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Last week, executives in personnel for each of the four NFC North Division teams were asked by the Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn to rank the top three players in the division at each position. They were not permitted to vote for their own players, and none of the comments that follow was made by a scout about a player on his own team. A first-place vote was worth three points, a second-place vote was worth two and a third-place vote was worth one. An asterisk denotes a unanimous (nine-point) selection.


NO. 1 WIDE RECEIVER: Calvin Johnson* (Det), 9 points. Others: Percy Harvin (Minn) and Brandon Marshall (Chi), 6; Randall Cobb (GB), 3.

Johnson broke Jerry Rice's NFL record for receiving yards in a season. "If he was on another team we'd be talking about him as an MVP candidate," one scout said. "Just rare combination of size and explosiveness." Marshall made a strong debut in Chicago. "He was phenomenal as well," one scout said. "He's also big, strong and physical." Harvin lasted just nine games before an ankle injury ended his season. "He was very dangerous every time he touched the ball," one scout said. Cobb led one of the NFL's finest receiving corps in receptions (80) and receiving yards (954). "He will continue to be that gadget guy that is being moved around like Harvin," one scout said. "I see him more as a complement because I don't see him as a great outside receiver."

LEFT TACKLE: Matt Kalil* (Minn), 9. Others: Marshall Newhouse (GB), 6; Ja'Marcus Webb (Chi), 5; Jeff Backus (Det). 4.

Kalil became the first rookie LT to win in the 19-year history of the team. One scout said he was surprised he didn't make the Pro Bowl. Another called him the best O-lineman in the division. "Really light on his feet," said a third. "Does things real easy. You can tell he will be a phenomenal player." Newhouse tied for third in 2011. "He has good feet," one scout said. "I like his movement. I didn't think he was that much of a physical run blocker. Most of the time he needs help. He's a finesse guy." Webb improved slightly in his third year as a starter. Backus, 35, was last after being first the last two years. "You could see he's clearly on the decline," one scout said. "You could work speed to power moves on him. Gets by with his know-how and grit."

LEFT GUARD: Rob Sims (Det), 8. Others: T.J. Lang (GB), 7; Charlie Johnson (Minn), 6; Chris Spencer (Chi), 3.

Sims has been first team three times and started every game since being acquired from Seattle for a fifth-round pick in April 2010. "He does have good athleticism and is a strong, physical guy," one scout said. "You get in a phone booth and he does a good job engaging and tying guys up." Lang's promising season was interrupted by a month-long stay at RT. "He's what you want at guard: big, tough, strong, smart," one scout said. "Will struggle some at the edges against quickness." Johnson fared better inside than he did at LT a year ago. Spencer couldn't overcome an acute strength deficiency.

CENTER: John Sullivan* (Minn), 9. Others: Roberto Garza (Chi), 6; Dominic Raiola (Det), 5; Jeff Saturday (GB), 4.

Last in the voting as a second-year starter in 2010, Sullivan was unanimous after also making first team last year. "He is the anchor of that line," one scout said. "In the inside runs he can handle a nose one-on-one and get movement. Seal him off. Smart kid. Good player." Old standbys Garza and Raiola were competent. "Raiola relied mostly on savvy," one scout said. "Scrappy. He has struggled with a lot of power down his middle and also against some quickness. He's on the decline, but he can give them one or two more years." Two scouts said Saturday had been in deep decline even in Indianapolis. "He was worse than Raiola," said one. "I thought he was done two years ago. Guys on the ground can't play."

RIGHT GUARD: Josh Sitton* (GB), 9. Others: Lance Louis (Chi), 6; Stephen Peterman (Det), 5; Brandon Fusco (Minn), 4.

Since becoming a starter in 2009, Sitton has dominated the position with four firsts, including three straight unanimously. "His movement is not that great but he's a big, powerful guy," one scout said. "Hard to get around because of his technique and his grit. He has had a couple (bad) moments in pass pro when you can get on his edge." Louis, who blew out his knee in Game 11, was called the best of the Bears' poor group of O-linemen. Peterman is the consummate overachiever. Fusco, a first-year starter, lacks some strength but is athletic and increasingly functional.

RIGHT TACKLE: Bryan Bulaga (GB) and Phil Loadholt (Minn), 8. Others: Gosder Cherilus (Det), 5; Gabe Carimi (Chi), 3.

