The Bears have had a lot of noise about their QB situation this winter: rumors of Jay Cutler being traded, talk by John Fox about Cutler needing to earn his starting job, and the fans and media seem to have turned on Jay. It seems like QB is all of a sudden a position the team needs to examine. They have Cutler signed for the next two seasons, and they re-signed backup Jimmy Clausen on a one-year deal. In the draft, there are a few interesting prospects the Bears could keep their eye on: Colorado State's Garrett Grayson, Oregon State's Sean Mannion or Nevada's Cody Fajardo for instance. But, this is a question better answered after the 2015 season ends, when they can assess if Cutler is the franchise QB they hoped he'd be.
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Can the Lions defense be as good as it was in 2014?
Defensive tackle took a major hit in Detroit this offseason. The Lions lost Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in free agency. While they did acquire all-pro DT Haloti Ngata in a trade with Baltimore, not to mention Tyrunn Walker, defensive tackle is still a weak position. They'll need to address it early with prospects like Oregon's Arik Armstead, Florida State's Eddie Goldman or Oklahoma's Jordan Phillips. Ndamukong Suh generated so much attention that free rushers got easy opportunities to pound opposing QBs or force them into precariuous throwing situations. Whether they can replicate that kind of defensive magic depends on both drafting success and the wizardry of DC Teryl Austin.
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Can the Vikings build a future around Teddy Bridgewater?
Yes, this is premature, given that Bridgewater is about to enter his sophomore season. But the offensive line, wide receiving corps, and even the tight end corps all need upgrades to protect him. Hroniss Grassu, Andy Gallik, A.J. Cann or T.J. Clemmings are all possibilites for the offensive line. There are a handful of options at wide receiver and tight end, too.
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Are the Packers truly set on the offensive line?
2014 was a good year for the Packers' offensive line unit, especially when it came to pass protection. Rookie center Corey Linsley eventually settled into his role nicely, and Bryan Bulaga's season was a reminder of how much the team missed him during his injury-riddled 2012 and 2013 campaigns. He didn't even play in '13 due to a knee injury he suffered before the season even started. They also have David Bakhtiari and T.J. Lang. Depth on the offensive line is a concern, but the Packers may look to satisfy other needs first. Can they still get impact OLs like Lael Collins, Brandon Scherff, Tre' Jackson or Reese Dismukes in the draft?
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Will Chicago's new defensive philosophy help in '15?
The Bears not only have major holes to fill on defense, but they are also undergoing a switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base defense. New DC Vic Fangio and head coach John Fox will look at guys like Mississippi State's Preston Smith, Missouri's Shane Ray, Washington's Shaq Thompson and Clemson's Vic Beasley, all of whom are perfect players to plug in as 3-4 rushers as OLBs or DEs. Chicago's secondary is solid, so if Fox, Fangio and GM Ryan Pace rebuild the defensive front, the Bears can continue being the division's defensive bullies. A 3-4 defense could mean better pass-rushing opportunities for the Bears; in the NFC North, that's invaluable.
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Can Ted Thompson adequately fill the hole at ILB?
The Packers' stellar GM has decided to rebuild inside linebacker from the ground up, so Thompson needs to address the position early in the draft. That's the key to the Packers' defensive success in 2015. They are pretty solid in the secondary, and the defensive line is very strong. If they can properly address linebacker, especially inside, they'll be set defensively.
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Will the Adrian Peterson drama affect the Vikings' draft plans?
Either way, the Vikings need some depth at running back. Even if they go way down their board to pick up late-round targets like USC's Buck Allen, South Carolina's Mike Davis or Louisville's Dominique Brown, it could still do them some good. Should the saga between the Vikings' braintrust and their mercurial star RB get uglier, or continue to persist in the summer, it will be a game-changer for the team.
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Can the Lions take a step forward on offense in 2015?
On paper, with the draft approaching, the answer is yes. It's easier said than done, but if the Lions nail their picks at RB, C, G, WR and TE, they can feature a vastly more explosive offense in the 2015 campaign. Furthermore, how well will Matt Stafford adapt to OC Joe Lombardi's offensive system in his second season? His turnovers were down in 2014, his first year in Lombardi's offense, but he lacked the explosive scoring plays he normally produces.
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Does Green Bay need a lot of improvement defensively?
The defense has failed the Packers too often since they won the Super Bowl in 2010. Are defensive alignments and coaching the problem? If cornerback and inside linebacker concerns are addressed, the defense won't have any excuse to struggle.
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Will Detroit still have the North's worst RB corps in 2015?
As far as starting running backs go, the Lions are not in the same class as their fellow NFC North brethren. Chicago has Matt Forte, Minnesota has Adrian Peterson for now, and Green Bay has Eddie Lacy. The Bears could have the only collective group of backs weaker than Detroit's. The Lions rid themselves of Reggie Bush, so Joique Bell will be the guy, and the Lions don't need to draft a high-end RB prospect; Miami's Duke Johnson or Minnesota's David Cobb would do just fine.