Reviewing the 2015 NFL Draft: NFC North

Continuing with our review of the 2015 NFL Draft today were taking a look back at the NFC North division teams and their respective draft classes. Here is a quick review of what each team received from this year’s crop of rookies. AFC East Review NFC East Review AFC North Review Here is a review of the NFC North Division: Chicago Bears Biggest Impact – Eddie Goldman, Defensive Tackle Florida State (2nd rd. pick # 39 Overall) General Manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox went into their first draft together looking to revamp the roster and add some building blocks on both sides of the ball. It seems like they found themselves a foundation player in defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. The second round pick started 12 games for Chicago and had 4.5 sacks to go along with 16 tackles. Coming out of Florida State the questions surrounding Goldman were whether he could generate enough of a pass rush up the middle or was he strictly a run-stuffer. Goldman’s improved hand technique along with his strength helped him become better at pressuring the quarterback, and his 4.5 sacks placed him in the top five in sacks for rookies. In 15 games Goldman played in 53.5 percent of defensive snaps for the Bears, and became a prominent player in the middle of their defensive line. Goldman was selected to the 2015 All-Rookie team by the Pro Football Writers Association. Surprise Impact – Adrian Amos, Free Safety Penn State (5thrd pick # 142 Overall) Amos started all 16 games for the Bears at safety, playing the most snaps on defense (1,046) than any other defender finishing with 108 tackles, 4 pass break ups, and a sack. Amos entered OTA’s and training camp behind second-year player Brock Vereen, and veteran Ryan Mundy on the safety depth chart. Then after just one preseason game the coaches elevated him to starter and he never looked back. Amos was a four-year player at Penn State where he had started at cornerback, nickel, and safety. Amos proved to be a sound tackler and a terrific run support safety. The areas he will need to work on coming into next season are his coverage skills and making more plays on the ball. Amos was named to both the PFWA and All-Rookie teams. Least Impact – Kevin White, Wide Receiver West Virginia (1st rd. pick # 7 Overall) White never saw the field in 2015 after a steel rod was inserted into his left tibia on August 23rd when it was discovered he had a stress fracture. The Bears placed White on short term Injured Reserve with the hopes he would come back towards the tail end of the season, but that never materialized. Pace, at this year’s scouting combine, announced that White has been declared healthy and will participate in the off season program with his teammates this summer. Detroit Lions Biggest Impact – Laken Tomlinson, Guard Duke (1st rd. pick # 28 Overall) The rookie out of Duke started week one for Detroit due to various injuries along the line. While struggling initially Tomlinson’s play started improving as the season went along, and he would go on to start 14 games as a rookie. Even though Tomlinson was thrown out there sooner than preferred by the Lions coaching staff, he was able to quickly pick up the system helping to solidifying the left guard position and assisted in providing Mathew Stafford a clean pocket to step up into when needed. Tomlinson looks to build on his successful rookie campaign and turn into a mainstay along the Lions offensive line. Tomlinson was named to the All-Rookie Team. Surprise Impact – Quandre Diggs, Defensive Back Texas (6th rd. pick # 200 Overall) The University of Texas product, and brother of former NFL player Quentin Jammer, took over as the full-time nickel corner when Josh Wilson was lost for the season. Diggs played well covering the slot receiver displaying his high football IQ, toughness, and ability to tackle. Diggs ended up starting four games and finished with 6 passes defensed, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. Diggs was able to impress his veteran teammates with the way he stepped into the lineup without blinking, showing that the spotlight was not too much for him. With Detroit anticipating being in their nickel base defense for about 70 – 75 % of the time next season look for Diggs to continue getting extended playing time in the Lions defensive secondary. Least Impact – Alex Carter, Defensive Back Stanford (3rd rd. pick # 80 Overall) Carter injured his ankle in the preseason and was placed on short-term injured reserve to start the regular season. When he was eligible to return the Lions staff deemed Carter too far behind to help this season as the injury and Stanford’s schedule caused Carter to miss most of the OTA’s and training camp. With veteran Rashean Mathis retiring, following the 2015 season, Carter will be looked upon as one of the players to help replace Mathis heading into next season. Green Bay Packers Biggest Impact – Damarious Randall, Defensive Back, Arizona State (1st rd. pick # 30 Overall) It became obvious early on in the draft that GM Ted Thompson was intent on rebuilding the Packers defensive secondary by using his top two selections on defensive backs. Randall, who had played both corner and free safety at Arizona State, was Thompson’s first round selection, and he was widely considered to have been the best cover safety coming into last year’s draft. The Packers early on in training camp had decided to move Randall back to corner to help offset the loss of Tramon Williams to Cleveland. Randall started the season strong and blossomed into a reliable, playmaking, cover corner for Green Bay. He started nine games and displayed terrific athleticism and ball