- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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Matt Williamson's offseason grades for the NFC weren't overly kind to the NFC North, but perhaps that's because most of our teams didn't need wholesale offseason changes to begin with. The file requires an Insider subscription, but I can provide you Williamson's grades and some snippet of what he wrote below:
NFC Rank: 4
Key Williamson phrase: "The Bears didn't lose much this offseason, and the addition of [Brandon] Marshall, a true No. 1 receiver, will boost this offense."
Seifert comment: The Bears were certainly the NFC North's most active team in the offseason, buying premium backups at quarterback (Jason Campbell) and running back (Michael Bush). Quarterback Jay Cutler without question has the best supporting cast, including coaching, that he's had in Chicago. Most outsiders are concerned about the offensive line, but most teams have a question mark on some portion of their roster.
NFC Rank: 10
Key Williamson phrase: "[Christian] Ponder will have a wealth of up-and-coming receivers to throw to, namely Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, [Jerome] Simpson, [Jarius] Wright, [Greg] Childs and [John] Carlson."
Seifert comment: Ponder also has a better situation at left tackle. But the parts are immaterial to Ponder's development. If he can't capitalize on them, then they won't matter much.
NFC Rank: 14
Key Williamson phrase: "Although I very much respect such a well-executed draft plan, that is an awful lot of faith to put into a draft class in the players' rookie seasons."
NFC Rank: 15
Key Williamson phrase: "To get to the promised land, that young nucleus will need to take another collective step forward, as the Lions did very little to improve their roster with veteran free-agent additions."
Seifert comment: It's come full circle: The Lions were once criticized for making poor decisions in free agency to cover for poor draft decisions. This offseason, some debated whether they were right to stand pat with their nucleus.