Epic Carnival | Where Sports and Pop Culture Collide: OPTIMIST/PESSIMIST - THE NFC NORTH DRAFT CLASS

OPTIMIST/PESSIMIST - THE NFC NORTH DRAFT CLASS

by Zac, Throwing Into Traffic

Chicago Bears:

OPTIMIST:

The best way to improve shaky quarterbacking quickly is by not paying immediate attention to the quarterback position in the draft (CUE ZEN GONG HERE). The fact of the matter is that Rex Grossman, though awful last season, was not entirely to blame for his failings. Cedric Benson forgot what positive yardage looks like, Bernard Berrian was the only receiver even trying, and, perhaps most importantly, Rex was seeing more pressure in the pocket than he had been used to the season before. So, instead of making the panic move and reaching for a quarterback in the first or second rounds, Chicago played it conservative, taking a talented pass blocker in Chris Williams and a talented between the tackles back in Matt Forte. Also likely to help out Sexy Rexy’s (or…Mild Kyle?) woes are a pair of WRs comprised of sneaky Vanderbilt grad Earl Bennett, and potential steal of the draft Marcus Monk, who’s combination of size and speed will leave teams regretting having left him on the board until the seventh round.

PESSIMIST:

Great, except here’s the problem with the way the Bears chose to address their quarterback issue: As a rule, when you hear hoof beats, you don’t think “Zebras!”; you think “Horses!” Having added seven picks worth of support for their signal callers, I’m betting that the Bears are going to be disappointed when they don’t see striped animals coming around the bend, and are instead left with the unpleasant realization that everyone else seems to already know: Their quarterbacking was terrible last year because their quarterbacks are terrible (Gonnnngggggggggg….), and fixing the deck chairs won’t save their sinking ship under center.

Minnesota Vikings:

OPTIMIST:

I’m a sucker for teams that cut through all the shiny talk about “value” and focus on finding the most effective means by which they can use the draft to fill needs. The Vikings did just that with the Jared Allen trade, forfeiting the bulk of their draft picks in order to obtain the leagues best pass rushing defensive end. Say what you want about building for the future, but this is the kind of big move that can launch a team that barely missed the playoffs to the next level. Considering that they also picked up a first round caliber safety in the second round and added more competition to their weakest DB positions, this team is going to have a scary defense complimenting the best ground game in the league, along with a developing QB who has shown flashes of brilliance (albeit amidst a consistent glow of total suckitude)

PESSIMIST:

And hey, why not take a chance on a guy who has already shown a lack of judgment when he gets drunk by putting him in one of the coldest, most isolated locales in the league? Worked out great for Koren Robinson, right? The thing is that if this trade doesn’t work out, the Vikings have pretty much forfeited the next several years thanks to the huge monetary commitment they’ve made to Allen and the draft picks they sent to the Chiefs. Oh, and let’s also make this very, very clear for delusional Vikings fans who think that your team is somehow not a less exciting, less talented version of the 2006 Bears: Tavaris Jackson is going to make Bernard Berrian long for the pinpoint accuracy of Rex Grossman.

Detroit Lions:

OPTIMIST:

I don’t know if Matt Millen was bound and gagged in a closet, on a pee break, or had just gotten lost in the hallways, but somehow someone in that Lions war room snuck in an offensive lineman as a first round draft pick. Even more intriguing is the fact that Gosder Cherilus has been able to play multiple positions on the line in college, which means that the team now has some versatility at what has been a tragic flaw on what people keep expecting to be an elite offense. Furthermore, the defensive middle recovered some of the ground lost in the Shaun Rogers trade with the acquisitions of speedy LB Jordon Dizon and underrated DT Andre Fluellen. And then there’s Kevin Smith, America’s favorite self promoting webmaster that can run a football. After a year of Tatum Bell, TJ Duckett, and Kevin Jones, Smith is the kind of bruising back that will give legitimacy to an otherwise one-dimensional offense, and he has the body of work to prove his worth.

PESSIMIST:

Ooooooh, a star running back from Central Florida. Who’d he have his biggest game against? The North Tampa Academy for the Deaf and Blind? Smith failed to show up against quality competition (55 yards against USF is not a good showing), and only put up major yardage against the kind of defense he’s unlikely to see at the pro level (the fact that UAB even has a football team constitutes my “thing I learned today”). Oh, and maybe I’m wrong about Millen not being behind the Gosder pick, because somehow the Lions thought it was a good idea to trade out of a spot where you can pick a high value, high talent offensive lineman and instead pick one that everyone and their brother expected to last until the second round. Oh, and in case you’re concerned, they still managed to fill that perpetual lack of wide receivers by picking one up in the fifth round. Seriously, it’s like they do it for comic relief at this point.

Green Bay Packers:

OPTIMIST:

Let’s face facts: Aaron Rodgers has the least enviable job in football right now. So it’s not surprising that the Packers decided to pick up some insurance in the form of QB Brian Brohm in the second round…and again in the form of QB Matt Flynn in the fifth. Some would call it overkill, but this is a young team that was a bad pass away from the Super Bowl, and it’s understandable that the Packers would be desperate to have options so that, should their first choice fail, they can plug someone in to keep things moving. Adding corner Patrick Lee is another good decision, considering that both corners are showing some wear and tear, and TE Jermichael Finley has the upside to add yet ANOTHER passing option, making the aerial attack an embarrassment of riches. In other words, the team seems smartly focused on not losing the ground they’ve worked so hard to gain, which is a great call considering where they left it last year.

PESSIMIST:

I think I’ll let Aaron Rodgers do the talking here…

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