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Division-by-division look at each NFL team’s needs before the draft: NFC North

Teams have spent the past few weeks adding talent via free agency, but not all holes can be filled that way. Each team has some pressing needs remaining, and we’re going division-by-division to analyze those needs and perhaps figure out which directions teams are leaning heading into the draft.

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears

Positions needed: TE, G, CB, S, WR

Analysis: The Bears don’t have a first-round pick. They have two in the second, and then have to wait until pick No. 163 in the fifth round to select again. That’s not a lot of draft capital, and the Bears have multiple needs.

The Bears had the worst tight end situation in the league last season. Injuries were a factor. No Bears tight end reached 100 yards last season and Chicago had 395 yards total out of the position. Free-agent signee Jimmy Graham isn’t the same player he once was, so it wouldn’t be the worst idea for the Bears to draft another tight end. Retired Kyle Long needs to be replaced at right guard. The team doesn’t have a great option to replace cornerback Prince Amukamara or safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. There’s work to be done and the Bears have to do it with limited draft resources.

Detroit Lions

Positions needed: CB, G, C, EDGE, RB

Analysis: The third pick will be interesting. The Lions need cornerback help badly and Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah is an elite prospect. But teams will want to move up to No. 3 for a quarterback, whether it’s Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. Do the Lions take the trade bounty and move down in a trade, risking losing a blue-chip prospect at a position of need like Okudah? It’s a tough call. In the later rounds the team needs to work on the interior of its offensive line, especially after losing Graham Glasgow in free agency. Edge rushers are always useful and the Lions could use some running back insurance behind oft-injured Kerryon Johnson.

Green Bay Packers

Positions needed: WR, TE, OT, LB, CB

Analysis: It would have been fine to list WR three times and leave it at that. The Packers need help for Aaron Rodgers and weren’t aggressive in free agency to get it. Signing Devin Funchess wasn’t a terrible gamble, but the Packers need to come out of this draft with multiple pass catchers to take some heat off Davante Adams. Right tackle isn’t a sure thing after a downgrade from Bryan Bulaga to Rick Wagner, and Christian Kirksey’s injury means inside linebacker could get some attention too. But the one thing that could unlock a Super Bowl run from the Packers would be some more dynamic playmakers around Rodgers.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs some upgrades in the offense around him. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs some upgrades in the offense around him. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs some upgrades in the offense around him. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Minnesota Vikings

Positions needed: WR, DE, CB, OT, G

Analysis: This has not been a fun offseason for the Vikings. They had to make a lot of changes as salary-cap bills came due. Receiver became a big need after the Stefon Diggs trade. Everson Griffen is moving on as a free agent, cornerback Xavier Rhodes was cut and offensive line has been a work in progress for a while. Oh, and add safety to the list if franchise-tagged Anthony Harris is traded. The good news is the Vikings have an extra first-round pick (No. 22 from Buffalo in the Diggs trade), and additional picks in the third and sixth with two extra picks in the seventh. They need a few immediate contributors from this class.

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