Well, folks, the exit polls have all been tabulated and the Chicago Bears are receiving almost universally very high marks for their 2021 draft class.
Now we wait at least two, maybe three, years to see if they were deserved.
In the meantime, what happened to the rest of the NFC North and how worried should Bears fans be about how much better the rest of the division might have gotten?
Green Bay Packers: B-
Lost in all the hoopla around Aaron Rodgers might be general manager Brian Gutekunst’s efforts to fortify his offensive line and get his QB some more weapons.
In part that’s because in the first round he went cornerback. While Georgia’s Eric Stokes is a great traits guy and might have been the best corner on the board, some preferred Georgia’s other corner, Tyson Campbell, more, and neither was close to the best football player on the board.
Ohio State has become a center factory and Josh Meyers is a plug-and-play guy who could captain that line for the next 10 years, while guard Royce Newman and tackle Cole Van Lanen are developmental players who may prove to be more depth than quality.
The “other” Rodgers, Amari could be in the slot the very first time the Packers go three wide this season and is potentially a steal at 86th overall.
I’m not optimistic about DT Tedarrell Slaton, who I had a round to a round and a half below Khyiris Tonga ,who the Bears got in the seventh round. The ceiling for CB Shemar Jean-Charles is probably a No. 3 or 4.
LB Isaiah McDuffie is intriguing but there are reasons he was there at the back of the sixth round, while RB Kylin Hill could step right into the A.J. Dillon role as Dillon moves up to Jamaal Williams’ old spot.
Minnesota Vikings: B-
I’m going to ignore the Justin Fields talk because it’s all speculation as to what he would have cost the Vikings and whether they could have made it happen.
Trading back to get Christian Darrisaw at 23rd overall and snagging two third rounders was excellent value for the 14th pick, although I liked Alijah Vera-Tucker, who the Jets took with the 14th pick, a lot better.
QB Kellen Mond at 66th overall is a real reach, especially with Davis Mills still on the board, but the other three third-round picks – LB Chazz Surratt, OG Wyatt Davis and DE Patrick Jones II – are all very good value, with pretty high ceilings for Surratt and Davis.
RB Kene Nwangwu has a really high ceiling as a kick returner but was never good enough to start in the backfield at Iowa State.
Florida State DE Jamarius Robinson is a fascinating traits guy, well worth a gamble but possibly not as high as they took him. CB Camryn Bynum, WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (another kick returner) and DT Jaylen Twyman are all nice college football players who may or may not have what it takes to compete on the second half of the roster.
TE Zach Davidson out of FCS Central Missouri was a huge reach in the fifth round.
Detroit Lions: A-
Assuming new general manager Brad Holmes is rebuilding, I love the first three picks.
I have left tackle Penei Sewell as the second best prospect overall in this draft and they got him at seven. And in one of the weakest groups at defensive tackle we’ve seen in years, they got the second and third best prospects in Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill.
I’m sure Jim Finks is smiling up there.
I also think Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu is an absolute steal at No. 102 although he may prove to be better at safety. USC wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown comes with a variety of pluses and minuses but was great value near the top of the fourth round and could very well be their Week 1 starter in the slot.
LB Derrick Barnes, taken one pick after St. Brown, can play inside or out, but he fits best inside. While he has limitations, he was highly productive at Purdue.
Jermar Jefferson is a player many thought the Bears might target, although I like Khalil Herbert better even if he was a full round more expensive.
Source: The Daily Chronicle