Common drafting trend in NFC North?


Common drafting trend in NFC North?

Its pretty evident the Bears and every NFC North team went specifically for need when dissecting the 2012 NFL Draft. How could this happen? Fans have been told repeatedly by organizations that they solely the draft best player available unless trading up or down to target a certain player. My thoughts exactly as teams like the Bears targeted their guy, Alshon Jeffery, by trading up to fill a huge need in the 2nd round. Lets all leave the blinders on and assume it was just happenstance that every NFC North team did not draft for need. The selections tell another story:

Bears - Do Bear fans agree with the first round selection of DE Shea McClellin? The Bears desperately needed a pass rusher opposite Julius Peppers. Is McClellin the real answer when many had him slated for OLB in a 3-4 Defense? The need for a defensive end seems to have clouded the judgment of the actual selection. Only time will tell for McClellin, but the Bears will tell fans all day long they love the pick. Another desperate need was to address getting more playmakers for Jay Cutler. Knowing the likeliness of not having Johnny Knox for the 2012 NFL Season, Jeffery was selected in the second round.

Green Bay Did general manager Ted Thompson not think there was one, NOT ONE offensive player better than any of the defensive players selected through the first five rounds? Here are the selections: DE, DT, LB, DT, SS, OLB, then in Round 7 OT and finally QB. The reality is the Packers ranked last in the NFL in total defense in 2011. The Packers gave up a dreadful 411.6 yards per game.

Detroit I live in Detroit, so understand when I wake up to read the Monday morning paper, there will be at least one quote by head coach Jim Schwartz concerning his unhappiness with RT Gosder Cherilus. Thus, the Lions drafted OT Riley Reiff from Iowa in the first round and WR Ryan Broyles in the second round to eventually replace Nate Burleson. The rest of the Lions selections reflected their needs on defense. Here are the Lions picks after Round 2: CB, OLB, OLB, CB, OLB and CB. I wonder if Lions general manager Martin Mayhew just lucked into these top defensive players considering the Lions defense was ranked 23rd overall. Detroit has specifically been weak in the back 7 of their defense, often playing players out of position.

Minnesota - Mmmmm. General manager Rick Spielman stated before the draft that, Matt Kalil, Morris Claiborne and Trent Richardson all rated equally on Minnesotas draft board. The left tackle ultimately was chosen after the Vikings traded down one spot with Cleveland who selected Richardson. Again, the reality is Minnesota has to score more points. The only way to score more points is to butter the bread of their All-Pro running back, Adrian Peterson. Selecting the needed LT will also help out the most important position on the field, their young quarterback, Christian Ponder. The Vikings only scored 22.1 points per game, ranking 19th in the NFL. Green Bay led the league in scoring with 35 points per game and Detroit was fourth in scoring with 29.6 points a game. Minnesota addressed their need to score more points by selecting Kalil.

Kyle Hendricks outduels Clayton Kershaw and delivers legendary performance that puts Cubs in World Series

Kyle Hendricks outduels Clayton Kershaw and delivers legendary performance that puts Cubs in World Series

John Hendricks sent a text message to his son at 11:24 a.m. on Saturday: “Good luck tonight!! Remember, great mechanics and preparation will prevail. Just let it go!!” It ended with three emoji: a smiley face with sunglasses, the thumbs-up sign and a flexed biceps.

The Cubs have bonded fathers and sons for generations, and Hendricks immediately understood what it meant for his boy when the Cubs traded Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers minutes before the deadline on July 31, 2012, telling Kyle: “You win in this city, you will be a legend. There is no doubt about it. This is the greatest sports town in the United States.”

This is the intoxicating lure of the Cubs. It didn’t matter that Kyle had been an eighth-round pick out of Dartmouth College, and hadn’t yet finished his first full season in professional baseball, and would be joining an organization enduring a 101-loss season, the third of five straight fifth-place finishes.

Kyle’s low-key personality will never get him confused with an ’85 Bear, but he delivered a legendary performance in Game 6, outpitching Clayton Kershaw at the end of this National League Championship Series and leading the Cubs to the World Series for the first time in 71 years.

Five outs away from the pennant, a raucous crowd of 42,386 at Wrigley Field actually booed star manager Joe Maddon when he walked out to the mound to take the ball from Kyle and bring in closer Aroldis Chapman. Kyle, the silent assassin, did briefly raise his hand to acknowledge the standing ovation before descending the dugout steps. 

After a 5-0 win, Kyle stood in roughly the same spot with Nike goggles on his head and finally looked a little rattled, his body shivering and teeth chattering in the cold, his Cubs gear soaked from the champagne-and-beer celebration.

“It’s always been an uphill climb for me, honestly,” Kyle said. “But that really has nothing to do with getting guys out. My focus from Day 1 – even when I was young, high school, college, all the way up until now – all it’s been is trying to make good pitches. 

“And as we moved up, you just saw that good pitches get good hitters out.” 

At a time when the game is obsessed with velocity and showing off for the radar gun, Kyle knows how to pitch, putting the ball where he wants when he wants, avoiding the hot zones that lead to trouble, mixing his changeups, fastballs and curveball in an unpredictable way that takes advantage of the team’s intricate scouting system and keeps hitters completely off-balance.

“Kyle didn’t even give them any air or any hope,” general manager Jed Hoyer said.

Amid the celebration, scouting/player-development chief Jason McLeod spotted Kyle’s dad and yelled at John: “You f------ called it!” John – who once worked in the Angels ticket office and as a golf pro in Southern California – had moved to Chicago two years ago to work for his good friend’s limo company and watch his son pitch at Wrigley Field. John had told McLeod that Kyle would one day help the Cubs win a championship.

“That was one of the best pitching performances I’ve ever seen,” McLeod said. “Ever.”

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities] 

The media framed Kyle as The Other Pitcher, even though he won the ERA title this season, with all the pregame buzz surrounding Kershaw, the three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP. Except Kershaw gave up five runs and got knocked out after five innings, while Kyle only gave up two singles to the 23 batters he faced, finishing with six strikeouts against zero walks and looking like he had even more left in the tank at 88 pitches.

“It was incredible,” Ben Zobrist said. “That was the easiest postseason game we’ve had yet and it was the clincher to go to the World Series. 

“He’s just so good, so mature for his age. He just has a knack to put the ball where he needs to. He’s smart and he’s clutch. He deserves to win the Cy Young this year.”

Where Kershaw’s presence loomed over the entire playoffs, Kyle has always been underestimated, coming into this season as a fourth or fifth starter with something to prove, and even he didn’t see all this coming. But big-game pitchers can come in all shapes and sizes and don’t have to throw 97 mph. 

“He wants the ball,” John said. “Every big game – I don’t care if it was Little League or wherever – he wants the ball. Plain and simple, (he’ll) get the job done.”

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