Bulaga, a unanimous choice in '11, shared honors with the improved Loadholt. A first-team pick in '09, Loadholt finished blocks better this season. "Maybe it was the contract year," said one scout, referring to Loadholt's expiring contract. "He was looking at that carrot. He always has struggled on back-side cutoffs and getting beat across his face. But he was much more consistent in pass pro and being able to widen and anchor. He can be inconsistent with his (stunt) pickups. Overall, he had a real good year." Cherilus also will be an unrestricted free agent. "He's not bad," one scout said. "He's aggressive, physical. He tries to set the tone offensively." Carimi, a bust at RT, was shunted to guard in Game 12.

TIGHT END: Jermichael Finley (GB) and Kyle Rudolph (Minn), 8. Others: Brandon Pettigrew (Det), 5; Kellen Davis (Chi), 3.

A unanimous selection last year, Finley tied with Rudolph this time. "He's the same guy," said one scout. "Thing that bothered me more than anything was his mouth. He needs to just go play football. He's a good receiver." Rudolph became the Vikings' leading receiver as a first-year starter. "He doesn't enamor you with his speed or quickness but the guy knows how to get open," one scout said. "Hands are consistent. He's a reliable move-the-chains receiver and a mismatch target on the goal line." Pettigrew had a down year, dropping too many passes. Davis was a tremendous disappointment. "He just can't make the tough catch," one scout said.

NO. 2 WIDE RECEIVER: Jordy Nelson* (GB), 9. Others: Alshon Jeffery (Chi) and Michael Jenkins (Minn), 6; Titus Young (Det), 3.

Nelson was first-team No. 4 WR for two years and a unanimous pick as No. 2 the last two years. "He just had those injuries this year," one scout said. Jeffery also missed extensive time with injuries, Jenkins was mediocre at best and Young became persona non grata in Detroit down the stretch because of his erratic behavior. "Jeffery does a good job playing jump ball but he struggles with contact down the field," one scout said. "He's faster than what you give him credit for. Jenkins is kind of straight-line. Young is a talented player but hasn't really put it together."

QUARTERBACK: Aaron Rodgers* (GB), 9. Others: Jay Cutler (Chi) and Matthew Stafford (Det), 6; Christian Ponder (Minn), 3.

In five seasons as a starter, Rodgers has been unanimous four times and shared the top spot with Brett Favre in '09. "He's probably the best quarterback in the league," one scout said. "There's not much you can say. Regardless of who their line is or who's injured, he's still productive. He's accurate, athletic, smart. There's not much weakness in his game, if any." Cutler has gone third, second, third and second the last four years. "Both Stafford and Cutler struggle from poor decision-making at times, which leads to turnovers," one scout said. "They're both pretty good. Cutler is a tough guy; you can't take that away from him. He stood in there and kept battling. And Stafford has all the tools you want." Ponder was last on every ballot for the second year. "It might be a little too big for him," said one scout. "More of a run-around type player and makes poor decisions in the pocket."

RUNNING BACK: Adrian Peterson* (Minn), 9. Others: Matt Forte (Chi), 7; Mikel Leshoure (Det), 5; Alex Green (GB), 3.

In six years, Peterson has been unanimous five times and tied for the top spot in '11. "Peterson is on a whole other level," one scout said. "He looks better now than he ever looked, which is crazy coming off that knee. Just a tone-setter. Normally in this day and age you don't center your team around a running back. But he's one that you do." Forte is a versatile, productive player. Leshoure's debut season went OK. "He won't be a great one, I don't think," one scout said. "Doesn't have that juice that you like. But he's big. Runs hard. Pretty good strength and power. He has a chance to really help their run game, which has been so lacking." Green bore the brunt of the run game in Green Bay after Cedric Benson went down. "There's hope," one scout said. "He's a big kid with pretty good feet and vision. Just not real dynamic."

FULLBACK: Jerome Felton* (Minn), 9. Others: John Kuhn (GB), 7; Evan Rodriguez (Chi), 5; Will Heller (Det), 3.

Felton, a Pro Bowl choice, made the first team in '10 when he played for the Lions. "He showed better toughness at the point of attack than he showed with Detroit and Carolina," one scout said. "You can see him uproot a linebacker out of the hole. Good to adjust on perimeter blocking. The Pro Bowl got that right." Kuhn's versatility keeps him afloat. "He's just a versatile, steady guy who can do everything just OK," one scout said.