skills, making three interceptions with 14 passes defensed. Randall’s emergence allowed the Pack to move Casey Heyward back inside to cover the slot where he appeared to be more comfortable. Randall’s play fell off a bit down the stretch, but the Packers coaches still have him penciled in as the starter coming into next season opposite Sam Shields. Randall plays with an aggressive demeanor and a mentality that no one should be able to catch a ball against him. Surprise Impact – Quinten Rollins, Defensive Back, Miami of Ohio (2nd rd. pick # 62 Overall) Quinten Rollins was a former basketball player at Miami of Ohio who had made the switch to football the previous season. In just once season of football for the Redhawks Rollins showed good quickness, ability to change directions, and playmaking skills, as he led the team with seven interceptions in just 12 games. Prior to that he had played four-years of basketball with no football experience since high school, so it was a bit of a surprise that Green Bay used a second round selection on Rollins. Rollins saw limited playing time initially, but towards the tail end of the season he displayed terrific football skills ending the season with 24 tackles, two interceptions, one sack, six passes defensed, and one interception return for a touchdown. Rollins came in and learned to play three different positions in the Packers secondary, the nickel, dime and outside corner. Rollins late season emergence made former Packer Casey Heyward expendable this offseason, and he will head into 2016 looking to be the starting nickel back for Dom Capers defensive unit. Least Impact – Ty Montgomery, Wide Receiver, Stanford (3rd rd. pick # 94 Overall) A high ankle sprained ended Montgomery’s rookie season after just six games. Montgomery had impressed coaches with a solid work ethic plus his football intelligence and preceding the injury was seeing more snaps on offense. Prior to that most of his action was mainly via special teams where he averaged 31.1 yards a return on seven chances. The Packers are still hopeful that next season Montgomery will have a bigger role on offense and continue to impact and improve the return game. Minnesota Vikings Biggest Impact – Eric Kendricks, Middle Linebacker, UCLA (2nd rd. pick # 45 Overall) General Manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer continue to rebuild the Vikings roster with fruitful drafts that bring in impact rookies. After drafting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and linebacker Anthony Barr in 2014 the Vikings added another core piece in middle linebacker Eric Kendricks in the 2015 draft. Kendrick’s, who is the younger brother of the Eagles Mychal Kendricks, led the Vikings in tackles with 92, becoming the first rookie, since 1961, to do so. He took over the starting Mike backer position in the fourth game of the season after Minnesota traded linebacker Gerald Hodges to San Francisco. Prior to that he was strictly playing in the nickel defense where his speed was heavily used in coach Zimmer’s blitz packages. Kendricks demonstrated instincts, smarts, and sideline-to-sideline playmaking capability while his ability to cover made him a three-down linebacker. Kendricks, who was named to the PFWA All-Rookie defensive team, had eight tackles and two passes defensed in Minnesota’s wildcard playoff loss to Seattle. Surprise Impact – Stefon Diggs, Wide Receiver, Maryland (5th rd. pick # 146 Overall) Diggs had some character and medical flags coming into the draft last year after being unable to complete a college football season in three years at Maryland due to a combination of injuries and suspensions. Minnesota took a chance on him in the fifth round and Diggs did not disappoint as he caught 52 balls for 720 yards and four touchdowns, this after not even dressing for the first three games of the season. Diggs, who is athletic and has an active body, made an impact on the Vikings offense lining up in the slot and outside the numbers. Going forward his best position is probably inside in the slot where he can use his toughness and quickness to continue to make plays. Diggs was named to both the PFWA and All-Rookie Teams. While PFF listed him as the 25th best wide receiver last season, ahead of name players like Demaryius Thomas, Golden Tate, and Randall Cobb. Least Impact – Trae Waynes, Defensive Back, Michigan State (1st rd. pick # 11 Overall) When the Vikings used the eleventh overall selection on Waynes last year many were picking him as the early favorite to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Now here we are almost one year later and he is the one being tabbed for producing the least impact in his rookie season. The 2015 season started off rough for Waynes when he was beaten out for the starting cornerback position, opposite Xavier Rhodes, by 37-year old Terrance Newman. Not only did Waynes lose the opportunity to start, he did not see a snap on defense until week three versus the Chargers. The coaching staff used him mainly on special teams, playing Trae in only 18% of the defensive snaps for the season. The Vikings still see Waynes as a future starter, but acknowledged that he needs to work on his technique and also get in better position to make plays on the ball, heading into his second season. On a positive note Waynes did record his first career interception, to go along with three tackles, and two passes defensed, in the Wildcard Playoff game versus the Seahawks. Danny Shimon is a graduate of Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp.  Follow Danny on Twitter @dshimon56
Danny Shimon
NFPost Scouting 101 & Scouting Seminar Graduate. Bears writer for

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