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 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team 
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Post Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
Article by writer from MJS based on anonymous votes from scouts of the NFC north teams, the quotes are from scouts and none are commenting on players from their own teams.

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SPECIAL TEAMS

KICKER: Mason Crosby (GB) and Robbie Gould (Chi), 8. Others: Jason Hanson (Det) and Ryan Longwell (Minn), 4.

Comments: Crosby has been looking up at the veterans for four years, finishing last three times and third once. His finest season brought him a tie with Gould, who gained at least a share for the fifth straight year. Hanson has nine firsts in his 20-year career; Longwell has four firsts in his 15-year career. "Longwell's good," one scout said. "His leg just isn't as strong as it used to be." All four made at least 80%.

PUNTER: Adam Podlesh* (Chi), 9. Others: Tim Masthay (GB), 7; Chris Kluwe (Minn), 5; Ryan Donahue (Det), 3.

Comments: Podlesh, a former Jaguar, easily had the top net at 40.1 yards. "I like his leg strength," said one scout. The other nets were 38.3 for Masthay, 37.4 for Kluwe and 35.6 for Donahue. "I thought a couple years ago Kluwe would be on his way to being one of those perennial top-five punters," one scout said. "But he's so inconsistent. I don't know what it is but he should be kicking better in that dome."

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

Comments: Nagged by leg injuries since midseason, Hester was dynamite early and averaged 17.3. "Still scared to death to kick to him," one scout said. "He's better as a punt returner than a kickoff returner." Logan (8.4) and Cobb (11.3) were dangerous, too.

KICKOFF RETURNER: Percy Harvin* (Minn), 9. Others: Randall Cobb (GB) and Devin Hester (Chi), 6; Stefan Logan (Det), 3.

Comments: Harvin had only about half as many returns (16) as the others but won the vote for the third straight year with a 32.5 average. "He's a special guy back there," one scout said. "Too bad he has those migraines and all that. Never know what kind of player he could be if he practiced and played all the time. He is fearless." As for Cobb, one scout said, "He's got some slipperiness to him. You don't get good, clean hits on him."

SPECIAL TEAMS ACE: Corey Graham* (Chi), 9. Others: Jarrett Bush (GB) and Eric Frampton (Minn), 4; Everson Griffen (Minn) and John Wendling (Det), 2; Rashied Davis (Det), Everson Griffen (Minn) and Ashlee Palmer (Det), 1.

Comments: Since scouts began picking an all-division team for the Journal Sentinel in 1994 back when it was the NFC Central, Graham is the fourth unanimous ace. The others were Chicago's Larry Whigham in 2001 and Brendon Ayanbadejo in '07, and Minnesota's Heath Farwell in '09. "First one down on kickoffs and is very disruptive," one scout said, referring to Graham. "Knows how to leverage and has a nose for the ball. He's especially good as a gunner on punt coverage. He has a unique ability to locate, squeeze and finish."

OFFENSE

NO. 1 WIDE RECEIVER: Calvin Johnson* (Det), 9 points. Others: Greg Jennings (GB), 7; Percy Harvin (Minn), 5; Johnny Knox (Chi), 3.

Comments: Johnson and Jennings tied last year. "Johnson is the most complete receiver in the NFL," one scout said. "There is no way you can match up with him. Outside, inside or in the slot. There is no one to match against this guy other than Darrelle Revis." Jennings exited Dec. 11 with a sprained knee. "He's as good as they come," another scout said. "There's so many arguments whether he should have made the Pro Bowl ahead of Jordy Nelson. They got two really good ones, that's for sure." Harvin has 77 catches, twice as many as any Viking. "If you had a category for best football player in the NFL, Harvin would be that guy," one scout said. Knox was something of a disappointment.

LEFT TACKLE: Jeff Backus (Det), 8. Others: Charlie Johnson (Minn), 6; Marshall Newhouse (GB) and J'Marcus Webb (Chi), 5.

