, who was considered THE best center prospects in years, with their first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network calls him “The Grim Reacher” because of his otherworldly reach blocks. Can you see Bradbury making at least somewhat of a similar impact on the entire Vikings OL as Quenton Nelson did with the Colts last year? 5. FANTASY FOCUS: With Gary Kubiak now in the Vikings building as essentially the Vikings co-OC, I am anticipating a lot more two-TE sets. The Vikings need a third pass catcher to emerge behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. And while the Vikings may have extended Kyle Rudolph, they selected Alabama TE Irv Smith with their second-round pick. Daniel Jeremiah compared him to Jordan Reed, who was Kirk Cousins’ absolute favorite target in Washington. Can you see Irv Smith becoming that third option in the passing game behind Thielen and Diggs by midseason or sooner? 6. Although the Vikings were fourth in total defense last season, it didn’t feel quite as dominant as their performance during their magical 2017 season. What is the most important thing that needs to happen this season for the Vikings defense to play closer to that 2017 level? 7. New Packers head coach Matt LaFleur studied under Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan, two guys known for using the run to set up the pass. In 2018, the Packers ran the ball on just 34.2% of their snaps. With a freakish talent like Aaron Jones in the backfield, plus Aaron Rodgers nearing age 36, do you see the Packers running the ball on 40% of their snaps or more this season? 8. FANTASY FOCUS: I was surprised the Packers didn’t give Aaron Rodgers more passing game weapons in the first two rounds of the draft. After Davante Adams, there is a huge question mark as to who that second threat will be. Jimmy Graham is a declining player, and Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown have each shown flashes, but not enough consistency to emerge as that second weapon that scares defenses. Also, you have to factor 2019 third-round pick Jace Sternberger and annual OTA star Jake Kumerow into the equation. Who is the best bet to become Rodgers’ go-to guy in the passing game outside of Davante Adams? 9. The Packers have assembled quite a cupboard of defensive talent these past few years. And this season, they added to that cupboard with edge rushers Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Rashan Gary plus Adrian Amos and the freakishly athletic Darnell Savage at safety. When you add those guys to promising young corners Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, and Kevin King, does this Packers defense have the potential to be a top-ten unit this season? 10. Last season was anything but a smooth ride for Matt Patricia as several players and coaches alike refused to buy into the “Patriot Way.” While Patricia overhauled the coaching staff to his liking and signed/drafted players that fit with his style of play, does the fact that both Darius Slay and Snacks Harrison skipped mandatory minicamp in order to demand new contracts a troublesome sign that he’s still struggling to have people buy into the culture he wants to establish? 11. FANTASY FOCUS: Under new OC Darrell Bevell, the Lions are likely to become a run-first offense. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Kerryon Johnson’s current ADP is 3.09. Given his immense talent and what he showed us last season, that makes sense. However, the Lions also signed C.J. Anderson in the offseason, and he is no slouch whatsoever. How much do you see Anderson eating into Kerryon Johnson’s carries? Is that enough to give you some degree of pause taking Kerryon Johnson at his current ADP? 12. Despite their down season, the Lions finished 2018 10th in total defense. One of the biggest reasons why was the amazing transformation of their front four. And now you add Trey Flowers to that DL to go along with Snacks Harrison (arguably the best run stuffer in football), Da’Shawn Hand, who quietly had a magnificent rookie season for a fourth-round pick (3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles), Romeo Okwara (7.5 sacks last season), and A’Shawn Robinson, who had his breakout season last year. Could the Lions DL turn out to be the unit that far too many people slept on in 2019? 13. Truth/Exaggeration -How much Mitchell Trubisky improves this season will be a more determining factor in how far the Bears get in 2019 than the kicker situation will -Aaron Rodgers’ best days are behind him -If he stays healthy, Dalvin Cook will total 1200+ yards on the ground and at least 1800 total yards from scrimmage -Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn will be fired at season’s end if the Lions again post six wins or fewer

 

 

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