Christmas in July: What Would the NFC North Take From the Bears?

"My name is Matt Forte, and fans all over have added me to their team on Madden."

We've done this style of post before - last year we began the team-poaching with just one post, and this year Lester did one post for each team. Now, we're reversing the script. It's not always fair for us to focus only on improving the Bears - other teams need to improve too (he said tongue firmly in cheek). So let's take a look at what these other teams in the NFC North would take if they could poach a player from the Bears...

Starting with the Vikings, there are so many picks for them to make since the team has quite a bit of improvement to make, but let's focus on the offensive side of the ball. With Adrian Peterson in the fold, running back might be out of the question. They could go with a receiver or a tight end, receiver more likely, but really, if you think Christian Ponder is the answer at quarterback, you'll take Brandon Marshall - if not, I don't see how they don't grab Jay Cutler. Of course, on defense, I'm sure some Vikings fans have taken Julius Peppers and put him across from Jared Allen in Madden - putting the very effecttive Brian Robison in the pass-rush specialist spot. And Henry Melton would certainly have increased the pass rush from the defensive tackle spot.

Next up is the Lions, and I'd love nothing better than to give them Craig Steltz or Anthony Walters and call it a day. But, I have to be fair here. So, going on that, offensively, Marshall might make an interesting pair-up with Calvin Johnson at receiver. Good luck finding any offensive linemen being taken or Cutler being taken to replace Stafford (which, really, Stafford is not a bad quarterback at all - Johnson is a great receiver, but you don't get to 5000 yards by accident. That being said, Johnson is a tremendous help). And tight end? Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew laugh at what Kellen Davis was used like in the last couple years. Running back has so far proven to be an inconsistent weak point - Matt Forte would probably be a snap-up here.

So on defense, their line is set with Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril, Ndomakung Suh, Corey Williams and Nick Fairley - I'm not sure where they could upgrade here - Peppers of course, but is Pep/KVB enough ot an improvement to warrant the pick? Cornerback could use someone with the consistent performance of Charles Tillman or for someone with solid production with the kicking-around the Lions should be used to, Tim Jennings. And at safety, maybe an in-the-box player like a Steltz or Wright wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.

And finally the Packers, and you'd not find a Packers fan (or anyone, really) that would take Cutler over Rodgers. Forte would be an interesting pick here again, giving their passing preference as well as current running back stable. At receiver, Marshall might add something to the Packers' receiving corps alongside Jennings. At offensive line, again, so far, have to say, um, no.

On the defensive side, you really can't make too many comparisons thanks to the 3-4 front the Packers run, but Shea McClellin might provide another pass-rush linebacker in a conversion, same with Peppers. Brian Urlacher would have some of his effectiveness dulled, but I think he'd still be an effective ILB in the scheme. Tillman could probably improve the Packers' cornerbacks, and Chris Conte could make the safety situation interesting, but for what the Bears' safety circus has shown the last couple years, it remains to be seen if a second-year player could shake up the Packers' situation.

So here's my synopsis - Ithe Vikings would take Marshall to bring along Ponder; the Lions and Packers would both look at Forte, hard. The Lions would take Forte, and I think the Packers might go with Tillman to shore up their pass defense. Forte fits their scheme as a great receiving back and would be the offensive pick, but think about it like Forte's "off the board."

What do you think the other teams in the division would take? And if you're a fan of one of these teams or another team in general, stop by and give us your take!

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