The Packers used the 2013 NFL Draft to finally address the running back position and add a much-needed player on the defensive line. What were the Packers division opponents up to in the draft?
Well, two of them used fifth-round selections to take punters and another drafted an offensive lineman in the first round that most analysts pegged as a second or third rounder.
Those were a few of the moves that made people scratch their heads. But it wasn’t all bad in Vikings/Lions/Bears land. Let’s take a trip around the NFC North to see how the Packers’ rivals used the draft to (maybe) close the gap and challenge Green Bay for a division title in 2013.
1 — Sharrif Floyd, DT Florida
1 — Xaveir Rhodes, CB Florida State
1 — Cordarelle Patterson, WR Tennessee
4 — Gerald Hodges, LB Penn State
5 — Jeff Locke, P UCLA
6 — Jeff Baca, G UCLA
7 — Michael Mauti, LB Penn State
7 — Travis Bond, OG North Carolina
7 — Everett Dawkins, DT Floriday State
Just when it looked like the Vikings might be on the right track, they draft a punter in the fifth round. A punter! In the fifth round!
Ok, a fifth-round pick isn’t going to make or break a draft, but c’mon. A punter! In the fifth round!
Until that happened, the Vikings were doing some good things. At first glance, the trade to get a third first-round pick seemed like a horrible idea. Minnesota gave up a lot to move up and pick a receiver, a position you can usually fill later in the draft.
But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. How often do you have a chance to pick three players in the first round? Rarely. General manager Rick Spielman had some extra picks to work with so he was able to make the deal. When the draft was over, the Vikings still ended up with nine players, even after the trade. That’s a fair balance of using several picks to build depth and making a move that is risky, but could pay off.
Despite making the playoffs last season, the Vikings still need to be thinking long-term. I don’t think the trade altered that long-term mindset at all.
Sharrif Floyd is a tremendous value late in the first round. He was the best player on the board at that point in the night and will fill in nicely when Kevin Williams is likely gone after this season.
Xavier Rhodes and Cordarelle Patterson address immediate needs. The Vikings need all the help they can get in the secondary to try and contain the Packers and Lions passing attacks, especially with Antoine Winfield off the team. We all know how bad the Vikings receivers were last season. Any help in that area would be more than welcome.
Middle linebacker is probably the Vikings biggest remaining hole. They’re a little weak at guard as well (but with Adrian Peterson carrying the ball, who cares?). I also think safety leaves a lot to be desired despite Harrison Smith’s impressive rookie year.
The Vikings ran their 2013 draft the same way they run their organization: Make a big splash that may or may not work (trade) and do something really dumb that leaves people scratching their heads (punter in fifth round). Business as usual for the folks who like to wear golden braids and blow their own horns.
But if two of the Vikings three first-rounders develop into good players, watch out. Minnesota is stashing some interesting young players that could develop into blue-chippers.
1 — Ziggy Ansah, DE BYU
2 — Darius Slay, CB Mississippi State
3 — Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
4 — Devin Taylor, DE South Carolina
5 — Sam Martin, P Appalachian State
6 — Corey Fuller, WR Virginia Tech
6 — Theo Riddick, RB Notre Dame
7 — Michael Williams, TE Alabama
7 — Brandon Hepburn, LB Florida A&M
Because when you have an opportunity to draft a punter from Appalachian State in the fifth round, you have to do it…
I’ve been hearing for the last three years about how scary the Lions defensive line is. As soon as Ansah was picked, everyone once again started talking about how scary the Lions defensive line is.
Sure the Lions defensive line is good, but good enough to contain Aaron Rodgers and Adrian Peterson and make up for other deficiencies on the team? Nah.
Will the addition of Ansah change that answer from nay to yay? I don’t think so, but if he’s used right, he’ll have an impact. I don’t see Ansah as an every-down player, at least not right now. Put him out there as a pass-rusher in sub-packages for about 30 snaps per game and I think he’ll do some damage.
Thanks to the addition of Jason Jones and fourth-round pick Devin Taylor, the Lions defensive line may indeed become scary if managed correctly. Is Jim Schwartz capable of managing anything correctly?
Darius Slay has a knee injury that will probably linger into training camp. The Lions always need help in the secondary so you’d think they would avoid defensive backs with potential injury issues. Being 6-feet and possessing speed to run the 40 in 4.36 seconds goes a long way in helping teams get past injury concerns.
We know Jim Schwartz does a pretty good job of developing defensive linemen. Now it’s time to find out if he can develop anything else. With the right rotations on the defensive front, the line could go from good to great and maybe finally become as scary as everyone thinks they are.
1 — Kyle Long, G Oregon
2 — Jonathan Bostic, LB Florida
4 — Khaseem Greene, LB Rutgers
5 — Jordan Mills, T Louisiana Tech
6 — Cornelius Washington, DE Georgia
7 — Marquess Wilson, WR Washington State
All I’ve been hearing is how Kyle Long wasn’t a good “value” at 20th overall. I’ve got news for you: Coaches don’t care about value as it relates to draft position. They want guys who can play.
I think Long can play, and play right away. If you see a guy that you think can play and will be a good player, then pick him. Value be damned. I suppose you could try and trade down, but it takes two teams to trade. Perhaps the Bears didn’t like what was being offered.
I see Long playing guard right away, then one day moving to tackle or center because of his athleticism.
The Bears could always use help on the offensive line, but they’re biggest need is at linebacker after Brian Urlacher was shown the door. Jon Bostic should fill in nicely inside. In a perfect world, Khaseem Greene or Cornellius Washington will one day take over for Lance Briggs, but we’ll see if that actually pans out.
I’m surprised the Bears didn’t take a quarterback in the mid to late rounds. New coach Marc Trestman would have probably welcomed a development project and the Bears could use some insurance in case contract negotiations with Jay Cutler take a turn for the worst.
Are the Bears close to returning to the playoffs or are they in some type of rebuilding mode? The answer to that question depends on how Trestman and Cutler click, not so much on this draft class.
My gut tells me the Bears are rebuilding, but we’ll see.——————
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .