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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Checking In On The NFC North

Later today I will put together a more complete look at the Detroit Lions' 2011 NFL Draft grades, and this week I will hand out grades for each individual pick. In the meantime, let's take a look at SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft grades for the Lions and the other NFC North teams.

The Lions received an A- for their 2011 NFL Draft. Only the New Orleans Saints got a higher grade in the NFC. The reasoning for the grade is that although the Lions didn't take an offensive tackle that can come in and make an impact in 2011, they did add weapons on offense in Titus Young and Mikel Leshoure. On defense, the Nick Fairley pick makes the Lions' D-line one of the most talented in all of football, and the Doug Hogue selection is a "quality find in the fifth round."

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers both received B+ grades. Chicago addressed a big need on the offensive line by taking Gabe Carimi, and the Packers added quite a bit of talent with guys like Derek Sherrod, Davon House and Randall Cobb.

The Minnesota Vikings received the worst grade in the NFC North, a B-. Christian Ponder is described as a "lower-ceiling, higher-floor" type of player that could be productive for the Vikings early on in his career. Other guys like Kyle Rudolph, Christian Ballard and Brandon Burton were solid picks, but the overall draft is only a B-. In the future, how people remember the Vikings' draft will likely come down to how well Ponder plays.

For more coverage of the 2011 NFL Draft, check out Mocking The Draft, SB Nation's NFL Draft hub, SB Nation Detroit's NFL Draft StoryStream and Pride Of Detroit's 2011 NFL Draft archive.