Comments: Backus, who was first in 2002 when GB's Chad Clifton was injured, finished first for the second straight year. "He played with better technique than in the past," one scout said. "But you could see signs of age becoming a factor." Johnson was signed from the Colts after Bryant McKinnie was cut. "It was a definite downgrade from McKinnie," another scout said. "Johnson's not the most powerful guy at the point. We felt that was a matchup we could take advantage of." Newhouse replaced the injured Clifton in Week 6. "He held his own," a third scout said. "They help him a lot. He did better than I thought he would." Webb moved from RT to LT and treaded water. "His length saves him," a fourth scout said. "You've got to make him move his feet or redirect."

LEFT GUARD: Steve Hutchinson (Minn) and Rob Sims (Det), 8. Others: T.J. Lang (GB) and Chris Williams (Chi), 4.

Comments: Sims edged Hutchinson in 2010. It was the fifth first-team berth for Hutchinson in his six seasons. "Hutchinson started to show his age (34) a little bit but he's still got a lot of power," one scout said. "He was OK." Sims came from Seattle for the equivalent of a sixth-round pick in April 2010. "I have no idea why they traded him," one scout said. "This guy can play." Lang, a first-year starter, was adequate. "Steady," one scout said. "Got pretty good strength. Not a great athlete. Gets exposed some at the edge. Tough guy. Fits what they're doing." Williams was lost with a wrist injury in Game 9.

CENTER: John Sullivan (Minn) and Scott Wells (GB), 8. Others: Roberto Garza (Chi), 5; Dominic Raiola (Det), 3.

Comments: Former Bear Olin Kreutz had won it 10 years in a row, sharing it with Wells last year. "Wells is the anchor of that line," one scout said. "Very smart. Good technician. Understands leverage and angles. That's how he masks his limited size and strength. He's a very good player." Sullivan started for the third year. "Not bad," one scout said. "He does have his flaws. My biggest knock is he's on the ground a lot." Garza, 32, and Raiola, 33, started every game. "That team (Chicago) is much better run blocking than pass protecting," one scout said. "That's what Garza does best." As for Raiola, one scout said: "He compensates OK for his size with his toughness and technique."

RIGHT GUARD: Josh Sitton* (GB), 9. Others: Chris Spencer (Chi), 6; Anthony Herrera (Minn), 5; Stephen Peterman (Det), 4.

Comments: Sitton tied with Garza in '09 before being unanimous the past two years. "Sitton's a really powerful guy," one scout said. "Not the best athlete but I do like the way he plays. He plays hard. (Ndamukong) Suh ripped his helmet off and he went right back at him and it was on." Spencer, an ex-Seahawks center, "held his own. Not the most powerful guy but he's a pretty athletic kid," said one scout. Herrera and Peterman are overachievers. "Peterman is a classic throwback type," one scout said. "This guy battles you. He's not pretty, but at the end of the day he gets the job done."

RIGHT TACKLE: Bryan Bulaga* (GB), 9. Others: Gosder Cherilus (Det), 6; Phil Loadholt (Minn), 5; Lance Louis (Chi), 4.

Comments: Bulaga became the sixth first-team pick at RT in the last six years. "I think Bulaga has a chance to be pretty good," one scout said. "I don't think he'll be great." Added another scout: "There are some concerns on the edge with Bulaga, but he was OK." Cherilus edged Bulaga in '10. "I kind of like Cherilus," one scout said. "He still gets overly aggressive, misses and whiffs, but not nearly as frequently as he used to. He's so big and strong." Loadholt was first in 2009, second in '10 and now third. "He didn't slip as a run blocker," one scout said. "He's a big, strong man that can really maul you. But he lacks awareness and has poor technique in pass pro." Louis was considered more of a guard.

TIGHT END: Jermichael Finley* (GB), 9. Others: Brandon Pettigrew (Det), 7; Kellen Davis (Chi) and Visanthe Shiancoe (Minn), 4.

Comments: Shiancoe was first the past two years. "If you really look at the league and see what teams can't match up against, it's tight ends," one scout said. "Finley is a mismatch. He's not a great route runner. He gets by because of his athletic ability." Pettigrew blocks better than Finley and has 76 receptions. "He's probably the most well-rounded," one scout said. "Big, athletic kid." Shiancoe, 31, has just 36 catches. "He's not a dominant guy at this point," one scout said. "He wasn't as much of a threat as he was in the past. Just an OK blocker." Davis debuted as a starter after the Bears traded Greg Olsen July 28.

NO. 2 WIDE RECEIVER: Jordy Nelson* (GB), 9. Others: Nate Burleson (Det), 7; Michael Jenkins (Minn), 5; Roy Williams (Chi), 3.

Comments: Nelson had been the pick in the No. 4 WR category in 2009 and '10. "Is he the greatest route runner?" said one scout. "No, but he runs good enough routes and then he has deceptive speed to get behind you. I'd love to have him, I will tell you that." Burleson, said one scout, was "all right. He can work the slot. He's tough. He will have his drops but he's a reliable fourth option." The Vikings signed Jenkins rather than GB's James Jones in late July and he had 38 catches in 11 games. As for Williams, one scout said, "Anybody but Roy Williams. He's very lazy. The Bears just tried to get a guy that knew (Mike) Martz's huge, huge playbook after there was no off-season."

QUARTERBACK: Aaron Rodgers* (GB), 9. Others: Matthew Stafford (Det), 7; Jay Cutler (Chi), 5; Christian Ponder (Minn), 3.

Comments: A four-year starter, Rodgers has been unanimous three times and shared the top spot with Brett Favre in '09. "I mean, he's lights out," one scout said. "I've never seen a performance like this. He is so accurate. He's precise with his decision-making. He is humming right now. I mean, those balls are on the money." After two injury-filled seasons Stafford lasted a full season. "He's improved," one scout said. "Big-time arm. Still throws some picks. He's got to get that out of him. But he's a talented guy with a lot of upside." Cutler was playing well before suffering a broken thumb in Game 10. "He didn't give the ball away as much as he did in the past," one scout said. "He didn't hurt the defense. He was good for the Bears. But I still don't think he's going to be that elite guy." Ponder replaced Donovan McNabb in Game 7 and was hit or miss. "I'm not buying that one yet for where he was taken," one scout said. "Even though I think he's a pretty steady guy and has a future in this league, I don't know if he'll ever live up to being the 12th pick. He does not have a great arm."

RUNNING BACK: Matt Forte (Chi) and Adrian Peterson (Minn), 8. Others: James Starks (GB), 5; Maurice Morris (Det), 3.

Comments: Peterson, a unanimous choice in his first four years, shares it this time with Forte. "Peterson didn't have the supporting cast around him this year," one scout said. "He got a lot of stacked fronts. But he was still a force when he was in there." Forte's brilliant season ended in Game 12 with a knee injury. "He's such a well-rounded, versatile back," one scout said. "He's really good out of the backfield as a receiver." Starks was hit by injuries again. "He's a tough but straight-line, downhill runner," one scout said. "The mental part of the game is really kind of hurting him this year. He's not been mentally in tune, so to speak. He's not the same player he was last year." When Jahvid Best (concussion) departed after six games, the Lions lost their No. 1 back.

FULLBACK: John Kuhn* (GB), 9. Others: Tyler Clutts (Chi), Will Heller (Det) and Jim Kleinsasser (Minn), 5.

Comments: "I love it when teams win because a lot of guys get to the Pro Bowl," one scout said. "Kuhn is just OK. He's just a worker-man type player that plays hard and has some value. He's physical. He's got some short-yardage run skills." Clutts replaced Brandon Manumaleuna in Chicago. As tight ends for teams carrying no fullback, Heller and Kleinsasser blocked a lot from the backfield. Kleinsasser is retiring. "On a lot of their running plays they followed Kleinsasser," one scout said.

NO. 3 WIDE RECEIVER: Titus Young (Det), 8. Others: Earl Bennett (Chi), 7; Donald Driver (GB), 6; Devin Aromashodu (Minn), 3.

