NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Matt Kalil (R) from USC holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected #4 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
All of the teams in the NFC North had a 1st round pick that they held onto in the 2012 NFL Draft, and all of them selected solid players in positions of need. Because I know everyone is itching to hear what I think of the draft picks that the rivals of the Green Bay Packers made, I'm going to offer my implicitly solicited opinion.
The Vikings got off to a great start in the draft, moving back one selection to pick up some extra picks, then selecting the guy they wanted at No. 3 overall anyway. Kalil's pretty universally regarded as a blue chip prospect and one of the safest picks in the draft. If they're going to run with Christian Ponder as their QB, they had no choice but to upgrade at left tackle. An excellent pick.
This is a very interesting selection for the Bears, picking up a guy who most thought of as a 3-4 OLB. I think he's a little too small/weak to play as an every down 4-3 DE, but that's where he's going to start out for the Bears. Playing opposite Peppers will give him a chance to succeed, but I think it was a minor reach and that McClellin's best pro position is not 4-3 DE.
This is an excellent pick for the Lions on just about every level. Reiff was given a mid-1st round grade by most, and the Lions needed offensive line help. Jeff Backus is getting old, and he's fairly average at the moment anyway. Reiff could step in and start from Day 1, and by his second year he should be an upgrade over what Backus is right now. Excellent pick.
29. Minnesota Vikings - Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
The Vikings safeties have been poor since Darren Sharper bounced for New Orleans, so they traded back up into the first round to grab the second best safety in the draft. I was not sold on Smith as a pro when I watched him in college and I think he's a minor reach at 29, but he was universally regarded as the No. 2 safety, he had a late 1st-early 2nd grade, and the Vikings need a safety. Tough to fault them.