Every team has their star players who are expected to put up numbers on a weekly basis and contribute to the success of their team. However, a handful of superstars does not make a full team. In order for a team to be successful, the non-super star players need to contribute. Looking forward to the 2017 NFL season, here are the players from each NFC North team that need to contribute for their team to be successful:
Chicago Bears – Mitchell Trubisky (QB)
Remember how I started off this article saying every team has their star players? Yeah, forget about that when talking about the current Chicago Bears. Aside from Jeremy Langford and Jordan Howard, the Chicago Bears do not have anything that really resembles NFL talent. After Chicago gave up everything to get Trubisky in the 2017 NFL Draft, they absolutely need him to play well in order to justify the move. Basically, Trubisky has to play well in order for the Bears to avoid replacing the Cleveland Browns as the worst team in the NFL.
Detroit Lions – T.J. Lang (OT)
After coming over from the Green Bay Packers, Lang will have to show he can still be a top-tier offensive lineman in order for the Lions to build off of this past year’s playoff appearance. Lang was solid for the Packers since he became a full-time starter in 2011. If he can help the Detroit Lions solidify their offensive line, they will be able to make a strong push for another playoff appearance.
Green Bay Packers – Damarious Randall (CB)
As a Green Bay Packers fan, it was rough watching our team at times last year. We had practice squad players making appearances in our defensive secondary and a defensive tackle getting some playing time on the offensive line during the playoffs. Granted, the Packers still knocked off the red-hot Dallas Cowboys and made it to the NFC Championship Game, but they could have gone farther had it not been for the aforementioned reasons. Because of this, those two position groups need the most work heading into the 2017 season. The addition of cornerback Kevin King in the NFL Draft will help give the secondary more pieces. This will take some of the pressure off of cornerbacks Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. Thanks to the reduction of pressure, Randall will be able to step up as the number one corner and greatly increase his interceptions – which gives the ball back to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers elite offense, thus leading to more points, wins, and a deeper playoff run (perhaps even ending with a Super Bowl ring).
Minnesota Vikings – Dalvin Cook (RB)
Prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, all eyes were on free agent signing Latavius Murray from the Oakland Raiders to be the new replacement for super star runningback Adrian Peterson who departed for the New Orleans Saints. However, the Vikings went out and drafted one of the most talented runningbacks in the NFL Draft – Florida State’s Dalvin Cook. Inevitably, Murray and Cook will share carries at first, but Cook’s success may dictate the future of the Vikings’ rushing attack. From what I’ve seen so far, the Vikings should be in very good hands with Cook as the ball-carrier. However, if Cook fails, the Vikings’ offense will be forced to be come one-dimensional and rely on Sam Bradford completing short passes – which ended up not leading the Vikings to the playoffs last year despite a hot start to the season.