The Good: Even with the departure of all-pro corner Darius Slay the Lions secondary is still the strength of this team. The Lions man coverage ranking checks in at 10th while the zone coverage ranking is 12th in the league. Outside of the coverage rankings, the next best metric for this Lions team is their 18th ranked run defense.
The Bad: The biggest issue is their athleticism on offense as it ranked 31st in the league. The age of the team is concerning as Detroit lands at 27th in the Youth Power Index. The offensive line isn’t particularly good at run or pass blocking as they rank 26th and 28th respectively.
The Bottom Line: The Lions are not a particularly interesting, or for that matter good, team. The weapons on offense aren’t horrible but not ones that are going to draw people in. Defensively, outside of the secondary, the team lacks much in the way of exciting players. While their cap situation is middle of the road a few bad contracts, I’m looking at you Halapoulivaati Vaita, are anchors to the team as a whole.
This is a team desperate for some sort of infusion of talent and youth. I would open up anyone over the age of 26 for trade considerations day one of owning this team. Outside of the recent rookies and Golladay, I’d look to try and overhaul this whole thing. Just getting younger players, or picks, back lets you start on what will be a long rebuild.
The Lions are one of my least favorite teams in the game this year. Outside of the Jets, they are probably the team I’d least like to have in a franchise. The only redeeming quality of this team versus some of the other teams may be the fact the division as a whole seems to be a little down this year.
The Good: Even with the departure of wide receiver Stefon Diggs the Vikings weapons rank 10th in the league. The run defense is a highlight as the Vikings boast one of the best units in the league ranking 9th. Athletically the Vikings are one of the better overall teams with the 13th and 10th rated offensive and defensive athleticism rankings. A plethora of 4th round picks move the Vikings up to 5th in draft capital.
The Bad: The loss, for now, of Everson Griffin is felt in the pass rush as they rank 23rd in ORR. The offensive line is one of the worst units league-wide ranking bottom three in both run and pass blocking. On top of the talent issues, the Vikings are the 2nd oldest team in the entire league.
The Bottom Line: The Vikings actually have some appealing pieces, however, their advanced age makes them a team that could degrade quickly. Guys like Harrison Smith, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, and Kirk Cousins are top performers on this team and all on the wrong side of 30. With that said, the team could be salvageable with some work year one to get younger.
This team needs to be stripped for parts quickly to get maximum value. There is a need league-wide for tight end and wide receiver so Rudolph and Thielen should be easy moves. In this case, you’ll be looking for a younger wide receiver with upside and potentially a secondary player as you already have a younger tight end to develop in Irv Smith. Harrison Smith should be open to the best offer to rebuild with. Smith’s overall and abilities should make him desirable even with his age.
If you can move some of the age of this team for quality youth the Vikings aren’t a bad rebuild. There are pieces like Dalvin Cook that I think franchise owners will want to use. I’d expect the Vikings to be a late selection in team draft, but if you end up with them after pick 26 just take solace in knowing you could have done worse.
The Good: The trenches are the highlight for the Bears on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Bears offensive line possesses the 9th ranked run blocking and 11th ranked pass blocking units. On the other side of the ball, Chicago’s 3rd ranked pass-rushing unit and 3rd ranked run defense make for a fierce front 7. While not elite the secondary for the Bears is above average in both man and zone coverage.
The Bad: The issues start at quarterback where neither option is good, however plugging Mitch Trubisky in yields the 30th ranked adjusted QB rating. While Allen Robinson is a nice weapon, the rest of the offensive is bad which brings their ranking to 26th in the weapons rankings. To make fixing the issues on offense a little more difficult, the Bears 27th ranked cap situation will make buying their way out of the whole unlikely.
The Bottom Line: A really strong defense makes the Bears an intriguing option for many owners. The cap situation is not good though and it could force some tough decisions in that defense down the road. Offensively this team is a mess, but the good news is there aren’t a lot of horrible contracts on the offense.
For most people, Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen will probably be the main re-signings year 1, which means you don’t need too much cap quickly. That said, I still may consider moving a guy like Cohen who probably has more perceived Madden value than he should. If I could get a solid #2 WR to pair with Robinson I’d make the move as halfbacks are historically easier to find and develop.
The Bears defense should be enough to move this team up higher than 23rd in your franchise selection. I think if you can come up with a solid plan for the offense this team could be in contention with just how good the defense is. If you end up with the Bears late in your draft you are probably better off than most the other people picking around you.
The Good: The Packers offense is highlighted by Aaron Rodgers who, even at his advanced age, still checks in at 11th in the adjusted QB rating rankings. While not elite, Green Bay’s offense has some weapons on it that placed them 12th in the weapons rankings. Defensively, the pass-rush leads the way ranking 7th league-wide in ORR. Aside from the pass rush the most intriguing part of the defense in their athleticism where they rank 2nd.
The Bad: The offense has skill but questionable athleticism as they are ranked dead last in the league. There are a lot of things to like about the Packers’ defense but their run defense is not one of them as they are ranked 30th in the league. Not an immediate threat to the team, owners should keep the Packers’ 24th rated cap situation in mind as they make decisions around this squad.
The Bottom Line: The best team in the division out of the gate, the Packers have quality players throughout their roster. While they have some age at some key positions the team is built well to improve throughout the cycle. For most owners deciding how to handle the Rodgers/Love situations will be the biggest, and maybe most important, decision early in their franchise.
This take could be controversial but I’d trade Jordan Love year 1, hear me out. You have a large amount of cap tied into Rodgers for at least two years. Jordan Love is normal development meaning, if breakouts haven’t changed, it would take two elite years with Love to get him to superstar. I’d recommend you sell high on Love because of his name value, then you figure out your heir later as you can find similar QB’s in free agency and the draft regularly.
The Packers will be an appealing team because of their tradition and talent in most franchises. Some improvements could be made offensively in terms of finding another receiving target or two, but as the team stands now it can compete day 1. This is a solid team choice but is especially intriguing for someone who is not caught up in the love for Jordan Love.