NFC North Draft Grades

The 2021 NFL Draft season is finally completed as teams across the league look to upgrade their teams with unique talents. The NFC North division is no different. As NFL fans start predicting the outlook of the 2021 NFL season, our writers at the Sports Wave review and grade the NFL draft one last time. Thank you for reading, and here are my NFC North draft Grades. Make sure to check out all of the Sports Wave’s draft content here.

Detroit Lions

Penei Sewell, Offensive Tackle from Oregon

Overall Grade: B+

The Lions enjoyed some excellent early success but failed to carry that momentum throughout the draft. Penei Sewell is a perfect pick, and it is a near-miracle that he fell to them at pick 7. Additionally, Levi Onwuzurike is no pushover either, and he will provide a solid foundation to the Lions D-line. However, their draft quickly worsened into days 2 and 3. I was not a fan of them taking defensive tackles back-to-back, and deciding to trade up for Derrick Barnes was even worse. They improved on some critical areas of need, but due to some bad late picks, the Lions will probably be at the back of the NFC North once again.

Round 1, Pick 7: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon. If there is any word to describe Penei Sewell, it would be unmovable. Sewell achieved extraordinary success in Oregon, and most analysts consider him one of the best tackle prospects of all time. How the Lions were able to get him at pick seven is unbelievable. Furthermore, Sewell upgrades a critical position of need for the Lions as they were in dire need of offensive tackle help. In conclusion, the Lions picking Sewell deserves an easy A+, especially playing in a loaded pass-rushing division. GRADE: A+

Round 2, Pick 41: Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington. The Lions picked up a solid player in Levi Onwuzurike to fill a gaping hole on their D-line. Additionally, Onwuzurike’s run-stopping ability will quickly improve the Lion’s abysmal run defense. GRADE: B+

Round 3, Pick 72: Alim McNeill, DT, N.C. State. I like how the Lions are addressing their needs, but back-to-back defensive tackles is too much. They have so many needs and going with two defensive tackles does not solve their problems elsewhere. I guess Dan Campbell really does like his trench guys. GRADE: C-

Round 3, Pick 101: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse. Ifeatu Melifonwu is a solid selection by the Lions after missing on their previous pick. Melifonwu is a decent, tall cornerback who can develop into a solid starter. Furthermore, the Lions desperately needed a cornerback across from Jeff Okudah. GRADE: B

Round 4, Pick 112: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC. Another great pick by the Lions to try and improve their passing targets for Jared Goff. Amon-Ra St. Brown failed to improve his skills last season after an excellent start to his college campaign. However, if he can channel his former play-making ability, he can be a deadly weapon for the Lion’s passing attack. GRADE: B+

Round 4, Pick 113: Derrick Barnes, LB, Purdue. I do not understand this pick at all. Taking Derrick Barnes before the 7th round is strange enough, but trading up to get him is even worse. Especially with better linebacker talent like Jabril Cox and Dylan Moses still on the board. They are addressing a need, but not in the correct fashion. GRADE: F

Round 7, Pick 257: Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State. I doubt Jermar Jefferson’s ability to get on the field with D’Andre Swift, Kerryon Johnson, and Jamaal Williams on the roster. However, Jermar’s straight-line speed will cause the Lions to make some difficult decisions regarding their running backs this offseason. GRADE: B-

Minnesota Vikings

Christian Darrisaw, Offensive Tackle from Virginia Tech

Overall Grade: B+

The Vikings had an incredible number of picks throughout the draft due to their frequent trade backs, and they did great with them. Firstly, addressing the offensive line was critical; thus, they drafted two great offensive linemen in Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis. Next in line was improvements at linebacker with North Carolina standout Chazz Surratt. Finally, while it may not be the long-term solution, drafting Kellen Mond provides some depth at quarterback behind Kirk Cousins.

Round 1, Pick 23: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech. I love the Viking’s draft process for this pick. They knew they could trade down and still get a quality offensive lineman. While they were not terrible, the Vikings needed help along their offensive line and picked up a great player to improve it. I think they could have gotten more in return, but a great selection nonetheless. GRADE: A

Round 3, Pick 66: Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M. I have been grading and re-grading, and I am still unsure how I feel about this pick. On the one hand, Kirk Cousins cannot be the long-term solution for the Vikings, and they need to be looking elsewhere. On the other hand, the Vikings have so many needs on defense that this feels like a wasted pick. I like the selection overall, but I think the Vikings should have addressed other places of need first. GRADE: B

Round 3, Pick 78: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina. After taking a QB with their first pick, the Vikings return and select a very versatile player with tremendous upside. Finding a possible replacement for Anthony Barr was a priority for the Vikings this offseason, and they found a potential long-term option in Chazz Surratt. GRADE: B+

Round 3, Pick 86: Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State. The Vikings did a fantastic job bolstering their offensive line with a couple of great early-round selections. Wyatt Davis could have quickly gone in the second round and will be a critical run-blocker for Dalvin Cook. Grade A-

Round 3, Pick 90: Patrick Jones, DE, Pittsburgh. Another solid pick by the Vikings as they attempt to strengthen their pass rush. At the moment, Jones needs to get stronger to prepare for NFL lineman, but he has excellent potential. GRADE: B+

Round 4, Pick 119: Kene Nwangwu, RB, Iowa State. Well, this was a waste of a pick. Kene Nwangwu has some potential as a return specialist, but no one should have taken him in the draft. Additionally, the Vikings running back room is already complete, and better running backs were available. Easily the worst pick by the Vikings. GRADE: F

Round 4, Pick 125: Camryn Bynum, S, California Camryn Bynum is a decent but brilliant player who could play a role on special teams. The Vikings announced him as a safety, yet he played cornerback in college. Nevertheless, it is going to be interesting how the Vikings use him in the NFL. GRADE: B

Round 4, Pick 134: Janarius Robinson, DE, Florida State. The Vikings did a fantastic job addressing their two weakest areas. Offensive line and defensive line. Janarius Robinson is an excellent athlete who has great potential. He will further improve the Vikings d-line. GRADE: B+

Round 5, Pick 157: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa. The Vikings could use a slot wide receiver, and Smith-Marsette can undoubtedly play that role. His speed and agility are beyond believable, allowing the Vikings to possibly use him as a return specialist. GRADE: B

Round 5, Pick 168: Zach Davidson, TE, Central Missouri. Zach Davidson is an ok selection. He did a great job of separating himself from D-II defenders and could make contested catches. However, he needs to get stronger in the run game and does not possess crazy athleticism. GRADE: C+

Round 6, Pick 199: Jaylen Twyman, DT, Pittsburgh. The Vikings pick up another defensive lineman to reinforce their weakened d-line. Jaylen Twyman has a quick first step and could play rotationally with the Vikings soon. GRADE: B-

Chicago Bears

Justin Fields, Quarterback from Ohio St.

Overall Grade: A

Unquestionably one of the best draft hauls this year; the Bears did a fantastic job reviving the dead franchise from the ashes. The Bears took huge risks and franchise-changing moves to support dire positions of need. Finding a long-term solution at quarterback was their number one priority, and through Justin Fields, they may have found their answer. Furthermore, getting quality offensive linemen was just as essential, and the Bears fill that hole with Jenkins and Borom. All-in-all, the Bears walk away from this draft completely satisfied and ready for their new future at quarterback.

Round 1, Pick 11: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State. Choosing Justin Fields was indisputably the best selection the Bears have made in over 25 years. Most analysts saw him as the number two quarterback in the draft, yet he fell to pick eleven. Additionally, Justin Fields fills a gaping void in the Bears’ situation at quarterback and can rule the NFC for a long time. I cannot stress enough how great this pick was for the Bears. GRADE: A+

Round 2, Pick 39: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State. This is another fantastic selection and trade-up for the Bears. Many analysts thought the Bears would select Jenkins at 20 especially considering the Bears’ desperate need for offensive line help. As we have seen in the past, protecting the franchise quarterback is vitally important for a team to succeed. The Bears achieve that goal with a great selection in Teven Jenkins. GRADE: A

Round 5, Pick 151: Larry Borom, OT, Missouri. The first selection I question from the Bears, Larry Borom, is a little weird and will probably have to switch to guard in the NFL. Larry Borom is not a terrible selection, but I think he could have been selected later with better prospects on the board at 151. GRADE: C+

Round 6, Pick 217: Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech. Ryan Pace loves selecting running backs with later picks, so it is no surprise he went with a stud here. Khalil Herbert is a smaller running back but makes for his size with his agility, speed, and low center of gravity. Especially within Matt Nagy’s offense, Khalil Herbert will thrive. GRADE: B+

