NFL Draft 2006: A Recap of the 2006 NFL Draft in the NFC North Division

Green Bay Packers- The Packers needed a significant amount of help in the 2006 NFL Draft on the defensive side of the ball and they were able to get some quality picks in the first couple of rounds of the NFL Draft. Rookie linebackers A.J. Hawk and Abdul Hodge, along with current middle linebacker Nick Barnett, should grow together over the next decade into a great corps of NFL linebackers. Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson was able to get great value in the second round by trading Javon Walker (who wouldn’t play for the Packers again anyway) for a second round NFL Draft pick from the Denver Broncos which they parlayed into several later round picks. The twelve NFL Draft picks that the Packers had this weekend will provide depth for years to come. Receivers Greg Jennings and Cory Rodgers, along with cornerback Will Blackmun, appear to solve their problems in the return game while giving them depth at crucial skill positions on both offense and defense. The 2006 NFL draft was a good one for the Packers.
2006 NFL Draft Grade-B+

Minnesota Vikings- The one major need that the Vikings had in the 2006 NFL Draft was a young quarterback to mold under head coach Brad Childress’ tutelage. While Brad Johnson provides a stop gap for the next year, Childress’ offensive tendencies will lead to yearning for a talented young quarterback. Second round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft for the Vikings, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, is talented and has great potential but is nowhere near being ready for action this year or in the 2007 NFL campaign. It seems that the Vikings could have moved up to get Matt Leinart or moved down to take someone like Kellen Clemens who is more polished. This would have made their first round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, linebacker Chad Greenway, more sensible considering that his NFL draft position was more likely in the late first or early second round. Overall, it seems that the Vikings overreached on several positions in this draft (Ryan Cook in the second round is about a round too early) and didn’t assuage the concerns of replacing Dante Culpepper for the 2006 NFL season.
2006 NFL Draft Grade: C-

Chicago Bears- The 2006 NFL Draft strategy for the Chicago Bears is peculiar in hind sight. The Bears did not have a first round pick and their two second round picks went toward adding depth to their secondary with Danieal Manning and Devin Hester at cornerback. The rest of their draft consisted of adding defensive depth on the line and in the secondary, while ignoring offensive concerns. One has to wonder whether the Bears brain trust knows that their defense is already one of the best in the league, is still relatively young, and their offense is too inconsistent to make them contenders in the 2006 NFL season. The 2006 NFL Draft was one of solidifying the already overwhelming defense while eschewing concerns on the offensive line or in the offensive backfield.
2006 NFL Draft Grade: C

Detroit Lions- In the Matt Millen era in the Motor City, it has been rare to laud the Detroit Lions for any of the moves they have made in the NFL offseason. But the 2006 NFL Draft may be the turning point for this franchise. First round pick, linebacker Ernie Sims, was a great value pick at number nine and will be a great defensive leader in the future. The porous Lions secondary was solidified by the drafting of safety Daniel Bullocks in the second round, addressing an issue of concern in the 2006 NFL Draft for the Lions. Concerns over running back Brian Calhoun’s size and durability allowed him to slip into the third round and the Detroit Lions get a potentially strong and versatile NFL back. The Lions, without the onus of proving Joey Harrington as a franchise quarterback, can get back to the running game and strong defense to contend in the NFC North.
2006 NFL Draft Grade: A-

2006 NFL Draft Division Winner- The Detroit Lions edge out the Green Bay Packers for the draft crown in the NFC North division in the 2006 NFL Draft. Their additions will provide depth at key areas and their defense gets instantly better with Sims’ presence.

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