It's Draft Day folks, and finally we get to see who goes where. Be prepared to ooh and aah and cry a lot when your team does something incomprehensible.
The NFC North is in a good spot as a division. Each team is in a place where they can't screw the pick up. Well, they can screw it up, but they're all able to go in multiple directions, so they probably won't.
Each day before the round goes off, I'll offer you my thoughts on who each team will pick that day. I'll have a best and worst case scenario for each team and each pick.
So let's get this thing rolling.
Pick No. 3—Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have a ton of needs and a couple of really obvious possibilities and no, I don't buy the Justin Blackmon talk. That's a smokescreen in the hopes someone will trade up. Speaking of which...
Best Case Scenario: Trade
While I like Kalil, if the Vikings could get a good trade offer to move back just a little bit, I'd say that was the best case. While a franchise left tackle is always useful, it's not like trading back moves them away from an impact player. Plus there are other options—Riley Reiff, David DeCastro—for the offensive line.
If the Vikings could move back a little and pick up more picks, that would be ideal. There's plenty of talent in the first and they have plenty of holes.
Worst Case Scenario: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Heck of a worst case, huh? As I mentioned above, I don't buy the Blackmon hype. He's a very good wide receiver, but he's no Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green or even Julio Jones. He's not a guy you have to have. This is a deep receiver class—they'll have a good choice in the second round.
Morris Claiborne is a very real possibility and you need a good set of defensive backs, but he's not the franchise building block Kalil is. They need to protect Ponder. Kalil is the obvious pick if they can't trade.
Pick No. 19—Chicago Bears
The Bears will be interesting to watch with new GM Phil Emery talking about 'the Patriot Way'. Of course, the Pats Way involves a focus on later rounds, so we may not see a ton of it early. I don't expect a trade here though I don't rule it out.
Best Case Scenario: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
The Bears love them some defense, that's for sure. The Patriots Way has no problem with that, and Mercilus will step right in and have an impact rushing the passer. He's a little raw but more than makes up for it in is pure ability and smarts.
I have no worries about his transition into the Pro game game. I originally had David DeCastro here but I actually don't think he'll even be an option at 19 anymore.
Worst Case Scenario: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
I thought about this for a while, but some other options I liked—Michael Floyd for example—probably won't be available and the Bears could use an instinctive safety who has great ball skills, can tackle and knock tight ends and receivers off short routes as well.
Pick No. 23—Detroit Lions
The Lions are in a good spot as I believe there will be a lot of talent to choose from. As I mentioned yesterday, I had some discussions about whether the Lions pick for need. They do, that's my take and I feel fine with it.
That said, I probably wouldn't risk a trade like I did in the BR staff mock yesterday, which lost me the best case first pick.
Best Case Scenario: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Kirkpatrick would be a great pick here and an instant upgrade in the secondary. He can press, play zone and is a willing tackler. Kirkpatrick can make plays regardless of scheme and will do so against any of the top receivers in the NFC North.
I like Stephon Gilmore a lot as well, but Kirkpatrick is probably the bigger playmaker and also a guy who could move to safety if you needed him to. Versatility always wins out.
Worst Case Scenario: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Ah, the pick which got me booed and perhaps rightfully so. However, part of the flack I got for it in the review is, in my mind, incorrect. Offensive line is a need and if there were no worthy corners on the board and Martin was there—well the guy who keep Andrew Luck upright from the blindside is a pretty darn good pick.
Pick No. 28—Green Bay Packers
The Packers will just sort of wait here and let things come to them. With a dozen picks, they could trade up and I wouldn't be completely stunned if they did. Most of the time though, they let the board come to them because they have their list and it's unlike anything else in the NFL.
In Ted We Trust, indeed.
Best Case Scenario: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
What was just a murmur a few weeks ago is a high probability pick now. McClellin's non-stop motor and ability to play inside or out will make him an attractive pick for the Packers who need pass rushing help, especially across from Clay Matthews.
This might be a guy they'd be willing to trade up for. I really wouldn't be shocked.
By the way, don't sweat the concussion rumors from last week. Teams have had the tests for a while and it didn't bother anyone a week ago. Yes he had "one-and-a-half," as he claimed to The Idaho Statesman. No, it seems to be a non-issue.
Worst Case Scenario: Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson
Again, I caught flack for this in the BR mock yesterday and again, I can't disagree more strongly with the reasoning why.
Is he a bit raw? Yes. Is run defense his strongest suit? No. However he isn't bad in either of those things and both are aspects of his game which will improve quickly. Further, he can rush the passer and that is something Green Bay needs, badly.
To think Ted Thompson would pass on Branch because he can't stop the run is ludicrous. Can't stop the run? Can he stop the pass?
Then the Packers would take him.
I could also see them trading backwards into the early second and picking value there as well. In fact, that might be the true worst case scenario.