Green Bay has won the NFC North the past two seasons but it was a tumultuous offseason for the Packers. The reported rift between quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the general manager Brian Gutekunst dominated the headlines. But Rogers showed up for the start of training camp and as long as the three-time NFL MVP doesn't let the off-field business impact his play, Green Bay remains the team to beat in the division. Speaking of quarterbacks, Chicago and Detroit will both have new starting signal-callers this season while Minnesota is hoping its defense can bounce back after a disappointing performance in 2020 to take some of the pressure off of Kirk Cousins.
In order to get an accurate assessment of the NFC North heading into 2021, Athlon asked NFL scouts to talk anonymously about the Bears, Lions, Packers, and Vikings.
Note: These scouting reports come directly from NFL scouts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.
"I think they’re one of the more underrated teams in the league. Everybody is ready to fire Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace, which I think is crazy. There’s some talent on this team. Allen Robinson II and Darnell Mooney are dangerous. Andy Dalton can be a placeholder until Justin Fields is ready to take over."
"David Montgomery is shifty."
"That offensive line, holy smokes, it is not good. I don’t understand them cutting Charles Leno Jr. They just got worse by doing that. This is a bad line. That could destroy their chances this year. I think they’re setting themselves up for failure."
Related: Chicago Bears Depth Chart
"Akiem Hicks busts people’s (butts). Khalil Mack is still a very good football player when he’s 100 percent. He’s not the defensive MVP anymore, but he’s still a real pass rusher."
"Robert Quinn has great versatility. Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith are a great tandem."
"Eddie Jackson is their best defensive back."
"This defense is loaded. If they can find one more guy on the interior defensive line to penetrate, they could be a dominant defense."
"I think Detroit is a really interesting team. They take on Jared Goff, who I think can still be good, and it will be really interesting to see if he blossoms there."
"Drafting Penei Sewell was a smart move. To have him, Frank Ragnow, Jonah Jackson and Taylor Decker, that gives them four above-average starting O-linemen."
"They don’t have a great receiving corps without Kenny Golladay. T.J. Hockenson can get separation and win down the field."
"I bet D’Andre Swift plays a big role this year and catches a bunch of balls out of the backfield. I like that offense, but they don’t have game-changing weapons."
Related: Detroit Lions Depth Chart
"Tre Flowers has never become the impact guy they thought he would be."
"Michael Brockers is a powerful two-gap guy."
"Julian Okwara has a bright future."
"Jamie Collins Sr. is still a good off-the-ball linebacker."
"Their linebackers aren’t special. They’re decent, solid guys. They’re athletic and good in coverage."
"Jeff Okudah needs to play a lot better this year. They need one of those young guys like Amani Oruwariye to step up this year."
"With Dan Campbell running things, I feel like they’re headed in the right direction."
"If Aaron Rodgers forces his way out of town, this is a losing team. If he stays, they’re going to win the division again. If they are stupid enough to let Aaron bully his way out, my guess is that in two years the GM and the coach will be fired. I think they have to make him happy. Brian Gutekunst is a very smart guy. They can’t screw this up and be forced to put Jordan Love onto the field. You can’t let Aaron walk."
"They’ve got more than enough talent to contend if Rodgers is their quarterback. Davante Adams is maybe the most underrated, outstanding receiver in the league, and Amari Rodgers, the third-round rookie from Clemson, is really talented and brings a lot of versatility to the offense as well as skill in the return game."
Related: Green Bay Packers Depth Chart
"Their offensive line is a work in progress. David Bakhtiari is an elite player, but he has to get healthy. The Elgton Jenkins kid is a stud with great versatility. Billy Turner is a solid player."
"At tight end, Robert Tonyan is sort of a big receiver. He’s got great hands, but he’s not a real explosive kid."
"Aaron Jones is a stud. They’re loaded at running back."
"I’m not sold on this defense. Kenny Clark is hard-nosed and talented but doesn’t make an impact consistently. Rashan Gary flashes, but he is up and down. Za’Darius Smith really knows how to rush the passer."
"I like their secondary. I love Jaire Alexander and Adrian Amos. I think Darnell Savage is a very good player."
"How long are they gonna ride with Kirk Cousins? He’s proven that he’s nothing more than average."
"Justin Jefferson is special. They nailed that pick. When you watched him at LSU, you saw a lot of Keenan Allen in him. He’s a great route-runner with phenomenal hands. I misjudged his speed. He’s quicker and faster than people give him credit for. The ceiling is so high for that kid."
"I like that they drafted Christian Darrisaw, a plug-and-play left tackle out of Virginia Tech."
"Dalvin Cook makes this game look easy; he’s that good."
Related: Minnesota Vikings Depth Chart
"Irv Smith Jr. is going to catch a lot of balls. He’s not as good a blocker, but he’s a solid tight end."
"Defensively, they have some good pieces. Danielle Hunter is a phenomenal pass rusher, a rare edge guy when he’s healthy. They need to find another pass rusher to go with him."
"Harrison Smith is a great leader at free safety, although he’s no longer an elite cover guy. With his leadership and smarts, he’s solid still, and that makes him valuable."