NO. 3 WIDE RECEIVER: James Jones* (GB), 9. Others: Earl Bennett (Chi), 6; Jerome Simpson (Minn), 5; Ryan Broyles (Det), 4.

Jones had his finest season. He tied for first as No. 3 WR in '07, was a unanimous No. 4 in '11, and unanimous No. 3 in '10 and '12. "He's made plays ever since he's been there," one scout said. "He's just not having as many drops now. He's got sneaky speed. He's not very fast but he can get on top of you. He has improved as a route runner and can make the moment-of-truth catch." When healthy, Bennett is a skilled, courageous slot receiver. Simpson, a former Bengal, dropped way too many.

NO. 4 WIDE RECEIVER: Devin Hester* (Chi), 9. Others: Jarius Wright (Minn), 6; Mike Thomas (Det), 5; Donald Driver (GB), 4.

Hester didn't do much. "He's a situational guy that hasn't been very productive," one scout said. "I don't think the quarterback (Cutler) trusts him. He has had some drops." Wright, a rookie, "is explosive and has a lot of up side," said one scout. Driver, 37, had six first-team finishes either as a No. 1 or No. 2. Now he almost never plays. "It's about that time," one scout said.

NO. 2 TIGHT END: Tony Scheffler (Det), 8. Others: John Carlson (Minn), 7; Tom Crabtree (GB), 5; Matt Spaeth (Chi), 4.

Scheffler, a flex TE only, wasn't as consistent. "He is a really talented athlete," one scout said. Carlson came from Seattle in March for $25 million over five years but has just eight receptions. "I don't think he's ever gotten back from the injuries," one scout said. Crabtree is reliable. "He's found a nice home there (Green Bay)," one scout said.

NO. 6 OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: C-G Evan Dietrich-Smith (GB), and T Riley Reiff (Det), 8. Others: G Geoff Schwartz (Minn) and T Jonathan Scott (Chi), 4.

Dietrich-Smith is a repeat choice. "Eventually they have to find better than him," one scout said. "He has developed pretty good for them. I thought he was done when he went to Seattle but he's back and doing all right." Reiff, the 23rd pick in April, toiled as an extra TE much of the season and undoubtedly will be asked to replace Backus next year. "But they might have to think about him being their next left tackle," one scout said. "He's kind of a short-armed guy (33ΒΌ inches)." Scott came off the street and gave a good account of himself as Carimi's late replacement at RT.

NO. 2 QUARTERBACK: Joe Webb (Minn), 8. Others: Shaun Hill (Det), 7; Jason Campbell (Chi), 6; Graham Harrell (GB), 3.

Webb, a sixth-round pick in '10, played in one of 15 games. "He's a phenomenal athlete more than he is a quarterback right now," one scout said. Hill, 32, threw just 13 passes but is respected. "Knows where to go with the ball," one scout said. "Doesn't have a big arm but has good touch and timing." Campbell made one start and relieved in a few others but failed to impress. As for Harrell, one scout said, "He didn't look good when I saw him this summer. If Aaron went down the Packers would have been in trouble, from what I've seen. Their situation was very similar to Chicago's last year except Aaron stayed upright."

NO. 2 RUNNING BACK: Joique Bell (Det), 7. Others: Michael Bush (Chi) and Toby Gerhart (Minn), 6; James Starks (GB), 5.

Bell, from Wayne State (Mich.), beat out former starter Kevin Smith to become Leshoure's primary backup. "Been productive every time he's had the ball," one scout said. "Physical and catches the ball." Bush gave the Bears what Forte hadn't in short-yardage and goal-line. Gerhart caddied for Peterson. "He's a big, ol' physical kid," one scout said. "Four-minute type runner. He gets first downs." Starks endured another injury-riddled season. "He can play on all three downs," one scout said. "Physical, one-cut guy. Good hands. Aggressive. Pass pro is the area he is inconsistent."


LEFT END: Cliff Avril* (Det), 9. Others: Brian Robison (Minn), 7; Corey Wootton (Chi), 5; C.J. Wilson (GB), 3.

Avril, a first-team pick three times, was unanimous the last two years. "He's a pass rusher in the Dwight Freeney mold because he is so explosive off the ball," one scout said. "He had a good year, but not the year he had last year." Robison is another exceptional athlete with a non-stop style. Wootton was moved ahead of Israel Idonije in Game 10. "He's got size and deceptive athletic ability," one scout said. "Plays hard. The kid has a chance to be a pretty good player." Wilson probably was the Packers' second-best D-lineman against the run. "Good, steady run defender," one scout said. "Doesn't give you much as a pass rusher."

NOSE TACKLE: Nick Fairley* (Det), 9. Others: Letroy Guion (Minn) and Ryan Pickett (GB), 6; Stephen Paea (Chi), 3.

Fairley replaced injured Corey Williams early and had a "coming out party," according to one scout. Said another: "He was very disruptive. He's inconsistent with his gap control and not real disciplined at times, but very athletic, strong, powerful. He can run." Guion probably had his best year, too. "He has some explosiveness to him," one scout said. "Thing is, he plays hard and then he disappears." Pickett was, well, Pickett. "He doesn't give you anything as a pass rusher but he is a good space-eater," one scout said of Pickett, who has never made first team. Paea stopped the run adequately but disappointed as a pass rusher.

THREE-TECHNIQUE TACKLE: Ndamukong Suh (Det), 8. Others: Henry Melton (Chi), 6; B.J. Raji (GB) and Kevin Williams (Minn), 5.

Suh was unanimous in 2010, tied for first in '11 and fell one vote shy of unanimous this year. "He still hasn't regained that rookie-year form," one scout said. "There were games he'd really show up and be dominant, and there were games he was just kind of being out there being a guy." Added another scout: "I think he had a good year. He's hard to handle. Not always disciplined with his lane integrity but he can push the pocket. He can win with quickness or power, and he knows how to finish." Raji played some on the nose as well. "He's not as strong as Pickett at the point of attack," one scout said. "But Raji's base is better and he plays with more leverage. He still has good pass-rush ability. He tires late and starts to play high." Williams, 32, isn't the same player who made the first team seven times. However, he's durable and still a threat.

RIGHT END: Clay Matthews (GB) and Julius Peppers (Chi), 8. Others: Jared Allen (Minn), 5; Kyle Vanden Bosch (Det), 3.

Other than Vanden Bosch, who at 34 still gives fantastic effort but no longer makes plays, this position is loaded. Matthews, said one scout, "just plays hard every down." Peppers disappears for stretches but his talent, even at 32, is undeniable. "He is a phenomenal specimen and athlete," one scout said. Allen, 30, never stops rushing the passer even though he has played all year with a bad shoulder. "He's still in his prime," one scout said. "He still has speed off (the ball). Teams have to honor him. They will double or chip him."

STRONG-SIDE LINEBACKER: Chad Greenway* (Minn), 9. Others: Justin Durant (Det), 6; Erik Walden (GB), 5; Nick Roach (Chi), 4.

A fine player for seven seasons, Greenway made the first team for the first time. "Good player, little bit below the elite," one scout said. "Not the most physical guy but he's willing. He will attack blockers at the point of attack, try to shed, come off and make tackles. He is highly productive." There was a large drop-off to Durant, a tough guy, and Walden, who like Durant will be unrestricted in March. "Walden had his best year," one scout said. "He plays with good leverage in the run game and he has improved as a rusher. Doesn't have that twitch to get the edge but he can push and power through." Roach, a Milwaukee native, is undersized but almost always in the right place.

MIDDLE LINEBACKER: A.J. Hawk (GB) and Stephen Tulloch (Det), 7. Others: Brian Urlacher (Chi), 6; Jasper Brinkley (Minn), 4.

Hawk, second twice and third four times, broke through to the first team when Urlacher struggled on a bad knee. "I've never been a big fan and am still not," one scout said. "But I think he's playing a little better." Though a shade under 5 feet 11 inches, Tulloch led the Lions' defense. "You look at this guy's body and you say, 'How does this guy move?' " one scout said. "But he moves well. He's smart and has a nose for the football." Three scouts said Urlacher, 34, just couldn't move. He had made the first team 10 times in 11 years. "It's just that knee," one scout said. "He's a guy that can't slip blocks anymore. He's never been the most physical guy. He sees everything. He can run." Brinkley, a first-year starter, did well. "He was much better in coverage than he's been in the past," one scout said. "His awareness is improving. He's a much better communicator."

WEAK-SIDE LINEBACKER: Lance Briggs* (Chi), 9. Others: DeAndre Levy (Det), 6; Erin Henderson (Minn), 5; Brad Jones (GB), 4.

