At this point of the season, it’s safe to say most readers of this site probably know where every team in the NFC North stands and why they’re in the position that they’re in. So instead of updating everyone with information they probably already know, we’ll take a different approach by examining recent NFC North draft classes.
I went back and listed every team’s draft choices from 2008-11 and broke down each team by examining their picks in the following categories:
Current starters: How many players drafted since 2008 are currently starting? I was fairly liberal in labeling players as “starters.” For example, Jordy Nelson does not “start” for the Packers (until Jennings got hurt, anyway), but for all intents and purposes, he’s a starter.
Home runs: These players are absolute studs, already pro bowlers or force other teams to game-plan specifically for them.
Future stars?: These players are already good, but haven’t reached their ceiling. A pro bowl or more could realisticially be in their future.
Late-round discoveries: Players drafted in rounds 4-7 that contribute and play much better than a typical player drafted in rounds 4-7.
Early-round flops: Players drafted in the first two rounds that did next to nothing.
*Note: I realize I left third-round picks out of both the late-round and early-round categories. Third rounders are sort of no-man’s land for me. I don’t feel comfortable labeling third rounders as either a discovery or a flop.