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Three needs for each team heading into free agency: NFC North


By: Ethan Ricker

Green Bay Packers (13-3)

1. Cornerback

In the NFC championship game, the Packers corners had struggled mightily even though the secondary had three interceptions, with Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan both respectively having the worst games of the season in the NFC championship, and Green Bay close to the cap, don’t be expected if they aren’t back next season. Cornerback one, Jaire Alexander, has blossomed into the shutdown corner Green Bay has hoped for when they took him in the first round of the 2018 draft, but Alexander now needs a new running mate next to him next year. Look for the Packers to go after a corner in free agency or in the draft this offseason.

2. Wide Receiver

Davante Adams put up video game numbers this season, having 115 receptions 1374 yards and 18 touchdowns in only 14 games, but after Adams the Packers had a huge problem. The next leading receiver for the Packers was Marquez Valdes Scantling who had troubles catching the ball at times, 33 receptions 690 yards and six touchdowns. Look for the Packers to look at free agents T.Y. Hilton and Will Fuller V or in the draft.

3. Interior D-Line

The Packers again had a bad season against the run, giving up more yards before contact per carry (1.8) than any team other than the Cowboys. Kenny Clark and Zadarius Smith both finished in the top 30 against the run, but they can’t do it all. Look for the Packers to go after a defensive lineman, like a potential reunion with Damon “Snacks” Harrison.

Chicago Bears (8-8)

1. Quarterback

If there’s something that we know for certain, it’s that the Trubisky experiment has not worked at all, and neither has the Nick Foles one either. The Bears need to find their quarterback of the future this offseason, if Mac Jones is still available at 20, that could be a route the team goes.

2. Offensive Line

Starting guards Germain Ifedi and Alex Bars are both free agents, while starting tackles Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie weren’t anything particularly special this past season. The group as a whole finished as the 20th best ranked offensive line according to PFF. The Bears have only drafted three offensive linemen in the first four rounds of the draft since 2013.

3. Wide Receiver

Superstar wide receiver Allen Robinson has said that he has ‘zero plans’ to sign his franchise tag. So where does this leave the Bears? Rookie receiver Darnell Mooney showed some promise in his first year, but the Bears will most likely look to the draft to get their Allen Robinson replacement, Rashod Bateman would be a very enticing option for the Bears if he were available at 20.

Minnesota Vikings (7-5)

1. Offensive Line

Left guard Dakota Dozier is a free agent, and this offensive line needs improvement fast. Starting right guard,Dru Samia, ending up with an 18.7 PFF pass-blocking grade and Garrett Bradbury was a little better at center (38.8), meaning the entire interior could use an upgrade. Look for the Vikings to address their offensive line in the draft with someone like Alijah Vera-Tucker.

2. Secondary

The Vikings secondary was abysmal last season, ranking 28th and 30th in yards per attempt finishing 26th in the league and will probably have to replace starting free safety Anthony Harris. Look for the Vikings to go after a cheap option to replace Harris like Damarious Randall or Tre Boston.

3. Defensive End

With reports coming out that star defensive end Danielle Hunter isn’t happy with his contract situation and could potentially want out. The Vikings saw how awful their pass rush was without Hunter, and now they might not even have him either. Look for the Vikings to potentially target a defensive end early in the draft like Gregory Rousseau or Kwity Paye.

Detroit Lions (5-11)

1. Wide Receiver

As of right now, the only wide receivers on the Lions are newly signed Tyrell Williams, second-year man Quintez Cephus, Victor Bolden and Tom Kennedy. After the Lions didn’t use the franchise tag on star receiver Kenny Golladay, it’s safe to say that his career in Detroit is virtually over, as well as the team's leading receiver last season Marvin Jones Jr. and slot receiver Danny Amendola. Look for the Lions to go after some cheaper options in free agency and as well in the draft.

2. Safety

The Lions finished 29th in the NFL last season against the pass, giving up the most touchdowns in the league with 38, and finishing 31st in interceptions. There is a case to be made here that this should be cornerback, but the Lions used the third overall pick to select Jeff Okudah last year, so we felt like this should be safety instead as starting safeties Duron Harmon and Tracy Walker were not too good last season. The Lions could potentially look at Robert Alford or Lamarcus Joyner as a cheaper veteran option.

3. Linebacker

With Jarrad Davis going to sign with the Jets, the Lions are left with Jahlani Tavai, who barely saw the field last season. Look for the Lions to potentially go after a linebacker early in the draft, like Penn State stud Micah Parsons.


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