Briggs made it for the 10th straight year, including five times unanimous. "Still playing at a high level," one scout said. "You see the same player week in, week out. Can do things in coverage that a lot of linebackers can't do. Where he may be limited athletically he's smart enough to get himself in position." Levy was up and down, especially as a hitter. Henderson is a finesse player. "Jones was average to me," one scout said. "He plays hard and attacks downhill in the run game, but I don't think he's real physical. He doesn't really know how to use his hands to shed and get off blocks. Better rushing than anything."

LEFT CORNERBACK: Tim Jennings (Chi) and Tramon Williams (GB), 8. Others: Antoine Winfield (Minn), 5; Chris Houston (Det), 3.

Jennings had his finest season. "He had a Pro Bowl year but he's a beneficiary of a very good pass rush and he's got great hands," one scout said. "It's kind of like that year (2005) Vasher had all those picks (eight). Nathan wasn't that good but he had hands and balls skills." Williams, a unanimous choice in '10 and '11, was first-team nickel back in '08 and '09. "He can match up and cover people," one scout said. "He has good natural cover skills. I don't think his on-the-ball production was as good this year as it has been. Maybe that's because not a lot of teams target him and go after (Casey) Hayward or (Sam) Shields. He's never going to be a good tackler." Winfield, 35, had a bounce-back season. Houston gives substantial cushion and lacks discipline.

RIGHT CORNERBACK: Charles Tillman* (Chi), 9. Others: Chris Cook (Minn) and Sam Shields (GB), 6; Jacob Lacey (Det), 3.

Tillman had four seconds and five thirds before breaking through to the first team. "He just has that way of knocking that dang ball out," one scout said. "I've got to give him his due. He's got so many turnovers. If you try to beat him deep he's too fast and long. You need to run away from him. That's where he has some limitations with his hips." Cook sat out six games with a broken arm; Shields missed six with a bad ankle. "Shields is fast and talented," one scout said. "Seems like they may trust him a little more than they have." Lacey, a former Colt, tried to plug the yawning hole at cornerback in Detroit. The Lions haven't had a CB make first team without a tie since Dre' Bly in 2003.

STRONG SAFETY: Morgan Burnett (GB) and Major Wright (Chi), 8. Others: Jamarca Sanford (Minn) and Ricardo Silva (Det), 4.

Second at FS last year, Burnett moved to SS and made the first team. "He's an athletic, rangy safety with good ball skills," one scout said. "Not always a great tackler but I think he's improved." Wright, who was drafted four slots after Burnett in the 2010 third round, also had his best year. "He got better in the deep part of the field," one scout said. "He's pretty physical in the run game." Sanford is a reckless hitter with limitations in space. Silva is tough, too.

FREE SAFETY: Louis Delmas (Det) and Harrison Smith (Minn), 8. Others: Chris Conte (Chi), 5; M.D. Jennings (GB), 3.

Delmas missed half the season with knee problems. It was his fourth straight season as No. 1. "Little more flash than substance," one scout said. Smith, a rookie, became the Vikings' best safety since Darren Sharper made first team in '08. "He's a little tight, a little leggy," one scout said. "But he's got pretty good awareness. He can run. He closes really well. He will light you up if he gets a hold of you." Conte showed range but needs to get stronger. "Young, athletic, pretty instinctive," one scout said. "But he will miss some tackles in space and will get run through." Jennings took over when Charles Woodson was injured in Game 7. "He's just so lean," one scout said. "He's still a slow blinker on the back end but he can run and he's athletic. Just not real physical."

NO. 3 DEFENSIVE END: Everson Griffen* (Minn), 9. Others: Shea McClellin (Chi), 7; Jerel Worthy (GB) and Willie Young (Det), 4.

Griffen spent most of his season playing inside on passing downs. "He is borderline freak of an athlete," one scout said. "He can play the gunner on special teams and rush the passer inside or outside. Strong." McClellin, a first-round draft choice in April, made slow but sure progress as a DE. "He needs to get stronger but he does have some pass rush," one scout said. "He plays hard. He can run." Worthy is off to a slow start. "Just OK," said one scout. "Inconsistent in line in the run game. He doesn't have a whole lot of pass rush."