Comments: Driver had six firsts in the last seven years in the category of either No. 1 or No. 2 WR. "I've loved watching that guy play," one scout said. "He's just getting older. He still has some value." Young, a second-round pick, has 44 catches. "He will go up in a crowd and catch the ball," one scout said. "He's a little linear-framed so you will have some moments where he has alligator arms. But he can really stretch the defense and he's kind of explosive after the catch." Bennett has just about everything except speed.

NO. 4 WIDE RECEIVER: James Jones* (GB), 9. Others: Devin Hester (Chi), 7; Greg Camarillo (Minn) and Rashied Davis (Det), 4.

Comments: Jones was first in the No. 3 WR category in 2007 and '10. "He's a threat when they get in the red zone against smaller defenders," one scout said. "But he's kind of limited as a route runner. They don't ask him to do a whole lot. Run a slant and some fades. That's about it. He's a solid third or fourth receiver." Hester was dragged down by injuries.

NO. 2 TIGHT END: Kyle Rudolph* (Minn), 9. Others: Tony Scheffler (Det), 7; Matt Spaeth (Chi), 5; Tom Crabtree (GB), 3.

Comments: Rudolph, a second-round pick, had 23 receptions. "He's a bona fide receiving tight end," one scout said. "He will come into his own as soon as they get the quarterback on the same page with him." Scheffler made an occasional big play from the slot. Spaeth helped the Bears' ground game as a blocker.

NO. 6 OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: Joe Berger (Minn) and Evan Dietrich-Smith (GB), 7. Others: Edwin Williams (Chi), 6; Corey Hilliard (Det), 4.

Comments: Berger made five starts at guard and one at center. "He's a decent football player," one scout said. "Not a lot of drop-off when he came in. He plays with toughness, grit and good technique." Dietrich-Smith went from never having played to three starts in December. "Serviceable and tough," one scout said. "Plays hard." The Bears thought enough of Williams that they signed him to a contract extension Thursday.

NO. 2 QUARTERBACK: Shaun Hill (Det), 8. Others: Matt Flynn (GB), 7; Joe Webb (Minn), 6; Caleb Hanie (Chi), 3.

Comments: Hill didn't have to play but still garners respect. "He's so smart," one scout said. "Doesn't have a very good arm but he has good touch-timing. Knows where to go with the ball. Plays fast." Flynn didn't play much, either. "It'd be hard to commit to Flynn as a starter, as your guy," one scout said. "You could bring him in to compete if you don't have an entrenched starter." Webb made waves in a late comeback against Detroit. "He's got Cam Newton's running ability with more speed," one scout said. "His throwing has improved. He still has some work to do there. Man, he is a dangerous guy in the open field." Hanie went 0-4 after Cutler went down. "If Hanie just played adequate they'd have won half those games," one scout said. "But he played awful."

NO. 2 RUNNING BACK: Toby Gerhart (Minn), 8. Others: Ryan Grant (GB), 7; Kevin Smith (Det), 6; Marion Barber (Chi), 3.

Comments: Gerhart had three big games down the stretch. "He's a big, ol' physical guy," one scout said. "He's one of those guys you just get tired of tackling. Then he's got more athleticism than you would expect. He can maneuver and not give guys clean shots." Three scouts said Grant wasn't the same back as before his ankle injury in September 2010. "He still can cut back in their zone scheme," said one. Smith was re-signed in November and contributed. "This is a natural, instinctive runner," one scout said. Barber came from Dallas. "He can get those 1, 2 yards," one scout said. "But he just can't run. He always trips and goes down."

DEFENSE

LEFT END: Cliff Avril* (Det), 9. Others: Israel Idonije (Chi), Ryan Pickett (GB) and Brian Robison (Minn), 5.

Comments: Avril, a repeat choice, has 11 sacks and six forced fumbles. "He has great speed off the edge and has made some impacting plays in critical situations," one scout said. "Little bit one-dimensional because he's not a great run player." As for the others, one scout said, "They're all solid starters." Idonije, one scout said, "is big, physical and can be disruptive." Pickett, said another scout, "isn't a guy I've ever been thrilled to watch. He's just a big run-stopper." Robison replaced Ray Edwards at RE. "I think they both lost when Ray Edwards left," one scout said. "Atlanta didn't get what they expected and it was a step down for Minnesota."

