Putting a bow on NFC North's draft

April, 25, 2010
4/25/10
10:00
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Let's clean out our notebook with the 2010 NFL draft in the books:

Many of us considered offensive tackle and outside linebacker as Green Bay's top two needs in this draft. The Packers drafted Iowa's Bryan Bulaga to address the former, but they came up empty on the latter and don't have an obvious answer at the position shared last year by Aaron Kampman and Brad Jones.

That's a particular blow for a team that generally sits out veteran free agency. But general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy both hinted a linebacker move of some kind could be on the horizon.

"We didn't draft any linebackers this year," Thompson said, "but still we're going to be trying to add some stuff to that position, sure."

According to ESPN's Stats & Information, NFL teams drafted 36 linebackers over the past three days, more than any other position.

The Packers drafted a running back in the sixth round who missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing shoulder surgery. McCarthy wouldn't commit to whether Buffalo's James Starks will be cleared for all of spring drills.

"We're very comfortable with his particular medical situation," McCarthy said, "but until he gets here and gets to work, we'll have a complete idea of where he is."

Starks, 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds, has the kind of size to make a difference

We discussed the inconsistency that dropped USC defensive end Everson Griffen from possible first-round status to Minnesota's fourth-round pick. Speaking to local reporters, Griffen said he is "not a big guy to make excuses" but revealed he played half of last season with a turf toe.

"It was a bad turf toe," he said. "Two months ago, it finally started feeling better. You just got to want to play at that level and that's what I want to do. ... Coming off this injury affected me for about half of the year, but I'm feeling 100 percent. I'm ready to go. No new injuries."

Vikings director of college scouting Scott Studwell referred to Griffen as "a college student that enjoyed the college life a little bit," a nice way of saying his game might have been affected by his social life. To his credit, Griffen didn't dispute that notion.

"What college kid doesn't enjoy college?" he said. "College only happens one time, and you learn from your mistakes. I wouldn't take anything back from my college experience. You learn from your mistakes, and that's how you become an adult. That's what I did. I learned from my mistakes."

Detroit plans to work fourth-round pick Jason Fox on both the left and right side, offensive line coach George Yarno told local reporters. Fox is still working his way back from a torn patella tendon.

"He'll rotate both tackles: Left and right and see where it goes from there," Yarno said. "I think with his injury and everything, it will take some time before he's ready to go. We're looking at him as kind of the third tackle right now [behind starters Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus] and see where the competition will go from there."

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew was at it again Saturday, upgrading the throw-in draft pick he got in the Tony Scheffler-Ernie Sims trade earlier this month.

To review: As part of a three-way deal, the Lions sent Sims to Philadelphia and got Scheffler from Denver. The Broncos also gave the Lions their seventh-round draft pick, No. 220 overall. Saturday, the Lions sent that pick to Philadelphia in exchange for the Eagles' sixth-round pick in 2010. At this rate, it will be a first-rounder by the time next April rolls around.

We briefly touched on the possibility of Chicago pursuing Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca, who was released Saturday by the New York Jets. Asked about the possibility by Chicago reporters, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo wouldn't rule it out.

"I don't know who would not consider Alan Faneca, if you had a need at the offensive line," Angelo said. "Again, we'll look into some things, like we did before the draft."

Something to keep an eye on, for sure.

The Chicago scout that handled the report on Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour referenced New England quarterback Tom Brady during an interview with Chicago reporters. Scout Jeff Shiver said: "A long time ago, I missed a quarterback in the sixth round. I think he's still with the Patriots."

I think that was Shiver's way of suggesting the Bears did more than take a sixth-round flyer on a local kid who grew up with a Walter Payton jersey on his wall. They believe he can develop into a legitimate NFL quarterback.

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