NO. 3 DEFENSIVE TACKLE: Fred Evans (Minn) and Sammie Hill (Det), 7; Mike Neal (GB), 6; Nate Collins (Chi), 4.

Evans, a Viking backup since '07, had a solid year. "He's like a forgotten guy," one scout said. "But when you put the tape on he plays OK. He holds the point pretty good." Hill probably played better off the bench than when he had to play a large number of snaps. Neal started fulfilling his potential down the stretch. "He played well enough," one scout said. "His thing is injuries. You can see he has good strength. Plays hard. Just (adequate) as a rusher. I don't see him as a starter, just a rotational guy."

UTILITY DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Israel Idonije* (Chi), 9. Others: Christian Ballard (Minn), Mike Daniels (GB) and Lawrence Jackson (Det), 5.

Idonije, 32, is widely admired by scouts. "He can still rush the passer," said one. Ballard isn't a bad bull rusher, and Jackson would be even more effective if he would ever just cut loose. "You like how Daniels plays," one scout said. "He can be overpowered at the point of attack but I like his quickness and his motor."

NO. 4 LINEBACKER: Geno Hayes (Chi) and Dezman Moses (GB), 7. Others: Ashlee Palmer (Det), 6; Marvin Mitchell (Minn), 4.

Hayes, a former Buccaneer, still runs all right but isn't a contact hitter. A rookie free agent, Moses made some waves. "The kid flashed some good speed and quickness off the edge," one scout said. "You really like his motor. His strength was good at the point of attack. The kid keeps coming."

NO. 3 CORNERBACK: Casey Hayward* (GB), 9. Others: Kelvin Hayden (Chi) and A.J. Jefferson (Minn), 6; Jonte Green (Det), 3.

Hayward picked off six interceptions as a slot cornerback. "He's productive - same thing in college," one scout said. "He just comes down with the ball. He's not a top-end speed guy outside so I think he probably fits a little better inside. He has played well." Hayden covered better in front of him than deep.

NO. 3 SAFETY: Mistral Raymond* (Minn), 9. Others: Jerron McMillian (GB), 7; Don Carey (Det), 5; Craig Steltz (Chi), 3.

Raymond started the first three games before giving way to Sanford. "He has an edge to him," one scout said. "He will come down and strike you. I don't think he's the most instinctive or disciplined player on the back end." McMillian played extensively after Game 1. "Tough kid," one scout said. "Short. I don't really know what he's going to be. Decent blitzer. You worry about him in the deep part of the field."


KICKER: Blair Walsh* (Minn), 9. Others: Robbie Gould (Chi) and Jason Hanson (Det), 6; Mason Crosby (GB), 3.

A sixth-round draft choice, Walsh made everyone forget Ryan Longwell by making 91.4% of his FGs, including an unprecedented 9 of 9 from 50-plus. "He is something else," one scout said. "He's a weapon." Gould, who finished first the past four years, made 84%. Hanson, 42, made 88.6% but failed in the clutch against Houston. He has been No. 1 in the division nine times in his 21-year career. As for Crosby, who made 61.3%, one scout said, "They kick in the elements all the time. I don't know if anything's really happened to him. I still think he's a decent player."

PUNTER: Tim Masthay (GB), 8. Others: Chris Kluwe (Minn), 7; Adam Podlesh (Chi), 6; Nick Harris (Det), 3.

After taking second to Kluwe in '10 and Podlesh in '11, Masthay got the nod. "He has Hester's number," one scout said. "I haven't seen too many guys pin him into the sideline like that." The net averages were close: Kluwe (39.8), Podlesh (39.4), Masthay (39.3) and Harris (37.2).

PUNT RETURNER: Randall Cobb* (GB), 9. Others: Devin Hester (Chi), 7; Marcus Sherels (Minn), 5; Stefan Logan (Det), 3.

Cobb (9.4-yard average) was a unanimous pick. That's a very big deal because Hester (8.8) had been No. 1 each of the last six years, and a unanimous choice four times. "Cobb hasn't had the production this year but you worry about him," one scout said. "No question. He scares you." Logan (5-6, 180), 31, had by far his poorest season. "His lack of size is one of the things that finally caught up to him," one scout said. "Just wasn't very good."

KICKOFF RETURNER: Percy Harvin* (Minn), 9. Others: Devin Hester (Chi), 7; Randall Cobb (GB), 5; Stefan Logan (Det), 3.

