Around the NFC North: Mock Draft

Because mocking the three inferior NFC North teams is what I do best. 

In honor of yesterday's release of CheeseheadTV's annual draft guide (buy it!), we're going to run some mock drafts for the Vikings, Bears and Lions today. I'll use the PFF simulator and go through the first three rounds (after that I can't even pretend to speak intelligently about the prospects.) Let's start with the Bears. 


1:1 - Caleb Williams

Our first Bears pick might be the most obvious of the draft. Williams is the best QB to come out in years and the Bears haven't had a good QB since the Reagan administration. The team has spent the off-season bettering the situation for their future QB. They traded for Keenan Allen, they signed four offensive linemen, they made the first signing of the off-season on a nominal starting running back and they even replaced the offensive coaching staff. The Bears have been unusually smart (I mean, relatively, Keenan Allen is so old and most of those offensive linemen are bad) about how they've set the stage for Caleb Williams. All that's left is for us to discover how they'll screw it up. 

1:9 - Jer'Zhan Newton

This would be a legitimately shocking move but everyone would quickly connect the dots. All three wide receivers were gone by the time I was up at pick 9 and Newton was the best fit. Eberflus needs a dominant three technique to get his defense to its fullest potential. In Indy they traded for DeForest Buckner, in Chicago they tried to sign Larry Ogunjobi and now they finally get their man in local star Jer'Shan Newton, a three tech who went to Illinois. 

In reality, the Bears would probably trade down if they were going to take Newton but I'm not going to mess with trades. Don't be shocked if somehow the Bears end up with Jer'Zhan on draft day. 

3:75 Johnny Wilson

Wilson is a freak. At 6'6" 231 lbs, he ran a 4.5 40 and worked out with the receivers. Many people think he will end up playing tight end in the NFL - he would benefit the Bears in either position. 

At receiver, he would be a power slot, making the run game go and being a huge target for Caleb Williams over the middle. As a tight end, he would be a dynamic piece in new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron's preferred two tight end formations. When you have a young, cheap QB and a lot of capital, use the capital to get the QB weapons so he can prove himself.


1:11 - Quinyon Mitchell

In real life, everyone expects the Vikings to make a huge push to move up and take their QB of the future. You have to do desperate things when you lose franchise QB Kirk Cousins. In not real life (this article), there are no trades and the Vikings take an athletic freak at corner with their first first round pick. 

We talk about it all the time: Brian Flores' preferred defense is a man heavy pressure scheme. Mitchell has the raw athleticism to be as good as any of the guys who have played in this scheme in the past (Xavien Howard, Stephon Gillmore, etc.). While Mitchell obviously wouldn't be the QB pick that tips the Vikings over the edge into a certain playoff team, he could certainly be enough to make their defense consistent. The Vikings had one of the least consistent defenses in the league last year, especially after the Packers solved them 

1:25 - Michael Penix Jr. 

This would probably be a disappointing pick for Vikings fans. Penix isn't a horrific prospect, in fact, he may have been the top rated QB in the Kenny Pickett draft, but he's clearly ranks somewhere between 4 and 7 among QBs in this draft. And he's old, not quite Keenan Allen old, but 24 is old for a rookie QB who will probably need to sit a year. 

On the bright side, the Vikings have an interesting defense and an incredibly strong offensive supporting cast and scheme. They had pretty good performances last season with guys like Nick Mullens and Josh Dobbs playing QB. Maybe Penix isn't the next Mahomes, but he could be the next Kirk Cousins. And he could be that with a lot cheaper contract.      

Detroit Lions

1:29 - TJ Tampa

The Lions need guys in the secondary and TJ Tampa fits the mold of press corner who can play outside or inside that the Lions want to have in their scheme.'s prospect comparison for Tampa is Rasul Douglas, if Tampa can fulfill that promise, he would definitely be worth a first round pick for this Lions team and their horrendous pass defense. After trading for Carlton Davis, Tampa would potentially give the Lions the best pairing of long press corners in the league. 

Here's the problem: the Lions have shown that they are obsessed with stopping the run and unless Tampa will be manning the slot (which he can) this pick doesn't really do much for the team's run defense. Of course, it would be legitimately crazy for the Lions to somehow find a way to invest even more in the run defense at this point. But, it's the Lions. What do you expect? 

2:61 Keon Coleman

Coleman is another big Florida St receiver. The 6'3, 215 pound wideout was dominant at times last year but will likely go toward the end of the second round after running a 4.61 40 yard dash at the combine. I'm guessing that time is fine for the Lions purposes. 

The Lions have their speed receiver in Jameson Williams and obviously hit it out of the park when drafting the Sun God who also ran a 4.61. Keon Coleman is 4 inches taller and almost 20 pounds heavier than the Sun God and profiles to be used in similar fashion. Coleman will be the run blocking receiver that they need while also potentially becoming interchangable in the slot or outside with the Sun God. 

3:73 - Spencer Rattler

Sure, the Lions spent a third on Hendon Hooker last year and when your QB room is the personification of the Mendoza line at QB and a guy who was only good in a gimmick offense in college and will already be 26 in his second NFL season, you don't have to worry about improving it. But Rattler has the type of arm talent you don't often see in the third round. Getting beat out by Caleb Williams and reportedly being a real weirdo off the field has killed Rattler's draft stock from his high school days, when everyone assumed he would be the next great Oklahoma Heisman QB who went first overall. 

Rattler is the type of bet that Brad Holmes likes to make. It's a third round pick so the downside is already limited (for proof look at the last decade plus of Packers' third round picks), but the upside is incredible. You have the scheme and personnel good enough to make even Jared Goff look like a pro bowl QB. You'd think it would be good enough to thrive with Hooker or Rattler or at least make them good trade bait. If you do hit on Rattler, you could quickly become the favorite in the division. 




Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan who recently moved form Utah to Stoughton (a Madison suberb). You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.


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Comments (3)

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jont's picture

April 04, 2024 at 05:58 pm

I read that this is a good QB class, so what will be left at pick 11 for the Vikes?
Darnold will give them a year, and the Vikes have got to be hoping he'll be good enough to hold onto until the QB they draft this month matures into a stating role.
Is that guy there at 11? Or do the Vikes make a move to get the guy they really, really want?

It's a given, is it not, that Caleb is their pick. It's a live big, die big decision.
If I'm them, I pick another QB in or before round 3. Double my chances.

Draft corners and safeties.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 05, 2024 at 01:07 am

.The Author has rationale for what our opponents should, or might do. I usually come from the opposite direction and ask “”how will they screw this up..”?

Chicago and Minnesota have each proven that they cannot develop QBs. Chicago is drafting the wrong one, as usual, and Minnesota has Lock and maybe a rookie. The Purple looks like a last place team to me, but Chicago will be better if they can be consistently mediocre on offense. The Packers swept the Bears last year, but against the rest of the league both teams were 7-8. They should draft Harrison and then take the QB at 9,

Detroit had the worst defense in the division . But they’ll try something that won’t help much. Both the Packers and the Bears will probably be better on defense. Detroit wins with offense., They’ll almost certainly draft a defensive player too high.

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T7Steve's picture

April 05, 2024 at 07:32 am

Mike, you took the easy way out by not giving us the picks you think the Packers will take. LOL!

So many different things are going to happen in this draft, that any guess is as good as any other.

I don't have to cross my fingers for another couple weeks.

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