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Uh Oh: Holes

The 2016 draft is complete and all four North teams have filled many holes with free agency and the draft. Let’s take a look at the remaining holes for each team.

Chicago Bears

The Bears were active this offseason adding to their defense and offensive line. Chicago added Jerell Freeman and Danny Trevathan to fix their inside linebacker hole and make it a strength. Nick Kwiatkoski was drafted in Round 4 for depth alongside backup Christian Jones.

The Bears added Leonard Floyd in Round 1 to solve the future OLB pass rush issue. Floyd fits in well with McPhee, Young and Lamar Houston at OLB. Floyd is a big time talent and the Bears hope he bolsters their pass rush. You can never have too many pass rushers in this league.

The Bears added veteran Akiem Hicks in free agency and rookie Jonathan Bullard at 3-4 DE in the 3rd round of the draft. Will Sutton, Ego Ferguson and Mitch Unrein is average depth but depth could be an issue for Chicago on the defensive line.

The Bears major hole is in the secondary. The Bears have Kyle Fuller as the number 1 CB and re-signed Tracy Porter and Sherrick McManis this offseason after sub-par 2015 performances. Ryan Pace added CB/Safety in the 4th round in Deiondre Hall from Northern Iowa.  The Bears still lack a good number 2 CB and slot nickel corner back even with Porter and McManis. This is their biggest hole on defense.

The Bears drafted two safeties in Deon Bush (4th round) and Deondre Houston-Carson (6th round). Harold Jones-Quartey and Chris Prosniski will fight for the strong safety spot too. Free safety is set with Adrian Amos. Antrelle Rolle was cut after an injury riddled 2015 campaign. Strong safety is a possible weakness but has lots of young talent.

On offense, the Bears shook things up on the offensive line adding Bobby Massie to play right tackle and drafting Cody Whitehair to play guard. The Bears will move Kyle Long back to right guard and they added Manny Ramirez and Ted Larsen for guard/center depth. The Bears cut veteran Matt Slausen which was a head scratcher at guard but there is depth despite the rookie starting in Whitehair. The Bears still lack a good left tackle. Charles Leno Jr will remain the Bears left tackle after struggling in 2015. This could be a major problem for the Bears offense with a new OC.

The Bears lost Matt Forte in free agency. The Bears have a plethora of young backs in Jeremy Langford, Kadeem Carey, Jacquizz Rodgers and rookie Jordan Howard (5th round). The Bears could survive with this stable of backs but they aren’t replacing Forte’s production this year.

Holes: Second Corner Back, Nickel Back, Left Tackle

Possible Weaknesses: RB, Defensive line depth, Strong Safety

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings won the division in 2015 and added to their offensive line this offseason after Bridgewater was the most pressured QB in 2015. Alex Boone was added to play guard from the 49ers with a good sized contract. Former Bengal, Andre Smith will battle Phil Loadholdt (Achilles) for the right tackle job.

John Sullivan returns from injury and will compete with Joe Berger for the center spot. Brandon Fusco mans the left guard spot and Mike Harris was re-signed for depth at guard.

The Vikings have Matt Kalil at left tackle but he has struggled every year but 2012. Kalil is playing on a 5th year option and the Vikings didn’t upgrade. Willie Beavers was drafted in the 4th round from Western Michigan but has no chance to unseat Kalil. The Vikings have a starter but he is a very weak starter.

Weak side Linebacker is a possible hole for the Vikings. Chad Greenway was signed by GM Rick Spielman and Kentrell Brothers (ILB/OLB) was added in Round 5. The Vikings added Emmanuel Lemur and Travis Lewis in free agency for depth at LB and special teams play. Greenway struggled the past few seasons. The Vikings have bodies but this can be considered a weakness.

The Vikings re-signed Andrew Sendejo and added free safety Michael Griffen on a one year deal. Jayron Kearse was drafted in Round 7 out of Clemson. Anthony Harris has some experience in year 2 at safety. Harrison Smith is a great free safety in a contract year. This isn’t a hole but a possible weakness for Minnesota at strong safety.

Laquan Treadwell was added in Round 1 and Stefon Diggs is a good number 2. Jarius Wright is an average at best slot WR. Charles Johnson is decent WR depth but Adam Thielen must step up at WR. The Vikings WR corp has some talent now but is unproven. They seem to have a lot less speed in 2016 but Treadwell was a big time playmaker in college.

Holes: WLB

Possible Weaknesses: LT, SS, WR

Green Bay Packers

The Packers added Blake Martinez in Round 4 and get Sam Barrington back from injury. Jake Ryan returns in year 2 at ILB but Clay Matthews moves back outside. Carl Bradford and Joey Thomas struggled for the Packers in 2015. The Packers may still have a hole at ILB with many unproven players. Martinez or Ryan may fix that however. The Packers run defense has been an issue for several years and must be fixed in 2016 for defensive progress.