Harvin averaged 35.9 in nine games. "They can say what they want to say about him being a bad guy in the locker room," one scout said. "But good night, can he play football." Logan's average dipped to 21.3. "His confidence is not where it was," one scout said. "His blocking wasn't as good as it's been in the past. The kid still runs hard. His biggest thing has been his decision-making."

SPECIAL TEAMS ACE: CB Jarrett Bush (GB), 7. Others: LB Larry Dean (Minn) and LB Ashlee Palmer (Det), 5; WR Eric Weems (Chi), 4; DE Everson Griffen (Minn), 2; CB Zack Bowman (Chi), 1.

Bush tied for fourth in '10 and tied for second last year. "He's a good gunner," one scout said. The last Packer to top this list by himself was LB Lamont Hollinquest in '98. The undersized Dean flew around. Weems, a capable kick returner in Atlanta, impressed with his resounding hustle. "He's almost a pest because he stays after it," one scout said. "You call him a jerk because he's so tenacious about it. If you've got him, you're happy you got him."

January 6th, 2013, 5:08 pm
Veteran NFL Head Coach

Joined: February 11th, 2005, 3:01 pm
Posts: 5117
Location: WSU
I always like this report put out of Wisconsin because it reflects the scouts opinions of the Lions players rather than the fan or media perspective. Probably is a more accurate representation of what the teams true needs.

QB - Looks like Stafford still has done enough to impress scouts. Not sure how Joe Webb could be ahead of Shaun Hill and Jason Campbell especially after not taking any QB snaps in the regular season. I like Hill as the best backup in the league.

RB - Maybe there is some hope for Leshoure if he regains some explosiveness this offseason. Scout reviews were mixed on him. At minimum we have a cheap and effective backup in Bell who was rated higher than the much more expensive Michael Bush.

TE - Pettigrew only ahead of Davis and surpassed by second year player Rudolph. Position may be starting to become a need again. Scheffler was rated high among the backups but he s used more as an addl WR than as a TE. Heller rated low as a FB but that wasnt really his position.

OL - Everyone in the bottom half except for Sims who scouts thought had a fine season. Sounds like they dont think much of Backus or Peterman at this point. Cherilus and Raiola considered serviceable but not really assets. Reiff got a good rating but they seemed to have some doubts about him as a LT.

WR - Calvin Johnson and nothing else. Position is a big need.

Defense :

DE - Avril rated as tops at his position even ahead of Robison who I think has been coming on pretty strong. Scouts agree that KVB is no longer a viable starter. backup end Willie Young struggles are confirmed. Lawrence Jackson remains a quality rotational player. The Lions offseason hinges on what they do at this position.

DT - The Lions are good to go with Suh and Fairley but scouts confirmed neither play with discipline in there responsibilites. Sammie Hill also a good rotational player but not someone who can be relied upon to step up and start in case of injury.

OLB - Durant and Levy both above average in the division but Levy criticized for being more of a finesse type player though I thought he made more downhill plays this year. Both as free agents, it will be interesting to see what the Lions do at this position.

MLB - Tulloch tied for first. Lions fans complaints not backed up by the scouts but he didnt get a glowing commendation either.

CB - Houston rated surprisingly low, I think the comment that he gives cushion may be more of a factor of the Lions lacking anyone at safety and not truly an indictment on Houston. Still, there is a chance that Houston s price may not be as high as some of us on this board might think. Lacey obviously did not belong as a starter. Green wasnt intended to be a NO 3 CB but still he s not as far ahead in his development as Lions coaches have boasted to media at times.

S - Delmas still respected by scouts but I agree with the "more flash than substance" comment. needs to get on field. Carey rated decently as a depth player. Silva somehow qualified as a starter and he ranked in the bottom of the league. Huge need position for the team.

K - Hanson still getting it done.
P - Harris not an asset, barely servicable as an injury replacement. The other Punters in the division are much better.

KR/PR - Scouts confirming the joke that was the Lions staff putting Logan on the field this season.

My interpretation of needs:

S (no viable players), DE (need it to be a plus position in this defense), OL (they arent very good and are declining), WR (need this to be a plus position), CB (at least need one of last years draftees to step up), KR (logan is a disaster), P (harris puts them at a disadvantage), LB (probably need to make at least one move at this position), RB (still some hope for Leshoure)

January 7th, 2013, 9:01 pm
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