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High-Profile QBs Put Spotlight on NFC North

NFC North
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the 2024 NFL Draft is in the books, and every team in the NFC North added fresh talent to their roster.

The NFC North as a whole made seven picks on the first night of the draft in Detroit, ranging from the No. 1 overall all the way down to 25th pick. We saw the flashiness of a couple teams drafting their franchise quarterbacks of the future, along with a few picks that may not have been flashy, but filled positional needs. So, let's get into who they picked, why they picked them and what can we expect in the coming days ahead.

Chicago Bears

Coming into the draft, the Bears, along with pretty much the entire country, knew exactly who they were taking at No. 1 overall—Caleb Williams. The quarterback from USC has every tool you could dream of for a modern day quarterback. I'm sure you've already heard it a million times, but he truly is the only player in recent memory who looks like Patrick Mahomes (who in my and many's opinion is the most talented quarterback ever). Now, after all the offseason debate on who should be the quarterback of the future in Chicago, Williams has officially arrived.

Although Williams is the pick that will get most of the attention in Chicago and across the league, we can't forget about Rome Odunze at No. 9. The wide receiver out of Washington was the most consistent receiver in the class, and although he may not be quite as explosive as his counterparts (Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers), he could've easily been the first receiver off the board in many years. The Bears have successfully added their franchise quarterback and gotten him a high-end weapon for years to come.

All in all, the Bears' first round selections ended up being pretty simple. Things will get a little harder for Ryan Poles and company in the coming days as they currently have two picks remaining at No. 75 (R3) and No. 122 (R4), and still have holes to fill on the offensive and defensive lines.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings were a team that many people around the league had their eye on as a potential candidate to trade-up for a quarterback. Although the Vikings did end up trading-up for a quarterback, it wasn't as early as most thought. Coming into the draft, many believed the Vikings would trade into a top-four slot, but it ended up just being a one-pick jump from No. 11 to No. 10. The Vikings ended up going with Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy—a polarizing prospect to evaluate. McCarthy has the physical tools of a top prospect, but is also very young and played on the best roster in college football. In an ideal world McCarthy will be able to sit and develop, but with Sam Darnold being the current starter, who knows how long Minnesota will be able to keep him on the bench.

The Vikings ended up trading to a higher spot not once, but twice, as they moved up to No. 17 to draft Alabama defensive end Dallas Turner. Snagging Turner at the 17th pick was one of the better picks of the evening, on a night that was heavy on offense early on. Turner is arguably the best defender in the class, making this a great pick in the middle of the first round.

NFC North
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the rest of the weekend, the Vikings have five picks remaining, all five coming in rounds four through seven on Saturday. Going forward, the Vikings will most likely address defensive tackle, offensive line, cornerback and wide receiver.

Detroit Lions

This year's draft host, the Detroit Lions, made one pick in the first round. The Lions moved up from No. 29 to No. 24 to grab one of, if not the best, corners in the class in Terrion Arnold. The aggressive cornerback from Alabama fills a big need on a Super Bowl contender, who came up just short last year, behind a less than stellar secondary. General Manager Brad Holmes has already worked on filling the need through free agency, but Arnold is an important piece for the future.

The city of Detroit will get to enjoy five more picks throughout the weekend, including a second rounder on Friday and four more on Saturday. With those picks, look for the Lions to address offensive and defensive line, safety and wide receiver. Needless to say, Detroit is enjoying their weekend of playing host to the league.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers, per usual, had one of the least exciting picks of the night. With the 25th overall pick the Packers selected, Jordan Morgan, an offensive tackle from Arizona. Morgan may not be the flashiest pick, but he fills a need for the Packers, as he will most likely move inside to offensive guard. Not only does he fill a need, but he falls into the trend of Green Bay drafting and developing offensive lineman at an efficient rate. Many Packers fans will be disappointed to see the Packers pass on taking Cooper DeJean, the cornerback from Iowa, while he was still on the board, but the good news is he made it all the way through the first round. That being said, could we possibly see the Packers move up early in the second round?

Days two and three will feature the Packers often as they have 10 picks remaining, four on day two and six on day three. Look for the Packers to address the entire secondary, linebacker, more offensive line, edge rusher and running back (AKA almost anything).

A Look Ahead

The NFC North had many high profile picks on Thursday that will have a lot of impact on the future of the league. Franchise quarterbacks have been added to last year's third and fourth place teams, along with important holes filled for the two Super Bowl contenders. Be sure to keep an eye on every team in the division as the weekend moves along.


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