The Packers drafted NT Kenny Clark and have Mike Daniels and Datone Jones at DE. Josh Boyd returns from injury and veteran Letroy Guion will play a lot of snaps on the defensive line at nose and DE. Mike Pennel will miss the first four games due to suspension but is an average backup. Dean Lowry was drafted in Round 4 as well to add a solid 3-4 DE fit.

The Packers defensive line is filled but they are in the unproven category after years of run defense woes. Daniels is a stud and locked up long term and Jones can rush the passer but must step up in the run defense in a contract year. The rookie Clark has big shoes to fill quickly with Raji’s retirement but Guion helps ease some of that issue.

The Packers CB depth took a hit with Casey Hayward signing with San Diego. Randall and Rollins are young but now must be the guys in Green Bay as the number 2 and slot CB. Hyde is an average slot guy and backup free safety and playing in a contract year. Chris Banjo is the backup strong safety that could be upgraded.

James Jones is a free agent that had some snaps and production for Green Bay. Davonte Adams struggled in year 2 of his career. Jordy Nelson returns which is a big boost but you have to wonder how well he play after a torn ACL. Ty Montgomery returns from injury but may be a slot backup to Randall Cobb. Jeff Janis (14 targets in 2015) and Jared Aberrderis (oft injured) have shown flashes but the flashes aren’t enough quite yet. Trevor Davis was added in Round 5 and has solid size and speed. The Packers may be set at WR but if Adams struggles again and Nelson isn’t the same, it could be a problem even before any potential injuries.

Holes: ILB

Possible Weaknesses: Dline, CB Depth, WR Depth

Detroit Lions

Detroit was very active this offseason under Bob Quinn and re-signed many defensive starters in Haloti Ngata, Tahir Whitehead and Tyrunn Walker. DeAndre Levy returns from a hip injury that cost him the 2015 season. The Lions added to the WR corp with Marvin Jones and Jeremy Kerley (slot). Detroit added some depth with Rafael Bush (S), Tavon Wilson (SS), Stefan Charles (DT) and Johnson Bademosi (ST/DB). Strong safety Miles Killebrew was drafted in Round 4.

Detroit addressed their offensive line in the draft with Taylor Decker (T), Graham Glasgow (C) and Joe Dahl (G/T) in the draft. GM Bob Quinn added veteran guard/tackle Geoff Schwartz in free agency to replace Manny Ramirez. Power back RB Stevan Ridley was added to replace Joique Bell. Zach Zenner returns from injury as well.

Detroit lacks glaring holes after this offseason but has some unproven areas for 2016.

The weapons (WRs/TEs/RBs) have a lot of talent. Tate and Jones are proven in this league. Tate can be a number 1 WR after 2013 and 2014 with Seattle/Detroit. Ebron has shown a lot of potential especially in year 2 to be explosive and improve his efficiency. Riddick is a big time RB receiving threat. Abdullah had 4.7 YPC in the second half of last season under Cooter and can be a solid receiver. The Lions have plenty of weapons. They must put it altogether in the Jim Bob Cooter offense under Stafford. Stafford had a 97 QB rating 2015 season despite struggles under Lombardi and poor protection and run game (first half of season). Stafford can have success with these weapons despite losing Megatron.

WR depth could be an issue. TJ Jones showed flashes and Corey Fuller has size and speed but neither late round pick has put it together all the time in 2 and 3 years, respectively. Golden Tate and Marvin Jones must stay healthy.

The Lions secondary made some changes in the second half of last season that worked really well. Nevin Lawson did a solid job filling in Rashean Mathis. Mathis retired this offseason and now it’s all on Lawson to be the number 2 CB. Quandre Diggs had a very good rookie season in the slot.

Alex Carter is unproven but a 3rd round pick from 2015 with good size, speed and intelligence. Darrin Walls is the 5th CB but has experience. Darius Slay is a shut-down number 1 CB. The Lions have plenty of CB talent but Lawson, Carter and Diggs must prove more in year 2. This could either be very good for Detroit or the wheels could fall of the wagon. A Slay injury would be devastating.

Glover Quin is a good free safety but the Lions have a lot to prove at strong safety. Rafael Bush, Tavon Wilson and Miles Killebrew all have skillsets to help the Lions at strong safety. However, all three have to prove they could be a full time starter. Killebrew is more an in the box safety with big hits and Bush is used more for coverage. Wilson was a 2nd round pick but must prove he is more than a special teamer.

Dan Orlovsky or rookie Jake Rudock will be the Lions backup QB. That is a scary thought for Detroit.

The Lions have some DE depth issues. Ansah and Taylor are great and solid players respectively. Wallace Gilberry is actually good depth from the Bengals. Anthony Zettel was added in Round 6 and has a high motor. However, Zettel must learn to play DE full time. The Lions would be wise to re-sign Jason Jones.

Holes: Backup QB, Backup DE

Possible Weaknesses: CB 2, SS, WR depth

Summary

All four NFC North teams have improved over this offseason. Each team still has some holes remaining but all four have enough talent to make the playoffs despite their holes.