NOSE TACKLE: B.J. Raji (GB) and Corey Williams (Det), 8. Others: Matt Toeaina (Chi), 5; Remi Ayodele (Minn), 3.

Comments: Raji, another repeat choice, didn't play as well as a year ago, according to three scouts. "The effort and motor he was coming with last year, you don't see the same guy," one scout said. "I don't know if it's weight or quickness. But, heck, he's still one of the better interior guys in our division." Williams, a one-time Packer, had another strong season. "He's a disruptive force when he wants to be," one scout said. "He's always had that M.O. that he plays when he wants. This year, the motor has been pretty consistent. That's because he also has a young guy (Nick Fairley) on the back of his heels. That's motivation in itself." Ayodele didn't come close to filling the shoes of retired NT Pat Williams.

THREE-TECHNIQUE TACKLE: Ndamukong Suh (Det) and Kevin Williams (Minn), 8. Others: Henry Melton (Chi), 5; Jarius Wynn (GB), 3.

Comments: Three scouts said Suh didn't play to his '10 level. "For whatever reason, he wasn't nearly as dominant," one scout said. "I don't know if he was nicked up. He just played kind of heavy-legged and didn't fire past guys. He wasn't explosive off blocks. But he's still pretty good." Williams made first team for the seventh time in his nine-year career. "He saw a ton of double-teams because the other guy (Ayodele) isn't very good," one scout said. "He's not at his peak, but I think he's still a pretty good player." Melton, said one scout, "needs to win early. Otherwise, he's going to get mashed. Little bit of a feast or famine guy. Struggles holding the point. Has nickel rush ability." Wynn and Erik Walden were the only Packers' starters to finish last at their position.

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

Comments: "Physically, Allen is not as big and powerful as Peppers," one scout said. "Allen started out like gangbusters but he couldn't finish the season." In four seasons, Allen was unanimous in 2008 and '09 before tying for second last year. "We were hoping Allen was slowing down but, my God, was he a monster," one scout said. "He had a comeback year." Peppers was unanimous last year. "Some players that shouldn't have been able to block him did," one scout said. "He took over a game or two. You can't dispute his skill and athleticism." Vanden Bosch, 33, sustained his all-time effort. Walden was a first-year starter. "Walden is a steady guy," one scout said. "He just doesn't get much pass rush. He has pretty good leverage in the run game. He just works down the middle of blocks right now rushing the passer. He doesn't gain an edge much. I don't see any arsenal of moves."

STRONG-SIDE LINEBACKER: Clay Matthews* (GB), 9. Others: Chad Greenway (Minn), 7; Justin Durant (Det), 5; Nick Roach (Chi), 3.

Comments: Matthews was unanimous for the second straight year. "He played well," one scout said. "He gets worn out a little bit. He sees a lot of chip help just because they don't have much else. He's disruptive. He'll give up some plays trying to make plays. He will try to win a lot of times with his quickness and speed and get out of his gap some. In chase, he's outstanding." Greenway, never a first-teamer, wasn't quite as effective. Durant, a former Jaguar, "is a run and hit you (player) but isn't as good in the box," according to one scout.

MIDDLE LINEBACKER: Brian Urlacher (Chi), 8. Others: Stephen Tulloch (Det), 6; A.J. Hawk (GB) and E.J. Henderson (Minn), 5.

Comments: This was Urlacher's 10th first-team berth in 11 seasons. "He still can run," one scout said. "He's not a physical take-on guy. Still pretty good in coverage. He is on the decline, definitely." Tulloch, a former Titan, impressed with leadership. "He understands the game and can communicate it to his buddies," one scout said. "Although he's short (5-10½), he can still key and diagnose. He can see things." In six seasons, Hawk has been second twice and third four times. "I wouldn't consider Hawk a downhill, physical player but he is instinctive and falls into some plays," one scout said. "Aware in coverage but can be isolated. Not a great blitzer. He doesn't make any explosive plays. He's stiff and jumps around." Henderson, a first-teamer in 2007 and '09, has been hit hard by major injuries. "In my mind he's done," one scout said. "He still will hit. It's just getting from point A to point B. He's kind of lost some of his athleticism."

