Two of the Bears' division rivals appeared to do a good job addressing positions of need during this week's draft. The other definitely addressed one need, but the other choices in their first five rounds were a bit curious. But based on his history of draft success, we probably shouldn't doubt Packers general manager Ted Thompson.
A quick look:
With the losses of starting cornerback Tramon Williams and third corner Davon House to free agency, Thompson followed up last year's first-round safety HaHa Clinton-Dix with Arizona State safety/corner Damarious Randall in the first round and Miami (Ohio) corner (and four-year basketball point guard) Quentin Rollins in the second.
Stanford wideout/return man Ty Montgomery was the latest target brought aboard for Aaron Rodgers. They hope fourth-round outside linebacker Jake Ryan of Michigan can help offset the losses to free agency of A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore. Once their offensive staff is done shaping, tutoring and coaching UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, it'll be interesting what that finished product looks like. Others presumed areas of need not addressed in the first five rounds were tight end and defensive tackle.
The Lions' greatest need seemed to be defensive tackle following the free agent exits of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Those blows were somewhat softened by the trade for Haloti Ngata and signing of Saints free agent Tyrunn Walker. Martin Mayhew got around to the position in the fourth round with Gabe Wright of Auburn (they'll also be turning to last year's fifth-rounder, Caraun Reid). They addressed needs on the offensive line by selecting guard Laken Tomlinson (from Lane Tech High School) to go with the center, guard and tackle they've selected over the first three rounds the past three drafts. Reggie Bush is replaced by Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah (second round) to pair with Joique Bell. Their cornerback need was filled in the third round with Stanford's Alex Carter.
Let's go down Mike Zimmer's draft checklist for what he's turning into a formidable defense (which already ranked 14th last season) after using his top pick a year ago on linebacker Anthony Barr:
[SHOP: Get the latest Bears gear here]
Linebacker (again) — UCLA's Eric Kendricks (2nd round). Cornerback to pair opposite Xavier Rhodes — Michigan State's Trae Waynes (11th overall), widely regarded as the best corner in the draft. Defensive end — LSU's Danielle Hunter (3rd round). Guard — none, but rolling the dice with raw, but beastly tackle T.J. Clemmings of Pitt (whose first- or second-round value dropped with a foot injury), could provide push for Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt. The fifth-round provided potential backup, but undersized, targets for Teddy Bridgewater at wide receiver and tight end (Maryland's Stefon Diggs and MyCole Pruitt of Southern Illinois).
Programming note: Chris, Jim Miller and Dave Wannstedt will have more on the Bears' first draft under Ryan Pace with a 30-minute special Sunday night on Comcast SportsNet, airing at 10:30, or after the conclusion of "Blackhawks Postgame Live.