Saturday, April 28, 2012
Fourth round review: NFC North
By Kevin Seifert
I have a hard time getting wrapped up in the individual selections that teams make in the fourth round of the NFL draft and lower. That doesn't mean these picks are unimportant, but essentially we're at a point in this affair where everybody has some flaws and, historically speaking, it's difficult to project many of them into significant roles.
With that said, let's take a collective look at the highlights of the NFC North's fourth round.
Chicago Bears: Most notably, the Bears continued to look in places other than their much-discussed offensive line in this draft. Fullback/tight end Evan Rodriguez is a combination blocker/vertical threat who dropped because of character concerns. He was arrested twice in his college career, once in 2007 and again in 2009, and ultimately transferred from West Virginia to Temple. But in a Mike Tice offense, it's important to have multiple tight ends who can block and catch.
Detroit Lions: Some media analysts had Oklahoma defensive end/linebacker Ronnell Lewis rated as perhaps a second-round pick because of his pass-rush abilities. The league didn't agree, and Lewis was available with the No. 30 pick of the fourth round. (The Lions had traded down, picking up a sixth-round pick in the process.) Does that mean he was a steal, or the media analysts were wrong? Could be either. The Lions view Lewis, who is listed at 244 pounds, as a defensive end. That might require him to bulk up or else be inserted into a specific passing-down role, but low fourth-round picks aren't usually three-down players.
Green Bay Packers: Think defense was a priority for the division champions? The Packers chose their fourth and fifth consecutive defensive players in this draft with their pair of compensatory picks at the bottom of the fourth round. Iowa defensive tackle Mike Daniels was the third defensive lineman. Maine safety Jeron McMillan was the second defensive back.
Minnesota Vikings: Fans could exhale after the Vikings finally drafted a pair of receivers, Arkansas teammates Jarius Wright and Greg Childs. At 5-foot-10, Wright would seem to be best suited as a slot receiver, which is where Percy Harvin plays as well. But the middle of the fourth isn't the time to start getting picky. Take the best receiver and then let coaches figure out how to get him on the field. Childs, meanwhile, is 6-foot-3.