NFC North: Roy Wiliams
Detroit fans, start your engines.
(Did you like the industrial metaphor? Thanks. I'll be here all week.)
The Lions' perch atop this April's draft will be a regular source of news and discussion here on the Black and Blue blog this winter. So let's get to it: Things got pretty interesting Wednesday with the news that Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to enter the draft. Stafford is the top draft-eligible prospect, according to ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, but he could be supplanted by Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford.
Bradford plays for the national championship Thursday night and should make his intentions known shortly thereafter.
We've discussed the possibility of the Lions trading out of the top spot in order to fill more needs around the roster. But unless and until they do, we'll cover the No. 1 pick as if the Lions are on the clock. And in either event, the Lions will have a chance to remake their roster dramatically; they also own the No. 20 overall pick from the Roy Williams trade.
Our draft page is up and running on the newly redesigned ESPN.com. You'll notice Scouts Inc. rates Bradford the No. 2 overall prospect and puts Stafford at No. 7. Scouts' lead analyst, Todd McShay, has the Lions taking Bradford in his most recent mock draft. (Yes! It's never too early to do a mock draft. That's what I always say.)
Although the Green Bay Packers don't have a practice scheduled for Monday, they aren't totally excused from football-related activities. So it's fair to say that newly reinstated quarterback Brett Favre will cross paths with Aaron Rodgers at some point after reporting to camp at noon CT.
There is no telling how that conversation will go. But last Friday, when it appeared Favre might stay retired, Rodgers said he harbored no ill will toward Favre for creating the monster of all distractions. Rodgers said he spoke with Favre's daughter, nephew and sister at the ESPYS last month and "they reiterated what I already knew."
Rodgers added: "There is no issue between me and Brett. When he was here, we got along great. We joked around. We spent time together off the field. So it's never been about me and Brett. It's been about Brett and the organization and trying to find the resolution that both parties are happy with. That's why I know my role in this situation is to lead this team. If he comes back, we'll welcome him back. And if he doesn't, we'll move forward."
Well, Rodgers will be opening those arms Monday. We'll be in Green Bay -- where else? -- later today and will bring you the latest.
For now, here are some NFC North headlines to chew on Monday morning:
- Packers fans booed Rodgers at an INTRASQUAD SCRIMMAGE Sunday night at Lambeau Field as he completed 35 percent of his passes, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- It was hard to ignore the symbolism of a huge thunderstorm in Green Bay on Sunday night, writes Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal.
- Now it's the Packers who are waffling, writes Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- In Minnesota, where the Vikings had Sunday off, it appears Charles Gordon is winning the competition for the nickel job, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
- Receiver Roy Williams appears to be interested in continuing his career with the Detroit Lions, who received trade offers for him during the offseason. Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News wonders if that sentiment will last.
- The Chicago Bears are still waiting for first-round draft pick Chris Williams (back) to get back on the practice field. Williams has missed 10 consecutive days of practice, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.