Plumbing the NFC North Depths: Safety

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Louis Murphy #18 of the Oakland Raiders is pushed out of bounds by Tim Jennings #26 and Chris Conte #47 of the Chicago Bears at O.co Coliseum on November 27, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

After we missed last week's installment of Plumbing the Depths, we had better get back into the swing of things. Today, we start out by doing the safety dance. Want to see how the teams stack up in my fan-oriented, completely non-expert analysis? Hit the jump.

Bears

2012: Chris Conte, Major Wright, Brandon Hardin, Craig Steltz, Anthony Walters

So what here looks likLe the foundation of a solid safety starting tandem? Chris Conte came in midway through last season, finished the season on injured reserve, and while he earned a starting spot through the ineptitude of the eventually cut Chris Harris and eventually benched Brandon Meriweather, he also did show his fair share of flaws. The team still isn't sure what they have in Wright, and Steltz provides solid run-play but struggles against the pass, generally. Hardin might be something, but he hasn't seen the field in the past year beyond the East-West Shrine Game. And Walters is an UDFA from last season.

Lions

2012: Louis Delmas, Amari Spivey, Erik Coleman, John Wendling, Sean Jones, Ross Weaver

Not a whole lot here either - Delmas is a real player, and Spivey offers some decent ballhawking and solid tackling, but behind them, again, not a whole lot. Wendling logged some time as a special teamer but aside from that, it's easy to see why Chris Harris was signed to back up this unit last season.

Packers

2012: Morgan Burnett, Charlie Peprah, Anthony Levine, Micah Pellerin, MJ Jennings, Jerron McMillian, Sean Richardson

I haven't exactly had the most respect for Charlie Peprah since he came into the league, but he's so far proven to be a solid safety, pairing with Morgan Burnett to be the most productive tandem in the division, with interceptions as well as tackles. Jennings played some special teams but aside from that, again, not a whole lot of NFL time spent here.

Vikings

2012: Harrison Smith, Mistral Raymond, Jamarca Sanford, Eric Frampton, Robert Blanton, Nick Taylor, Andrew Sandejo

The Vikings are depending on a pair of recent draft picks here, with Smith the first rounder and Raymond, a 2011 draft pick that hasn't seen a lot of action on the field to this point. Sanford led the team in starts last season, and was fairly productive in the stat sheet, but for a defense that allowed the most passing touchdowns in the NFL last season, a change had to be made.

Which is why for now, the Vikings are at number four - Sanford might prove to be great depth, with fifteen starts last year, but depending on a rookie and another raw player isn't exactly the most comforting feeling. I'll put the Lions at number three for now. I had the Bears here originally, but then I remembered this is the team that snapped up a Bears' castoff - and that didn't work so well. Lots of teams would love to have Delmas in their backfield, but not much else.

The Bears will go at number two, just because of the sheer number of players invested into the position in recent years, it's left to be a massive question mark. Steltz is the most experienced member of the safety corps, Hardin was thought of highly enough by the Bears to be a third round draft pick, but it's a question how he'll perform; Wright has so far been somewhat disappointing, and Conte is a second-year player that finished last season on injured reserve.

That leaves the Packers at number one, with the top safety tandem in the North.

What do you think?

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