If there's a division in football where former Steelers quarterback
Kordell Stewart can revive his career, it's the awful NFC North.
It's no coincidence that three teams in this division own top-10
picks in this year's draft. It was that bad last season.
Maybe the Bears had that in mind when they signed Stewart to
be their starting QB after he was released by the Steelers.
By signing Stewart, the Bears can now afford to fill some of their
other needs, which is to land a stud defensive lineman and
With DE/OLB Rosevelt Colvin signing with New England, the
Bears have a big need for someone to rush the passer. And
defensive tackles Ted Washington (35) and Keith Traylor (33)
are on the wrong side of 30, so there is a need on the inside
At cornerback, R.W. McQuarters and Jerry Azumah don't put the
fear of God in any quarterback.
The Bears could also go for a QB since they only signed Stewart
to a two-year contract.
With the fourth-overall pick in the draft, the Bears may be the key
to how the rest of the first round plays out.
If the first three picks are quarterback Carson Palmer and wide
receivers Charles Rogers and Andre Johnson as expected, the
Bears will have their choice of Kentucky defensive tackle
Dewayne Robertson, Arizona State defensive end Terrell Suggs
or Kansas State cornerback Terence Newman. The Bears could
also send everyone scrambling by taking Marshall quarterback
Byron Leftwich or trading out of the spot with someone who
covets one of those players.
Where do you start with this team?
In two seasons, general manager Matt Millen has gutted a team
that was 9-7 and has not a lot to show for it.
Quarterback Joey Harrington showed promise as a rookie last
season and should benefit from playing for new head coach
Steve Mariucci, if he survives without any true weapons.
They overpaid to get Dre' Bly as a free agent from the Rams, but
at least he's a starting-caliber cornerback, which is more than
the Lions can say about any of the other corners on the team.
Linebacker is also problem area as middle linebacker Chris
Claiborne signed with division rival Minnesota.
But the immediate need for the Lions is to put some talent on
offense around Harrington.
With the second pick in the draft, there is little doubt the Lions
have targeted Michigan State wide receiver Charles Rogers as
their pick. Not only will they keep the talented wideout in the state
of Michigan, they'll get perhaps the best offensive playmaker in
Cornerback and linebacker will be priorities in later rounds.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers have lost quite a bit this off season but should still
be the class of the division as long as Brett Favre continues to
pull the trigger to the offense.
Starting outside linebacker Nate Wayne was released as was
starting cornerback Tyrone Williams. Safety Matt Bowen signed
with Washington, while defensive end Vonnie Holliday is now in
Kansas City. The team traded a second-round pick to get Al
Harris from Philadelphia to replace Williams, but the depth is
Farve has also begun to hint at retirement, leaving quarterback a
possible priority position for the Packers.
With the 29th-overall pick in the draft, the Packers would love for
one of the young QBs to fall to them because having already
dealt this year's second-round pick for Harris, they likely won't
have the ammunition to move up this year to grab one of the top
four - Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich, Rex Grossman or Kyle
If the Packers have to stay at 29 and the top QBs are gone,
grabbing a linebacker or defensive tackle - to replace fat and
aging Gilbert Brown - would be the next biggest need.
Maryland's E.J. Henderson is one possibility at linebacker if he's
still on the board. If not, the Packers will probably pick up
defensive tackle like Kenny Peterson, Jonathan Sullivan or
The Vikings added cornerbacks Denard Walker and Ken Irvin,
linebacker Chris Claiborne and defensive tackle Bill Lyon, none
of whom are stars. But they should help make the defense a little
Getting another defensive tackle to match with underrated Chris
Hovan is a must, as Lyon is just a backup-type player.
Another cornerback, a defensive end and a receiving threat to
pair with Randy Moss would also be a big help.
With the seventh-overall selection, cornerback Marcus Trufant
would be a solid selection and immediate impact player. If they
decide to go for a defensive tackle, Penn State's Jimmy Kennedy
will probably be the pick after they missed out on Ryan Simms
last season after the Kansas City-Dallas draft-day fiasco.
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