NFC North Season Preview
Green Bay Packers
The Packers are bringing back most of the core that led them to the NFC Championship game last year. However, they also made some head scratching moves this past offseason. Particularly during the draft where instead of improving the defense, the Packers decided to draft Aaron Rodgers’ projected replacement in Utah State’s Jordan Love. Then in the second round, they drafted the replacement to 25-year-old running back Aaron Jones by selecting A.J. Dillon out of Boston College.
Whether or not these moves will pay off for the team in the future will be answered another day, but for this season the Packers look relatively the same. They made minor moves on the defensive side of the ball replacing linebacker Blake Martinez with Christian Kirksey and letting go of cornerback Tramon Williams.
Despite the lack of moves made, the team the Packers are returning is still capable of winning this division and definitely capable of making the playoffs.
The foreseeable conclusion of the Stefon Diggs drama creates questions at receiver for the first time in a long time for Minnesota as Diggs heads to Buffalo. The Vikings addressed that need at receiver by grabbing LSU’s Justin Jefferson towards the end of the first round. They also signed free agent Tajae Sharpe after an up and down four years in Tennessee.
The Vikings parted ways with several big names on defense including Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph and Xavier Rhodes. They brought in Anthony Zettel and Michael Pierce to fill those holes on the defensive line, in addition to drafting TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney in the first round to replace Rhodes.
This is a slightly different Minnesota team from years past, but with Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen still around they should still be strong contenders for the division.
After being one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL last year, the Bears parted ways with most of their defensive depth. Linebackers Aaron Lynch, Leonard Floyd and Nick Kwiatkoski are all gone and Barkevious Mingo was the only player signed to replace those three.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Bears are choosing to stick with quarterback Mitch Trubisky for the time being even after trading for Nick Foles. Offensive weapons Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton who were both signed before the Bears’ 2018 playoff appearance were essentially replaced with veterans Ted Ginn Jr. and Jimmy Graham.
Chicago is going in the complete opposite direction from where they were poised to go after winning the division in 2018 and it’ll likely continue to go downhill from here.
As per usual, the Lions’ biggest signing of the offseason was stealing a former New England Patriot. This year's winner was linebacker Jamie Collins as he inked a three year $30 million contract following a breakout season during his second stint as a Patriot.
The Lions also finally decided to trade star cornerback Darius Slay as they sent him to the Philadelphia Eagles and drafted his replacement in the first round with Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah. In the second round, the Lions added depth at running back by taking Georgia’s D’Andre Swift, providing competition for the often injured Kerryon Johnson.
For the most part, this looks like a very similar Lions team for the new season which is not good news for Detroit fans.
Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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