2019 NFL Draft
NFC North 2019 NFL Draft grades are up and ready to go. Apparently, the Lions failed to learn from the Eric Ebron mistake. That’s why they are the Lions (Andy Lyons/Getty)

5 down, 3 more to go. We continue the 2019 NFL Draft grades. This time it’s time to evaluate the NFC North division. The Bears were a surprise winner last year but they have a ton of defensive talent. The Packers and Vikings will look to rebound in 2019. The Lions? Well, they are the Lions. Let’s hand out 2019 NFL Draft grades for the NFC North!

Chicago Bears: Grade INCOMPLETE

  • Round 3, Pick 10 (No. 73 overall): David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
  • Round 4, Pick 24 (No. 126 overall): Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
  • Round 6, Pick 33 (No. 205 overall): Duke Shelley, CB, Kansas St.
  • Round 7, Pick 8 (No. 222 overall, via Denver): Kerrith Whyte, RB, Florida Atlantic
  • Round 7, Pick 24 (No. 238 overall): Stephen Denmark, CB, Valdosta St.

There’s no rational way to like this draft class from the Bears. I don’t know how what the best way to factor in the Khalil Mack trade in. On one hand, it’s great the Bears landed him. No question. On the other hand, was it really worth losing an entire draft class? I don’t understand the point of the David Montgomery pick. Chicago just handed all this money to Mike Davis and built an entire offense around Tarik Cohen. To use the highest pick they have on a running back just might go down as one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. I do like the Riley Ridley pick, but does it really matter when you have a quarterback that flat out sucks? I’m not even going to bother grading this draft. It just is what it is.

Detroit Lions: Grade F

  • Round 1, Pick 8 (No. 8 overall): T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
  • Round 2, Pick 11 (No. 43 overall): Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii
  • Round 3, Pick 17 (No. 81 overall): Will Harris, S, Boston College
  • Round 4, Pick 15 (No. 117 overall): Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson
  • Round 5, Pick 8 (No. 146 overall): Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
  • Round 6, Pick 11 (No. 184 overall): Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion
  • Round 6, Pick 13 (No. 186 overall): Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland
  • Round 7, Pick 10 (No. 224 overall): Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia
  • Round 7, Pick 15 (No. 229 overall): PJ Johnson, DT, Arizona

When you make mistakes, learn from them. Well, the Lions never got the memo. In 2014, the Lions drafted Eric Ebron with a top ten pick in the draft. Detroit never figured out how to use him and flamed off the roster. Of course, Ebron found success with the Colts but it still goes down as a failed pick for Detroit. The Lions just repeated that mistake. This time, they did it with a less athletic version of Ebron. Using a top 10 pick on a tight end to begin with is an awful idea. To use on for an in line blocking tight end is down right laughable. Maybe Hockenson is better than I think he is. Fine… I can still promise you that he isn’t the 8th best or most valuable player in the draft. No chance.

Also, who the hell is this Hawaii linebacker? I’ve been studying the draft for months. Never once heard of the guy. I can’t imagine any other team was taking this guy before round 5. Typical Lions bullshit.

I did like the Will Harris, Austin Bryant, and Amani Oruwariye picks. However, by that time the Lions had already royally f*cked everything else up.

Green Bay Packers: Grade B

  • Round 1, Pick 12: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
  • Round 1, Pick 21: Darnell Savage, S, Maryland
  • Round 2, Pick 12 (No. 44 overall): Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State
  • Round 3, Pick 11 (No. 75 overall): Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M
  • Round 5, Pick 12 (No. 150 overall): Kingsley Keke, DE, Texas A&M
  • Round 6, Pick 12 (No. 185 overall): Ka’dar Hollman, CB, Toledo
  • Round 6, Pick 22 (No. 194 overall): Dexter Williams, RB, Notre Dame
  • Round 7, Pick 12 (No. 226 overall): Ty Summers, LB, Texas Christian

This draft could easily be an A. I’m just being a little cautious because the Packers took some big swings. Admirably swings, but risky ones nevertheless. Rashan Gary is an athletic freak. He also did virtually nothing in college. Gary is a true boom or bust pick but could totally change the outlook of the Packers defensive front. Darnell Savage is also a big swing. It’s one the Packers basically got for free in the trade down with the Saints last year. I really like Savage. He had a hell of a Senior Bowl and comes with great athletic traits. Still, at the end of the day, you’re rolling the dice on a safety from Maryland. Risky but admirable risks.

Elgton Jenkins shouldn’t be that risky. He’s a plug and play day one center. No complaints right there. He’s a great value too who could easily be the best center in the draft. Jace Sternberger is a nice project to mold at tight end. If he flourishes at the long term replacement for Jimmy Graham, that’s fantastic. Sternberger is a big target who has potential. He’s definitely no sure thing who was playing at Junior College not too long ago. It was a nice draft for Green Bay. One to be optimistic about. One that could also turn into a disaster two years from now.

2019 NFL Draft
The Vikings draft offensive linemen! Check. They also over drafted Garrett Bradbury in the process (Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune via AP)

Minnesota Vikings: Grade C+

  • Round 1, Pick 18 (No. 18 overall): Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
  • Round 2, Pick 18 (No. 50 overall): Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
  • Round 3, Pick 38 (No. 102 overall): Alexander Mattison, RB, Boise State
  • Round 4, Pick 12 (No. 114 overall): Dru Samia, G, Oklahoma
  • Round 5, Pick 24 (No. 162 overall): Cameron Smith, LB, USC
  • Round 6, Pick 17 (No. 190 overall): Armon Watts, DT, Arkansas
  • Round 6, Pick 18 (No. 191 overall): Marcus Epps, S, Wyoming
  • Round 6, Pick 20 (No. 193 overall): Olisaemeka Udoh, T, Elon
  • Round 7, Pick 3 (No. 217 overall): Kris Boyd, CB, Texas
  • Round 7, Pick 25 (No. 239): Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon 
  • Round 7, Pick 33 (No. 247 overall): Olabisi Johnson, WR, Colorado St.
  • Round 7, Pick 36 (No. 250 overall): Austin Cutting, LS, Air Force

This grade only gets a C+ for the sole fact that I love Irv Smith. I’ve said it before, I think the guy is a home run tight end for the next decade. To land him at pick 50 might go down as the steal of the draft. The rest of the draft was just average. That’s probably being generous.

Garrett Bradbury at 18 is a big reach. Let’s stop pretending like Bradbury is this all-world center talent. He was so so at the Senior Bowl and never wowed me at NC State. I’ll give the Vikings this. They needed offensive linemen and Bradbury is a great scheme fit in the zone running style. I’m just not sure that he’s significantly better than Pat Elflein who the Vikings missed on last year.

Again, don’t ask me why teams are reaching for running backs in round 3. The Vikings have Dalvin Cook. Use a 6th round pick on the backup spot. NOPE… Instead, the Vikings use a 3rd round pick on the Boise State back. Give me a break. Elijah Holyfield went undrafted. I’ll bet pretty much anything that the two are at least comparable in the NFL. It’s a wasted pick.

Some of the picks I can live with. Adding Dru Samia was important. Cam Smith probably factors in at linebacker somehow. Oli Udoh was a nice gamble late in the draft. The Vikings still missed on some opportunities to give this draft a grade of anything more than average.