WEAK-SIDE LINEBACKER: Lance Briggs* (Chi), 9. Others: Desmond Bishop (GB), 7; DeAndre Levy (Det), 5; Erin Henderson (Minn), 3.

Comments: Briggs added to his impressive résumé, making it for the ninth straight year. This was his fourth time as unanimous. "I see him as a really good player," one scout said. "It will be really interesting what they do with his contract. He's been wanting one forever and they've been ignoring him." Bishop, according to one scout, "is their best inside guy, obviously. Similar game to Briggs. Just not quite the playmaker maybe."

LEFT CORNERBACK: Charles Woodson* (GB), 9. Others: Chris Houston (Det), 7; Tim Jennings (Chi), 5; Asher Allen (Minn), 3.

Comments: After tying for first with Antoine Winfield in '06, Woodson has been unanimous five years in a row. "He's a jack-of-all-trades and does a great job in all of them," one scout said. "He really doesn't even play corner. He's kind of like Troy (Polamalu). He has his role, and he does it very well." Houston, said one scout, "was a serviceable starter. With a really strong front four that can get the ball out quick, he can survive. But if you don't have that he can get exposed." Jennings was benched late. Allen is a career nickel back pressed into starting when Winfield went down early.

RIGHT CORNERBACK: Tramon Williams* (GB), 9. Others: Charles Tillman (Chi) and Eric Wright (Det), 6; Cedric Griffin (Minn), 3.

Comments: Williams was first-team No. 3 CB in 2008 and '09 and unanimous at RC the past two years. "He's soft," one scout said. "I thought he really struggled early. Then he got a little better." A nine-year starter, Tillman has been second four times and third five times. "He's a solid corner," one scout said. "He just doesn't run well. He's a scheme guy. If he can play a zone, especially Cover 2 zone, he'll be fine because he can read routes and play eyes to the quarterback." Wright can run and cover, but has problems in awareness and discipline. "Inconsistent in (run) support but he's got pretty good cover skills," one scout said. Griffin has a knee problem and got exploited.

STRONG SAFETY: Charlie Peprah (GB) and Amari Spievey (Det), 8. Others: Major Wright (Chi), 5; Jamarca Sanford (Minn), 3.

Comments: None of the players drew praise from scouts. "Peprah is a solid backup and spot starter," one scout said. "He's exceeded expectations. He's played well. You don't see him give up too many big plays deep in the middle of the field. He will come up and hit you." Spievey, a former cornerback, and Wright are athletic but have too many lapses. Sanford must be replaced.

FREE SAFETY: Louis Delmas* (Det), 9. Others: Morgan Burnett (GB), 7; Chris Conte (Chi), 5; Husain Abdullah (Minn), 3.

Comments: Delmas, who tied Green Bay's Nick Collins a year ago, was unanimous even though he missed the last month with a knee injury. "He's playing a little more under control," one scout said. "But he's still reckless and explosive." Burnett was up and down but impressed three scouts with his athleticism. "He kind of reminds me of (Michael) Griffin of Tennessee," one scout said. "Same type of athlete. Not the most physical. But he's rangy and can go make a play." Conte impressed as a rookie nine-game starter. "He may overtake Delmas at some point," one scout said. "He showed himself to be a pretty solid player, and he can get better."

NO. 3 DEFENSIVE END: Everson Griffen (Minn), 8. Others: Lawrence Jackson (Det), 7; Mike Neal (GB), 5; Corey Wootton (Chi), 4.

Comments: Griffen had 4 sacks but struggled against the run. "Not really good as a D-end," one scout said. "His damage comes when they let him move around and be an inside pass rusher. He can have a niche." Jackson, Neal and Wootton all were limited by injury. "Jackson had 4½ sacks this year in not many snaps," one scout said. "Comes hard rushing the passer. Neal looked like a guy. Wootton hasn't done anything."

