Team Needs: NFC North

CHICAGO BEARS:

Mitchell Trubisky regressed last year, so the Bears traded for Nick Foles to push him. David Montgomery will shoulder the workload on the ground, with Tarik Cohen rotating in for passing downs. The Bears have a number-one receiver in Allen Robinson, but behind him they’re thin. Anthony Miller is probably worth trying to develop further, but unless they’re expecting Riley Ridley to break out after a very limited 2019 season, they should probably try to upgrade at the other boundary spot, as Javon Wims and Cordarrelle Patterson are not starting material. Trey Burton played very poorly at tight end last year before landing on injured reserve, so Chicago also brought in JImmy Graham to compete with him; Graham struggled in 2019 as well. The offensive line is a disaster. Only left guard James Daniels was even serviceable last year, so although they brought in Germain Ifedi to compete for a starting role, they still have low-end starters at the other positions, from left tackle (Charles Leno) to center (Cody Whitehair) to right guard (ifedi) to right tackle (Bobby Massie).

Eddie Goldman is a solid nose tackle, but the team doesn’t have much else on the defensive line. Akiem Hicks played well as defensive tackle on the team’s three-man lines, but was limited to less than 200 snaps last year, while no other players in the mix have proven themselves starting-caliber. Things look good at linebacker, where Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn are the team’s primary and secondary rushers, and they have Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith on the inside; it’s worth mentioning that Smith really struggled last year, but they should be willing to give him a chance to rebound. They could really use help at cornerback, where Kyle Fuller played poorly; they signed Artie Burns to play opposite him, but Burns wasn’t good in 2019 either. Eddie Jackson is just serviceable as a safety, and the team will be hoping Deon Bush can start opposite him, although he’s played less than sixty snaps on defense last year.

Top Needs: WR, OL, DL, CB, DB

Expiring Contracts: QB Mitchell Trubisky, RB Tarik Cohen, WR Allen Robinson, WR Cordarrelle Patterson

DETROIT LIONS:

The Lions are pretty loaded at the skill positions on offense – they have a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford, a promising if injury-prone running back in Kerryon Johnson, three solid receivers in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and Danny Amendola, and a 2019 first-round pick in T.J. Hockenson at tight end. They have two good tackles, one of them just signed for $50 million, and a solid center as well. In other words, it would be surprising for them to use a high pick on offense unless they select a guard to replace one of their two low-end starters, unless they see Halapoulivaati Vaitai as a guard, in which case they could use a right tackle.

Defensively, things look messier. They signed a nose tackle in Danny Shelton, and have a primary pass-rusher in Trey Flowers, but the rest of their options struggled, so they should try to improve on the likes of Romeo Okwara at defensive end, or Nick Williams/John Atkins at defensive tackle. They signed Jamie Collins and Reggie Ragland to join Jahlani Tavai at linebacker, so they may be comfortable with those, even if Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones were terrible in starting roles last year. They signed Desmond Trufant to replace Darius Slay at cornerback, but need Justin Coleman to rebound after a poor 2019. It’s possible they could try using Amani Oruwariye opposite Trufant, with Coleman playing in the slot. Duron Harmon and Tracy Walker form a solid safety duo, with Jayron Kearse looking like a potential replacement for Tavon Wilson as the third safety.

Top Needs: OG, DT, DE, CB

Expiring Contracts: WR Kenny Golladay, WR Marvin Jones, OT Taylor Decker, DE Romeo Okwara, LB Jarrad Davis

GREEN BAY PACKERS:

Offensively, the Packers have few needs; most pressing is for a wide receiver to complement Davante Adams, although they did sign Devin Funchess to a cheap one-year deal, and he’s probably better than the other players they have on roster (to be fair, Allen Lazard flashed as well.) Marcedes Lewis somehow resurrected his career at tight end, and they used a third-round pick on Jace Sternberger last year to groom behind him, although he struggled. The left side of their line – David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, and Corey Linsley – worked well, and they signed Ricky Wagner to play right tackle. The main liability is thus Billy Turner, the team’s right guard.

Only one of the three defensive line positions can be said to be filled – that’s nose tackle, where they play Kenny Clark. Other than that, Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster are more like depth options than starting-caliber defensive linemen. Green Bay invested heavily on the edge last year, with Za’Darius Smith working out well. Preston Smith was a little bit uneven, and Rashan Gary struggled over limited snaps, but that position grouping looks set to continue for at least one more year. They just signed Christian Kirksey to play next to Oren Burks – neither played too well, but presumably that’s what they want for 2020. At cornerback, they have a top option in Jaire Alexander, and are probably hoping either Kevin King or Josh Jackson can hold down the other spot. They will probably also stay put at safety, where Adrian Amons and Darnell Savage were big investments last year.

Top Needs: WR, OG, DL, CB

Expiring Contracts: RB Aaron Jones, RB Jamaal Williams, OT David Bakhtiari, OC Corey Linsley, DT Kenny Clark, CB Kevin King

MINNESOTA VIKINGS:

The Vikings should be pretty confident about their offensive skill positions. Kirk Cousins is their franchise quarterback, and they have a strong running back in Dalvin Cook and a top receiver in Adam Thielen. They lost Stefon Diggs and only replaced him with Tajae Sharpe, a pretty solid receiver but nothing near Diggs as a playmaker. They’re invested in Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith at tight end, and that looks like a pretty solid duo. The line is another story, however; while tackles Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill are both capable, the interior really struggled to protect Cousins last year. The weakest link is right guard Dru Samia; 2019 first-rounder Garrett Bradbury will get another starting opportunity, but Pat Elflein could be replaced at left guard.

The defensive line looks pretty good, with a stout nose tackle in Michael Pierce and a primary pass-rusher in Danielle Hunter. They haven’t re-signed Everson Griffen, but that may be because they saw enough from Ifeadi Odenigbo’s 400+ snaps that they are confident in his ability to replace Griffen. However, they really need a defensive tackle to play net to Pierce; that looks like a major need. Eric Kendricks played well at middle linebacker, but Anthony Barr fell off last year and they don’t have a weakside linebacker, either. Despite having traditionally invested a lot in cornerback, with Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander leaving, they really only have Mike Hughes, and he hasn’t proven himself a reliable starter yet. Fortunately, Minnesota has one of the best safety duos in the league, so they can ignore that position.

Top Needs: WR, OG, DT, DE, OLB, CB

Expiring Contracts: RB Dalvin Cook, OG Pat Elflein

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