The NFL off-season is upon us, and it’s time to start looking ahead at the 2018 season.
The “2022 mock draft” is a prediction for the upcoming NFL Draft. The Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings are all predicted to make the playoffs in 2022.
15 April 2022
ESPN’s NFL Nation
Following the 2021 season, the NFC North’s power balance hung in the balance as Packers of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers considered his options: return to Green Bay, retire, or attempt to force a trade.
The Vikings (Minnesota) would have started the season as the division favorite if it hadn’t been for Rodgers. Rodgers, though, put a stop to the conjecture on March 15 when he signed a hefty deal.
The Packers are still missing All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, who was sent to the Raiders in a trade. Furthermore, receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling inked a free-agent agreement with the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving the Packers’ receiving corps depleted.
Is Green Bay’s hold on the division title in jeopardy? Is Kirk Cousins capable of harnessing the Vikings’ offensive firepower and catching up to the Packers? Are the Bears or Lions in a position to make a Bengals-like turnaround from last to first?
Courtney Cronin (Bears), Eric Woodyard (Lions), Rob Demovsky (Packers), and Kevin Seifert (Vikings) of ESPN’s NFC North crew examine their teams’ offseason successes and concerns, as well as offer a few predictions as the draft approaches.
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If Skyy Moore is available at No. 39 (Chicago does not presently hold a first-round selection), the Bears should choose the great Western Michigan receiver. While he’s not as big as Chicago wideouts Darnell Mooney and Byron Pringle (5-foot-10, 195 pounds), a second-round receiver is much more likely to make an impact as a rookie than a project offensive lineman the Bears could be interested in.
The Bears will win the division if: It’s a big shot, but it’s possible if coach Matt Eberflus can repeat Matt Nagy’s amazing turnaround from his first season in Chicago in 2018. To win the NFC North this season, the Bears will need a lot of things to go their way. Anything less than a Green Bay collapse in 2022 makes it seem like Chicago will finish third or fourth in the division as it begins yet another rebuild.
A bold prediction made much too soon: End of the rope Cole Kmet develops as a safety net for Fields, averaging 800 yards and six touchdowns this season. Following Jimmy Graham’s departure, the third-year tight end will grow into an explosive component of the Bears’ passing game and will finally have his time to shine in the red zone. Cronin’s
Packers of Green Bay
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The Vikings will win the division if their offense outscores the Packers’. That isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. The Packers have a quarterback edge over every team in the NFC North, but the Vikings’ skill guys surrounding Cousins — Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Irv Smith — are more talented. They have a chance.
A bold prediction made much too soon: After competing for the NFC North championship, the Vikings will earn one of the NFC’s three wild-card places. It’s true that the club is adjusting to a new front office and coaching staff, and that it might take a year or two for strategies and people to gel in such scenarios. Coach Kevin O’Connell, on the other hand, is inheriting a reasonably good group, especially in comparison to what new coaches often face, and the NFC seems to be wide open after an offseason talent movement to the AFC. There aren’t many teams that can be written out in the NFC playoff chase, but the Vikings should be among the favorites to make the postseason. Seifert (Seifert, Seifert, Seifer
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