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Keep Your Enemies Close: How the Other NFC North Teams Got Better in Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft

Will DeWitt Avatar
April 29, 2022

The Chicago Bears did not have a selection in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. While Ryan Poles patiently awaits his moment on Friday night, the rest of the division was busy with five picks between the other three teams.

Here’s who Chicago’s closest rivals drafted – and how it impacts the Bears’ plans.

Detroit Lions (Pick 2)

The Pick: Aidan Hutchinson, DE (Michigan)

Why it matters

The Lions’ defensive line just got a whole lot better with Hutchinson added to the mix. Detroit now has that prototypical defensive end that will get after opposing quarterbacks with a great blend of length and power to go along with a polished set of pass rush moves.

Hutchinson will pose a threat to the Bears’ offensive line, especially at tackle, which is a position group currently getting sorted out. If Chicago doesn’t find its long-term answer at left tackle, Hutchinson will be teeing off on Justin Fields this season.

Does this pick make drafting an offensive tackle that much more important? Perhaps we will find out tonight.

Detroit Lions (Pick 12 – From MIN)

The Pick: Jameson Williams, WR (Alabama)

Why it matters

It’s not every day you see division rivals make a trade with a division rival, but that’s exactly what we saw when the Vikings gave the Lions the 12th and 46th overall picks in exchange for picks 32, 34, and 66.

The Lions went wide out in the midst of a run at the position. Detroit drafted a deep-threat receiver that excels due to his quickness and route-running ability. Williams gives the Lions true inside/out versatility.

Even though he is coming off a torn ACL, Williams will be a matchup problem for the Bears’ secondary, especially when lined up in the slot, where he can leverage his burst and elusiveness to create separation.

He’s a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

With a team with question marks at cornerback outside of Jaylon Johnson, does the Lions drafting Williams make the Bears consider addressing the position in Round 2?

Green Bay Packers (Pick 22)

The Pick: Quay Walker, LB (Georgia)

Why it matters

Green Bay opted out of giving Aaron Rodgers some much-needed help at wide receiver and decided to bolster its linebacking corps instead. In Walker, the Packers are getting an athletic linebacker with all of the range you could hope for – a true sideline-sideline player. He can be a difference-maker in coverage and against the run.

Walker will pose a problem for the Bears’ offensive line as Walker is known for shedding blocks with ease with a variety of moves to get off a block and get after the ball carrier. Oh, and he’s also pretty good at getting after quarterbacks.

With their biggest rival drafting a linebacker with this skillset, it becomes more important for the Bears to continue becoming more athletic at offensive line. Time will tell if Poles can find those types of players on Day 2 and/or Day 3.

Green Bay Packers (Pick 28)

The Pick: Devonte Wyatt, DE (Georgia)

Why it matters

Just like the Packers’ previous pick, Wyatt will pose a threat to the Bears’ offense. Green Bay got better in the trenches by drafting a defensive tackle that explodes off the line and gets into the backfield in a hurry.

For the Bears, this puts more pressure on them to ensure that the interior of their offensive line is rock-solid next season. If not, Wyatt could ruin a couple of games for Chicago as he is a a high-effort player with the physical makeup to be a difference-maker for the Packers.

With both of their picks in Round 1, Green Bay is already presenting multiple challenges for the Bears’ offensive front. The Bears already had their work cut out for them in terms of retooling the line, and with these two picks plus the Lions’ pick earlier, the need continues to grow.

Minnesota Vikings (Pick 32 – From DET)

The Pick: Lewis Cine, SAF (Georgia)

Why it matters

After trading down and playing the waiting game, the Minnesota Vikings decided to address the backend of their defense by adding one of the best safeties in the draft. The Vikings selected a physical player that will deliver some massive hits.

Cine’s a player that does his best work in the box. He’s not someone the Vikings should be looking to play in many deep looks, especially single-high. The Bears will need to pay attention to where Cine is lined up at all times as he is an effective blitzer who gets pressure on quarterbacks.

Pairing Cine with Harrison Smith creates a safety tandem that will make things more difficult for the Bears, both on the ground and through the air.

Wrapping Up

Only one out of the five picks for NFC North teams addressed offense as the Lions, Packers and Vikings primarily placed their focus on fortifying their defenses.

The Bears already were playing catch-up on offense with a new offensive coordinator, a second-year quarterback, an offensive line in flux, and a lack of playmakers at receiver.

Now that their rivals have added some serious talent to multiple position groups, the Bears will need to be very strategic and deliberate on how they stick to their draft plan, but also take into account how these draft picks impact six of the most important games each season.

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