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NFC North Draft Review

Chicago Bears: This team held its draft in early April, when the Bears acquired their first franchise quarterback since Sid Luckman. And so unless the nine picks they made beginning in round three yield multiple Hall of Famers, 2009 will be remembered only as the year in which Jay Cutler arrived, for better or worse. Their first pick, third-round defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert, adds depth to a rotation from which Tommie Harris is all too often absent. Receiver Juaquin Iglesias, when paired with Cutler, could be this year’s Eddie Royal. Wisely, the Bears picked up two more pass-catchers, and it’ll be very interesting to see Chicago’s new-look air attack -- especially once the weather turns at Soldier Field. Detroit Lions: Not much more can be written or said about quarterback Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. The Lions, who can’t get much worse, took a big risk. Whether it pays off remains to be seen. Since the Lions still can’t draft a receiver in the first round with a straight face, they did the next best thing and landed tight end Brandon Pettigrew with the 20th overall pick. He figures to see plenty of openings against the two Tampa Two defenses in the NFC North -- especially since Calvin Johnson will continue to get the bulk of the attention. Of course, the Lions couldn’t completely resist taking a wideout; they grabbed Penn State’s Derrick Williams in round three. On the defensive side of the ball, second-round safety Louis Delmas has the skills and the attitude to help turn things around. Green Bay Packers: If the goal was to commence the transition from 4-3 to 3-4, then the Packers achieved it. Nose tackle B.J. Raji gives Green Bay a key component -- a big, fat guy who can tie up blockers that otherwise would be putting linebackers on their butts. Linebacker Clay Matthews quickly could become a sack machine, especially under the tutelage of Kevin Greene. The rest of it was the standard Ted Thompson ho-hum, no-sizzle draft. But look for a couple of them to become contributors soon. Minnesota Vikings: Receiver Percy Harvin represents an all-or-nothing gamble from coach Brad Childress, who knows that he needs to win in 2009 or find work elsewhere in 2010. The positive drug result from the Scouting Combine is troubling, and Harvin quickly will have to decide whether he loves football more than marijuana. In 2005, the Vikings used a second-round pick on a guard (Marcus Johnson) whom they tried to make into a right tackle. In didn’t work. The next year, they used a second-round pick on a center (Ryan Cook) whom they tried to make into a right tackle. It hasn’t worked. And so, this time around, they’ll try to make a right tackle out of left tackle Phil Loadholt. Nearly eight years after the death of Korey Stringer, the Vikings are surely hoping they’ve finally found a long-term answer at the position. Then there’s third-round cornerback Asher Allen, who beefs up a decent secondary and who could be the long-term replacement for Antoine Winfield, who turns 32 next month.