NO. 3 DEFENSIVE TACKLE: Letroy Guion (Minn), 8. Others: Sammie Hill (Det), 7; Amobi Okoye (Chi), 6; Howard Green (GB), 3.

Comments: This is a solid group led by Guion, a repeat choice. "He plays hard," one scout said. "He's strong, plus he can get some push as a pass rusher. Big guy with quite a little up side." Hill, from tiny Stillman College, gets better every year. Okoye made some plays on penetration. Green was a fairly dependable wide body.

UTILITY DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Nick Fairley (Det), 8. Others: Christian Ballard (Minn), 7; C.J. Wilson (GB), 5; Stephen Paea (Chi), 4.

Comments: Fairley, the 13th pick in April, has been limited by a foot injury for months. "I expected to see a little more as a pass rusher," one scout said. "He kind of works down the middle of guys, not really working that half man and winning on the edge. But you know how these D-linemen are when they come in the league? It takes them some time." Wilson, said one scout, "was a steady guy. Pretty generic. Pretty good against the run. Doesn't give you much pass rush. Plays hard."

NO. 4 LINEBACKER: Bobby Carpenter (Det), 8. Others: D.J. Smith (GB), 6; Brian Iwuh (ex-Chi) and Kenny Onatolu (Minn), 5.

Comments: Carpenter, a former Cowboy, made three starts. "He's a limited backup and core special-teams contributor," one scout said. Smith played the equivalent of 3½ games. "I like him," one scout said. "This guy has some quickness. He's instinctive."

NO. 3 CORNERBACK: Sam Shields* (GB), 9. Others: D.J. Moore (Chi), 7; Aaron Berry (Det), 5; Marcus Sherels (Minn), 3.

Comments: Shields has made it in both of his seasons. "He's got cover skills and he can run," one scout said. "He's not the most physical guy. He's got some ball skills. It allows them to put Woodson inside." Unlike Shields, who always played outside, Moore has to play the slot. "Quicker than fast guy," one scout said. "You don't want him on an island."

NO. 3 SAFETY: Chris Harris (Det), 8. Others: Craig Steltz (Chi), 6; M.D. Jennings (GB) and Mistral Raymond (Minn), 5.

Comments: After the Bears cut Harris Oct. 27, the Lions claimed him on waivers and ended up giving him four starts. "Same as he was in Chicago," one scout said. "He's done well in the box, but in space he gets a little bit exposed." Steltz can't run. Raymond made four starts at the end for a team with no safeties. Jennings never played.


February 5th, 2012, 8:33 am
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
A LOT of bs lip service was given where it wasn't deserved, IMO. Also, it was seemingly written by people that don't really follow the division that well.

I did find it hilarious though that they said that Burleson "is a reliable 4th option."


February 5th, 2012, 2:41 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
wjb21ndtown wrote:
I did find it hilarious though that they said that Burleson "is a reliable 4th option."


I'm guessing he didn't mean WR 4th option but behind CJ, Pett and Best out of the backfield when healthy.

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February 6th, 2012, 12:34 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
good read. A few surprises, mostly Jeff Backus.

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February 6th, 2012, 12:44 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
Ferris wrote:
good read. A few surprises, mostly Jeff Backus.

That's probably because people in Detroit love to hate on him, even though he's played really well the past couple seasons. This year he was playing hurt the entire year and still did quite well in my opinion.

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February 6th, 2012, 12:46 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
That's probably because people in Detroit love to hate on him, even though he's played really well the past couple seasons.


This

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February 6th, 2012, 3:06 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
Lions2SB2 wrote:
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
That's probably because people in Detroit love to hate on him, even though he's played really well the past couple seasons.


This


Backus in an average LT in a division of below average LTs which is interesting given some of the QBs in the North along with the pass rushers.

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February 6th, 2012, 3:07 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
like the scouts said - backus is somewhat of a default choice. he won the last 2 seasons with clifton dinged up and mckinnie rapidly declining and only won once before - also bc of injury. his durability and longevity is his best feature. for the bulk of the decade he was the 3rd and 4th best LT in the division. its not like he was some great player that everyone just bagged on bc the team had terrible runs -he wasnt as good as the opposition during those years either, he s merely an acceptable player.


