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Ranking the NFC North 2022 draft classes

Will DeWitt Avatar
May 1, 2022

After three long days, the 2022 NFL Draft is in the books. Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles has officially completed his first draft. The consensus is that Poles knocked his first draft out of the park given the circumstances.

But how does his draft class stack up compared to the other teams in the division?

Before we get to the rankings, it must be noted that all four draft classes in the NFC North are very good. Every single one of the hauls is impressive and the difference between some of these are razor-thin.

Since there was so much movement by these teams, to keep things simple — these rankings are based solely on the talent each team brought in.

Let’s get to the rankings!

4. Minnesota Vikings

The Picks:

  • 1-32: Lewis Cine, S (Georgia)
  • 2-42: Andrew Booth, CB (Clemson)
  • 2-59: Ed Ingram, G (LSU)
  • 3-66: Brian Asamoah, LB (Oklahoma)
  • 4-118: Akayleb Evans, CB (Missouri)
  • 5-165: Esezi Otomeow, DE (Minnesota)
  • 5-169: Ty Chandler, RB (North Carolina)
  • 6-184: Vederian Lowe, OT (Illinois)
  • 6-191: Jalen Nailor, WR (Michigan State)
  • 7-227: Nick Muse, TE (South Carolina)

Minnesota bolstered its secondary with the first two picks with Cine and Booth. Both should be Day 1 starters for the Vikings. Ingram also has the potential to start at guard too. Minnesota also drafted players to develop with decent upside in the LB Asamoah, DE Otomeow and CB Evans. Plus, they got some good value in Lowe and Nailor later on in the draft, who both could also contribute sooner than their draft position indicates.

3. Chicago Bears

The Picks:

  • 2-39: Kyler Gordon, CB (Washington)
  • 2-48: Jaquan Brisker, S (Penn State)
  • 3-71: Velus Jones Jr., WR (Tennessee)
  • 5-168: Braxton Jones, OT (Southern Utah State)
  • 5-174: Dominique Robinson, EDGE (Miami, OH)
  • 6-186: Zach Thomas, OG (San Diego State)
  • 6-203: Trestan Ebner, RB (Baylor)
  • 6-207: Doug Kramer, C (Illinois)
  • 7-226: Ja’Tyre Carter, OG (Southern)
  • 7-254: Elijah Hicks, S (Cal)
  • 7-255: Trenton Gill, P (North Carolina State)

Make no mistake, Poles did an outstanding job with his first draft in Chicago. Given the limited draft capital he had to work with (six total picks), Poles should be applauded for his efforts in trading down. If these rankings took into account the trades and acquisition of additional picks, the Bears would be the top class— hands down. Just let that be said.

The Bears brought in three guys who will contribute right away. Gordon and Brisker are Day 1 starters in the secondary and Jones will immediately be a special-teams ace with a role on offense. Chicago’s next two picks are banking on some serious upside as Jones and Robinson have the physical tools that can be developed and turn these players into difference makers.

Kudos to Poles for giving this Bears team a handful of young linemen to work with as they rebuild the offensive line to his vision. Guys like Kramer, Thomas and Carter have potential and we’ll see if any of them can work their way into the starting lineup. The Bears now have flexibility upfront with a ton of competition that will lead to an improved product in 2022.

All of the players appear to be great fits in the Bears’ new culture, and they all bring something different to the table in that regard, like Kramer who is a natural leader and Hicks who will bring some serious energy to the locker room.

Oh, and they drafted a punter with their final pick. Gill has a real shot of winning that job, especially as he can handle kickoff duties too — letting Cairo Santos focus primarily on field goals.

CHGO Bears Draft Recap

2. Detroit Lions

The Picks:

  • 1-2: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE (Michigan)
  • 1-12: Jameson Williams, WR (Alabama)
  • 2-46: Joshua Paschal, EDGE (Kentucky)
  • 3-97: Kerby Joseph, S (Illinois)
  • 5-177: James Mitchell, TE (Virginia Tech)
  • 6-188: Malcolm Rodriguez, LB (Oklahoma State)
  • 6-217: James Houston, EDGE (Jackson State)
  • 7-237: Chase Lucas, CB (Arizona State)

The Lions perhaps brought in the division’s best two new players in Hutchinson and Williams. That weighs heavily in this ranking. Hutchinson is a front-runner for defensive rookie of the year, and the speedy Williams could end up as the best receiver in the entire draft if he returns back to form after his torn ACL.

Triple-dipping at EDGE was a smart move for a Lions team that struggled to get after quarterbacks. Paschal and Hutchinson could be a fearsome duo for some time, and Houston could develop to become a big piece of the rotation as well. Joseph can help out the back-end of their defense at safety.

1. Green Bay Packers

The Picks:

  • 1-22: Quay Walker, LB (Georgia)
  • 1-28: Devonte Wyatt, IDL (Georgia)
  • 2-34: Christian Watson, WR (NDSU)
  • 3-92: Sean Rhyan, OT (UCLA)
  • 4-132: Romeo Doubs, WR (Nevada)
  • 4-140: Zach Tom, OL (Wake Forest)
  • 5-179: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE (South Carolina)
  • 7-228: Tariq Carpenter, LB (Georgia Tech)
  • 7-234: Jonathan Ford, DT (Miami)
  • 7-249: Rasheed Walker, OT (Penn State)
  • 7-258: Samori Toure, WR (Nebraska)

Even though the Packers passed on wide receiver in the first round, and drafted the wrong Georgia linebacker, Green Bay’s draft class is quite sound. They fortified their front seven with the first two picks as Walker and Wyatt can be difference makers on defense.

Rhyan and Tom are players that can start on the Packers’ offensive line as they have some guys to replace. The fact that Green Bay was able to snag three different receivers with good size and speed just spells trouble for opposing defenses. Watson, despite being raw, has an extremely high ceiling that he could reach playing with Aaron Rodgers.

Just like the Bears, the Packers were able to make 11 picks in the draft. It appears the Packers were able to help Rodgers a little bit more than the Bears did Fields as Green Bay brought in three receivers to go along with some starting-caliber linemen.

Wrapping Up

As mentioned at the top, all of the NFC North draft classes appear to be very strong.

At the end of the day, each of the teams in the division got better and it’ll be interesting to watch it unfold over the next few years.

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