Predicting First-Round Picks by Bears' NFC North Rivals in 2024 Draft

Predicting who the Chicago Bears' NFC North rivals may choose in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft.
Aug 13, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, left, and general
Aug 13, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, left, and general / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The NFC North will enter the 2024 season as one of the league's strongest divisions once again. While the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are clear contenders, the Chicago Bears could possibly join them following a very busy offseason.

Given how heated this division heat is projecting to be in 2024, Bears fans are right to keep an eye on their rivals in the upcoming draft.

With that in mind, let's try to predict who each of Chicago's division mates will select next Thursday.

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings are the likeliest NFC North team to make a big move on draft night. Minnesota is in desperate need of a new franchise quarterback following Kirk Cousins' exit, and this class provides plenty of options.

The Bears will probably prevent Caleb Williams from becoming a Viking, but the trio of Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye of J.J. McCarthy could all be targets for Kevin O'Connell's squad.

Considering the Washington Commanders (No. 2) and New England Patriots (No. 3) also need QBs, Minnesota has to move up from No. 11 if it's to land one of the top four. That's why a trade with the Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 -- who remain committed to Kyle Murray -- is a legit possibility in Round 1.

The Vikes could leverage their two first-rounders this year (No. 11 and 23) in a package to move up with Arizona and select McCarthy, who seems like the probable QB4 of this draft. That'd make two rookie starting QBs in the NFC North and set the stage for some exciting Bears-Vikings showdowns in the years to come.

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay heads into the draft as a threat to make a splashy move thanks to a war chest that features 11 picks. This includes mutliple selections in the second and third rounds to pair with their top choice at No. 25.

That could make GM Brian Gutekunst very aggressive in terms of moving up if there's a prospect he really has his eyes on. And it'd be no surprise if Cooper DeJean is someone he covets.

The Iowa defensive back's draft stock continues to soar as the event approaches. His playmaking for the Hawkeyes over the past two seasons -- including 7 interceptions (three of which were returned for TDs), 13 passes defended and 5.0 tackles for loss -- already made him a fringe Day 1 pick.

However, his recent pro day that showcased incredible athleticism has made him ever more of a draft darling, which might make him more of a mid-first-round pick than someone who lands in the early 20s.

Considering the Packers' long-term future at cornerback is up in the air, DeJean seems like an obvious target. Even if the hope of him excelling at CB doesn't pan out at the next level, he could easily slot in at safety opposite of marquee signing Xavier McKinney as well.

With Williams likely headed to Chicago to lead a revamped offense, and a possible new QB in Minnesota as well, the Packers would be wise to invest in the secondary.

Detroit Lions

The Lions are one of the biggest wild cards heading into the draft given their unpredictable draft strategy.

GM Brad Holmes isn't shy to make bold moves for guys he rates highly, and sometimes those players aren't the ones the rest of the league is prioritizing, like reaching for running back Jahmyr Gibbes and linebacker Jack Campbell in the first round last year (which both paid off).

Detroit very well could take the best player available route in 2024 at No. 29, which puts cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry in play.

The Alabama standout was once in line to be a top-10 pick before his numbers slid in 2023. However, there's no denying McKinstry's strong ballhawking skills, as evidenced by the 22 passes defended he racked up over the past two years alone.

With a full-blown arms race ongoing in the NFC North, possesing a strong secondary is serious need to keep up with the firepower. The Lions' passing defense was one of their major overall weaknesses this past season after ranking sixth in most yards allowed, so adding young talent to this group who could help is key.

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