Round 6, Pick 221: Dazz Newsome, WR, North Carolina. Dazz Newsome is a decent selection and will be hopeful slot receivers for the Bear. While he is not the fastest receiver in the NFL, he is a smooth runner and knows how to get down the field quickly. His ceiling is not super high, but he will produce consistently within the Bears’ offense. GRADE: B

Round 6, Pick 228: Thomas Graham, CB, Oregon. I am a little surprised to see the Bears select a cornerback this late, but they picked up a good one in Thomas Graham. Honestly, I am also surprised Graham lasted this long in the first place as he enjoyed a great career at Oregon. Nonetheless, the Bears hope he can evolve into a starter across from Jaylon Johnson. GRADE: A-

Round 7, Pick 250: Khyris Tonga, NT, BYU.I like the final pick by the Bears with Khyris Tonga. Tonga is a monster in the trenches, and he could evolve into a great rotational player for their d-line. All-in-all, nice pickup in the final round. GRADE: B+

Green Bay Packers

Eric Stokes, Cornerback from Georgia

Overall Grade: F

The Packers’ grade has more to do with their day overall rather than a reflection of just their draft haul. With Aaron Rodgers more upset than ever, the Packers needed to appease him with some early offensive talent. Furthermore, even if Rodgers is not starting for the Packers next season, Jordan Love will need just as much help. They attempted to achieve that goal with Josh Myers and Amari Rodgers. However, they whiffed on their first pick with Eric Stokes and selected questionable players with their late-round picks. Altogether, the Packers had a miserable draft and deserved an ‘F’ for their treatment of Rodgers.

Round 1, Pick 29: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia. I know the Packers wanted to replace Kevin King this offseason, but Eric Stokes does not solve the problem to me. While Stokes has great top-line speed, he was very grabby in college, and he will not get away with contact in the NFL. Additionally, the Packers should have tried to appease Rodgers with an offensive lineman or receiver but did neither and got a low-floor corner. Overall, not a fan of the selection. GRADE: C-

Round 2, Pick 62: Josh Myers, C, Ohio State After a debatable first pick, the Packers come back with an excellent second pick in Josh Myers. The Packers gravely needed a center after Corey Linsley left, and they may have found a replacement in Josh Myers. Additionally, Myers’ footwork and excellent pass-blocking skills will be crucial for Jordan Love in his first year. GRADE: A

Round 3, Pick 85: Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson. The Packers picked up a solid receiver in Amari Rodgers with their third-round selection. A. Rodgers possesses some swift feet and knows how to adjust to the ball in the air. He will have an immediate impact in the slot and will maybe make Aaron a little bit happier. GRADE: B

Round 4, Pick 142: Royce Newman, OG, Ole Miss. Another solid selection by the Packers to help their o-line, Royce Newman, is an athletic run-blocker with a high ceiling. Furthermore, the Packers continue to improve their o-line after losing three starters. The Packers are setting up a pleasant future for Jordan Love. GRADE: B

Round 5, Pick 173: Tedarrell Slaton, NT, Florida. Tedarrell Slaton is a ginormous run-stopping nose tackle who could effortlessly start week one. I love this pick by the Packers as they improve a weak d-line with an athletic big man who has tons of potential. GRADE: A

Round 5, Pick 178: Shemar Jean-Charles, CB, Appalachian State. After a great selection five picks earlier, the Packers go weird with their second, fifth-round selection. I understand adding depth to a weak secondary, but most people did not even have Shemar in their mock drafts. However, he does show effort in nearly every play, and he is very instinctive. GRADE: C-

Round 6, Pick 214: Cole Van Lanen, OT, Wisconsin. I’m not too fond of this selection either by the Packers. I know choosing the local kid is always fun, but Cole Van Lanen does not have arm length to play tackle or the strength to play guard. Additionally, the Packers could have selected a linebacker or another wide receiver with this pick instead. GRADE: D

Round 6, Pick 220: Isaiah McDuffie, LB, Boston College. The Packers get back on track with an excellent value pick in Isaiah McDuffie. While he does not have the best size or speed needed for a linebacker, he is very fluid with his movements and gives 110% on every play. McDuffie could have been selected in the late-forth round but fell to the Packers at pick 220. GRADE: A-

Round 7, Pick 256: Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State I like the value for the Packers with the Kylin Hill selection. While they do have a loaded running back room with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, another late-round running back never hurts. The Packers finish their draft selections strong with Kylin Hill. GRADE: A-