NFC North draft roundup: Chicago Bears move up for QB Justin Fields

Tom Dombeck
Packers News

GREEN BAY - All three of the Green Bay Packers' NFC North opponents made major decisions for the future Thursday evening.

The Chicago Bears made the biggest splash, moving up to select their quarterback of the future while the Detroit Lions added to their offensive line. The Minnesota Vikings traded back to pick later in the first round and also took an offensive lineman.

Chicago Bears

The Bears weren’t content to stand pat at No. 20 overall, moving up to No. 11 after trading with the New York Giants.

When the pick was in, it was Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields headed to the Windy City.

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 CFP National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago gave up Nos. 20 and 164 this year and its first- and fourth-round picks in 2022 to take Fields.

After trading up in 2017 to select Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears are hoping to atone for passing up electric passers Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in the same draft by taking Fields.

An 8-8 record last season got Chicago into the wild-card round, only to be defeated by the New Orleans Saints 21-9.

Now with Fields, it’ll be his turn to try to solidify a franchise’s hopes at quarterback, which has been looking for a true game changer since Sid Luckman retired in 1950.

Sorry, Jay Cutler.

Fields will have some weapons should he take the starting job from veteran Andy Dalton, with franchise-tagged wide receiver Allen Robinson II and young running back David Montgomery.

While Ohio State's season unfolded, it appeared Fields was the consensus No. 2 quarterback behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, but he was the fourth taken. 

Despite being a mobile quarterback, Fields completed 68.4% of his passes between his time at Georgia and Ohio State to show he's more than his legs.

The New York Jets chose BYU’s Zach Wilson at No. 2 and at No. 3 the San Francisco 49ers took North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.

Time will tell if Fields’ slide down the draft board will result in the Bears springing to the top of the NFC North standings in the coming seasons.

Detroit Lions

New Lions quarterback Jared Goff was likely a happy man when the team made its first selection at No. 7 overall.

There was speculation in the pre-draft process Detroit was looking to move down; instead the Lions selected the consensus top offensive lineman in the draft, Penei Sewell.

The 6-6, 325-pound left tackle out of Oregon sat out the college season in preparation for the draft.

Detroit went 5-11 last season and fired Matt Patricia, bringing in Saints assistant Dan Campbell to try to turn around the franchise.

Sewell won the Outland Trophy, given to the best interior offensive lineman in college football, in 2019 despite being just 19 years old.

Should Sewell take over at left tackle, 2016 first-round draft pick Taylor Decker will likely slide over to right tackle.

Decker rated as the 12th-best tackle in football in 2020 according to Pro Football Focus.

Having two strong pillars on the edge should help the Lions improve an offense that ranked 20th in scoring last season.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings were originally at No. 14 but moved back to No. 23 in a trade with the New York Jets.

For their troubles, the Vikings received picks No. 66 and 86 in addition to No. 23, where they selected Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. 

Minnesota had the 11th-best scoring offense in 2020 but finished a disappointing 7-9 and missed the postseason.

There’s no tackle for the Vikings that stands out as a stellar starter, so Darrisaw figures to become the anchor for the line and quarterback Kirk Cousins. Last season Riley Reiff manned the left tackle spot, but the line surrendered 39 sacks.

Darrisaw didn’t allow a single hit or sack on 293 pass-block snaps according to Pro Football Focus in 2020, which would be a welcome sight for Minnesota.