NFC North: Josh Beck

Posted by's Kevin Seifert

Sorry. I'm not going to dish out draft grades. Don't like 'em. Rarely look at 'em. Seems like a waste of time to slap an overall grade on a body of work that won't be reconciled for at least two years.

So what can we say about the NFC North's draft? Why don't we take a look at its impact on each team's roster? What's changed? Where are the new battles? What does it tell us about the status of veteran players and other elements the teams haven't overtly acknowledged? Let's jump in:

  How soon quarterback Matthew Stafford sees the field remains to be seen.

After signing No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford, Detroit now has an important decision to make for its quarterback depth chart. Stafford has joined a group that includes Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton. (ESPN's John Clayton reports the Lions waived quarterback Drew Henson on Monday.) It's generally assumed the Lions prefer to start Culpepper while Stafford develops on the bench. But the team must decide whether it wants Stafford to be the No. 2 quarterback or No. 3 when the season opens.

It's an important distinction. If Culpepper is injured, are the Lions prepared to push Stafford onto the field? If not, do they trust Stanton to play in the short term? The answer to the latter question appears to be "no," giving the Lions these options:

  1. Signing a veteran backup for Culpepper.
  2. Making Stafford the No. 2 and crossing their fingers.
  3. Elevating Stanton to the backup spot and crossing their fingers.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said before the draft that he preferred to sign a veteran. If that's still the case, look for some movement soon. It will be interesting to see if the Lions place a claim on ex-Miami quarterback John Beck, who was waived Monday.

Detroit surrendered an NFL-high 172 rushing yards per game last season, but to this point the Lions have added only one new player to the traditional run-stopping positions of an interior defense. Nose tackle Grady Jackson will help clog the middle, and better coaching could also elicit improvement. But the Lions still have some ground to cover after drafting only one defensive tackle and one potential middle linebacker.

Third-round pick DeAndre Levy will get a chance to play middle linebacker, but that could be more out of necessity than design. Will the Lions re-sign Paris Lenon? Will they pursue former Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill, who had his franchise tag rescinded over the weekend? You would think the Lions will keep searching unless Levy puts on a show at rookie minicamp this weekend.

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