After starting 2011 with seven wins and three losses, the Bears momentum went down along with starting QB Jay Cutler who was lost for the year with an injury in Week 11. QB Caleb Hanie took over the controls of the offense and the team proceeded to lose five out of its last six games. The Bears focused on defense this year, selecting defensive players on four out of their six picks including first round pick DE Shea McClellin. McClellin, a Boise State product, will surely flourish on the Bears defense because of his work ethic and discipline as well as his top speed at the defensive end position. South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery, ejected in the final game of his collegiate career for fighting, was selected in the 2nd round as an additional weapon for the Bears. The Bears are looking to improve their passing game with a healthy Jay Cutler and by letting RB Matt Forte keep defenses honest.
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The Lions selected T Riley Reiff with the 23rd overall pick. Reiff should immediately start for the Lions who are expecting an improvement in their running game with a healthy RB Jahvid Best expected for the 2012 season. Surprisingly, the Lions selected WR Ryan Broyles with their 2nd round pick. Their thinking is that by adding Broyles they can keep defenses honest and eliminate the double teams on WR Calvin Johnson. In the next six picks, Detroit selected three cornerbacks and three linebackers including two more Oklahoma products in LB Ronnell Lewis and LB Travis Lewis.
The Packers, despite going 15-1 in 2011, had the worst pass rush of any team in the NFL. They were in the middle of the pack in rushing yards but because of their disastrous pass rush they gave up a whopping 300 yards per game in the air. USC product DE Nick Perry was selected with the Packers first pick (28th overall). Their next pick came in the 2nd round and DT Jerel Worthy, out of Michigan State, was selected to solidify their new-look defensive line. Pass-rush specialist LB Terrell Manning, a North Carolina State product, was selected by the Pack in the 5th round. To round out their draft Green Bay selected QB B.J. Coleman who will be expected to develop into a solid backup for QB Aaron Rodgers with the departure of QB Matt Flynn.
Minnesota drafted two probable starters in the first round in T Matt Kalil, USC and S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame. The Vikings drafted two wide receivers out of Arkansas in Jarius Wright (4th round) and Greg Childs (4th round). Wright and Childs will fight for playing time behind WR Devin Aromashodu, who performed subpar in 2011.
The Packers are slowly but surely eliminating their weakness on defense by draft Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy. Worthy has been accused of taking plays off and general laziness so it will be interesting to see if Coach Mike McCarthy can light a fire under his butt. The Vikings drafted K Blair Walsh out of Georgia to possibly compete with aging K Ryan Longwell. Longwell, turning 38 before the 2012 season kicks off, had his lowest field goal percentage (78.6) since 2005 with Green Bay. Vikings T Matt Kalil will add to an offensive line that is expecting RB Adrian Peterson to return freakishly soon. S Harrison Smith is a great, hardworking, intelligent pick for the Vikings and will be a staple in the league for years to come. The Lions surprised many draftniks when they went for WR Ryan Broyles instead of a running back. Their running back depth had been depleted last year due to injuries to Jahvid Best (concussions) and Kevin Smith. Although their running backs do not lack in talent, they are prone to injury which is a huge concern.