2012 NFL Draft Grades for Every NFC North Team

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Grading a draft right after things close down at Radio City Music Hall is a tricky process.

The truth is that it will be about three to five years before we can truly judge how well the players fit in, where they should have been drafted or whether they should have been drafted at all.

Sometimes we don’t see an impact beyond the first-round pick for some time. Sometimes, as in the New York Giants Super Bowl in 2008, rookies from all over the draft class have a big impact.

It varies, and that makes this tricky.

What we can do is look at what the teams needed and what they did to address those needs, as well as what value the players appear to be right now.

Overall, this draft was a very good one for the division as a whole.

The Vikings (Grade: B+) did a great job of filling needs and while I might not have liked them moving back into the first for safety Harrison Smith, they did a great job late picking up defensive players Audie Cole and Trevor Guyton, both of whom I feel can be starters.

I was a little disappointed, though not surprised, that the Bears (Grade: B-) went the whole draft without addressing the offensive line need that so many of us see.

They didn’t, however, which makes it a bit hard to grade. In the end, I dinged them a little for it, as not even grabbing a depth player makes me concerned for this team long term.

I do love the Shea McClellin and Alshon Jeffery picks, and the corners picked late were decent values as well.

It will be some time before I can wrap my head around the Lions (Grade: B-) picking up a receiver in the second given their current group and the very real need for secondary help.

The picks, in and of themselves are fine—although I am not a big Bentley fan—but the value of them vs. need is shaky. I’m definitely not one to completely get on a team for taking value over need, but there were some good defensive backs available and the drop to Bentley from them is noticeable.

The Tahir Whitehead pick was another head-scratcher, especially trading up for him.

Finally the Packers (Grade: B) did a fantastic job here as they always do. Ted Thompson did a great job of letting value drop to him while using the wealth of picks to move up a little when they saw someone they loved. So much of it was defense that you knew they took last year seriously. 

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