NFC North Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

Despite a strong first season as the Bears’ top free-agent target in 2018, TE Trey Burton fell off the map last year after dealing with a host of injuries. Chicago made revamping the position a priority this offseason, which meant releasing Burton just two years into his deal. 

“As we took a full evaluation of our roster after free agency and factored everything in, that was the best decision for us,” Bears GM Ryan Pace said via the Chicago Sun-Times. “He had a good first year for us, but unfortunately for him and for us, the injuries kind of added up.”

As another Bears player who hasn’t lived up to high expectations, QB Mitchell Trubisky has spent much of this offseason recovering from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. When the season ramps back up, Trubisky will face stiff competition from his new back, QB Nick Foles, for the starting job. But the goal is at least to not have his shoulder holding him back like last year. 

“It’s great, it’s great,” Trubisky told former backup QB Chase Daniel in a Periscope conversation. “I’m back to 100 percent. I haven’t been able to see a doctor to get cleared officially, but I pretty much cleared myself. … It feels better and stronger than it did before you even hurt it. So yeah, it went well.”

Lions

  • According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the Lions have had a lot of contact with Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons during the pre-draft process.
  • Graziano adds Simmons is in the mix for Detroit along with Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah and Auburn DT Derrick Brown, either at No. 3 overall or in a potential trade-down scenario. 
  • Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson thinks the Lions might be trying to play the Dolphins and Chargers against each other if they think the other team is coming up for a quarterback. 
  • CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reports that while Lions GM Bob Quinn prefers Okudah, HC Matt Patricia wants to draft Brown. 

Packers

Vikings

  • Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press reports that the Vikings want a “very fast” wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft who has the ability to stretch the field. 
  • Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline says the Vikings are another team that is very interested in Boise State OT Ezra Cleveland.
  • Cleveland would give Minnesota options, as he would allow the Vikings to move RT Brian O’Neill to left tackle and LT Riley Reiff to either right tackle or guard. 
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports the Vikings have emerged as a key cog in potential movement in the back end of the first round, as they do have two picks at No. 22 and No. 25. 
  • Ben Goessling reports that the Vikings are talking about a move up into the late teens, but to make it happen, they might need to include their second-round pick at No. 58 overall. Goessling mentions cornerback as a potential target. 
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