*With the NFL draft in the rearview mirror, Around the NFL will project starting lineups with tasty position battle nuggets for all 32 teams. The NFC North is below. *
» This exercise is a prediction of what will happen, not a snapshot of the current depth chart. Last year's No. 11 overall pick Trae Waynes is definitely behind Terence Newman at the moment, but Newman is 38 years old. Waynes came along slowly last year but this isn't out of the ordinary for coach Mike Zimmer and cornerbacks. It's time for Wayne to play.
» We moved Hunter into a starting job over incumbent Brian Robison. Hunter flashed serious skills as a rookie and Robinson could be more effective in a situational role at 33 years old.
» Long a problem spot for the Vikings, the team is suddenly looking good at linebacker. Anthony Barr is an ascendent Top 100 player. Chad Greenway and Emmanuel Lamur figure to battle for snaps, but won't play every down. Eric Kendricks played well at middle linebacker but could also move outside. The return of Audie Cole and the drafting of Kentrell Brothers in the fifth round gives Minnesota great depth.
Green Bay Packers
» The more I looked at this roster, the worse it looks. You can argue that no position groups are above league average. There are some great star players (Ezekiel Ansah, Golden Tate, DeAndre Levy, Darius Slay) but there are huge roster roles. Defensive end is very thin. Cornerback and safety are worse; each position has one reliable player. There are big questions at tackle and running back.
» The Lions' brass likes Nevin Lawson, a fourth-round pick from last year who got plenty of snaps as a rookie. But it was still surprising to see the position so ignored this offseason. Rafael Bush has been injury prone and one dimensional in his career and is on his third team in as many years. Fourth-round rookie Miles Killebrew could wind up starting.
» The Bears were the anti-Lions in this exercise. The more I looked at their roster, the more I liked it. If Kevin White is healthy, the Bears have a terrific wideout corps. The offensive line makes more sense with Kyle Long at guard and the team added pieces on the interior with a key draft pick (Cody Whitehair) and free-agent pickups for depth.
» The defense was among the league's youngest last year and looks much deeper now. No. 9 overall pick Leonard Floyd isn't listed as a starter, but he should play a ton on passing downs. Lamarr Houston can move inside on those downs for flexibility. Third-round pick Jonathan Bullard could also get in the pass-rushing mix. Eddie Goldman and Danny Trevathan are all underrated starters. Pernell McPhee is a quiet star.