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NFC North Rundown: QBs and offensive tackles highlight division’s early-round picks

Protection up front for quarterbacks in both the present and future was a focus around the division on days one and two.

Virginia Tech v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

After taking punches throughout the offseason for settling on Andy Dalton instead of acquiring an elite quarterback via trade, the Chicago Bears began to quiet the masses by aggressively pursuing a future signal caller in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Trading up to select Justin Fields was not only a move that was made in the best interest of the franchise, but one that may eventually help bolster job security for the Bears’ front office. Although Chicago will bite the bullet and lose its first-round choice next year in the process, the future in the Windy City appears a little brighter today than it did a week ago.

Elsewhere around the division, round one presented an opportunity for Detroit and Minnesota to add starting talent across the offensive line. That was true for the Vikings in particular, even if they missed out on adding Fields to their own roster. Today’s rundown features that story, while digging into draft grades for each team and the undrafted players fighting for roster spots this summer.

Detroit Lions

2021 NFL Draft grades: (Mostly) high praise for Detroit Lions’ picks

Detroit earned mostly A’s and B’s for their draft haul, grades influenced significantly by landing left tackle Penei Sewell in round one.

Detroit Lions draft class dominated by freak athletes

Adding premium athleticism and speed, particularly on defense, appeared to be a priority for the Lions this year as five of the seven picks earned elite RAS scores.

Lions agree to terms with 13 undrafted rookie free agents

Notre Dame was targeted heavily, with three of the 13 signings coming from South Bend.

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings NFL draft picks 2021: Analysis for every selection

Minnesota added a probable starting tackle in round one before selecting a quarterback to groom for life after Kirk Cousins on day two.

Vikings alter Kirk Cousins succession plan after losing out on Justin Fields

The article indicates that Minnesota attempted to trade up for a couple players, including a different quarterback of the future, before ultimately moving back.

The undrafted free agents who have agreed to sign with the Vikings so far

Ohio State’s Tuf Borland is one of the current names on the Vikings’ list of undrafted signees.

Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears Draft 2021: Grading each individual pick

The success of this year’s draft will eventually be based on the progression of Justin Fields, who the Bears gave up a future first-round pick to acquire.

Chicago Bears cut left tackle Charles Leno after trading up to select Teven Jenkins

After drafting a pair of offensive tackles this past weekend, Chicago elected to free up cap space by releasing last year’s starting left tackle.

2021 Chicago Bears undrafted free agent tracker

A Kamara unrelated to Alvin is one of the names trying to make the Bears’ final roster as an undrafted free agent.