February 6th, 2012, 5:46 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
Pablo wrote:
wjb21ndtown wrote:
I did find it hilarious though that they said that Burleson "is a reliable 4th option."


I'm guessing he didn't mean WR 4th option but behind CJ, Pett and Best out of the backfield when healthy.



Understood, but he's still our damn #2 WR, and our TE's aren't exactly world beaters. The fact is, he's our fourth best option in the passing game and he's making more than the two infront of him. And if you want to put Pett and Best in front of him, he's really our 5th best option - Titus is better than Nate right now (and makes less than Nate as well).

If we can get anything for him, I'd like to see us dump him on draft day. He's going to make $4mill, $4.5 mill, and $5 mill over the next three seasons respectively, and IMO he doesn't deserve it, and that's not including the $11 million dollar signing bonus he got.


February 6th, 2012, 6:22 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
i get the feeling burleson will be here for two more seasons. hopefully he transitions into a No 3 this year and Young really starts to emerge and then by 2013 he is the clear No 3. He was productive and I like the personality but had more lapses than you d expect. Isnt there some kind of cap hit equal to the prorated portion of his signing bonus if we cut or traded him before next season? something like a 6 million hit if it were this year when his cap figure would normally be like 6.5 million. doesnt seem to make sense to have roughly the same cap figure but have him not playing for us. after next season it would be a 4 mill hit and after the 2013 season a 2 mill hit?


February 6th, 2012, 9:09 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
Young is well simple.. young :lol: , give him time to learn more and he could easily be 3.

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February 7th, 2012, 1:30 am
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
As I've been saying for years, Backus isn't as bad as some people make him out to be. Sure, he has the occasional bad game that pisses me off too, but he's pretty solid overall. Considering how often Stafford dropped back to throw this year, I think Backus did an admirable job and should be brought back. Raiola, on the other hand, is a totally different story. Same goes for Peterman.

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February 11th, 2012, 3:00 am
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
Lions2SB2 wrote:
Young is well simple.. young :lol: , give him time to learn more and he could easily be 3.

While yes Young is young I still think he will push and possibly take over the #2 spot from Burleson. Many players have said Titus has the best hands on the team even over CJ plus he is extremely quick in and out of his routes. As the season went on and Young learned the playbook plus built a relationship with Stafford he got better. I think he outplayed Burleson last season a full off season and he will be even better.

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February 11th, 2012, 12:46 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
wjb21ndtown wrote:
Pablo wrote:
wjb21ndtown wrote:
I did find it hilarious though that they said that Burleson "is a reliable 4th option."


I'm guessing he didn't mean WR 4th option but behind CJ, Pett and Best out of the backfield when healthy.



Understood, but he's still our damn #2 WR, and our TE's aren't exactly world beaters. The fact is, he's our fourth best option in the passing game and he's making more than the two infront of him. And if you want to put Pett and Best in front of him, he's really our 5th best option - Titus is better than Nate right now (and makes less than Nate as well).

If we can get anything for him, I'd like to see us dump him on draft day. He's going to make $4mill, $4.5 mill, and $5 mill over the next three seasons respectively, and IMO he doesn't deserve it, and that's not including the $11 million dollar signing bonus he got.


I gotta agree with this. Based on how much Nate is supposed to make in the coming year, the Lions have to seriously consider the idea of releasing him, find a different second receiver (Titus would still be best out of the slot) and use the cash saved towards another spot. Burleson hasn't achieved "eraser" status, and I think he's had his fair chance. Time to find someone else for the job.

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February 11th, 2012, 4:41 pm
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Post Re: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All NFC North Team
so you do want more tinkering to the offense than you originally let on? I feel that Nate has been productive but has been a little disappointing with key drops and fumbles a little more than you would expect from a WR. There is definitely room to find an upgrade at that spot. I think they will be bringing him back though but titus young will get more attention.


February 12th, 2012, 11:44 am
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