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NFC North draft analysis: Round 6
By Nic St. Marie
Special to gzl-football.com

As we get into the 6th round, not a while lot changes for this division. Four picks, some interesting attempts to find a gem but the skew isn't overly friendly for the division quite yet. As we get futher down, you'll see that this division was pretty heavy on 1sts and 2nds, so these later picks weren't as crucial as they were for say...the Arizona Cardinals.

Later picks are as much for the 500k salaries as they are for finding talent, and perhaps only the Lions were trying to get real talent this late, as they had only 1 pick in the first 4 rounds.

Unlike the 7th round, I had an easy time seeing what this division saw in these players and how just a little more love from the skew would have done them justice. I saw two potential starters 5 years from now with a favorable skew, and only the Lions QB was able to come through and get what he needed.

6.8 -
FS Tony Gordon 6'0" 210 lbs, 88 SPD, 57 STR, 72 AWR, 83 AGI, 86 ACC, 63 CTH, 83 JMP, 64 TAK, 81 INJ

Gordon might actually get to stay around. He was another Bears attempt at getting an ok backup, and this one worked better. The extra speed and strength certainly helped, but it's the awareness and skills that make him a real good backup prospect.

He's not good enough to be a starter, but the Bears are getting a real nice return on their 530k salary.

Grade: B
Roster Prognosis: Serves out three years as a Bears backup S, another 5 years in the league.

6.8 -
RT Jeremy Jackson 6'7" 338 lbs, 49 SPD, 89 STR, 62 AWR, 56 AGI, 68 ACC, 83 PBK, 85 RBK, 70 INJ

Jeremy Jackson, so close to being a possible starter at 6'7" 338 lbs, went the other way on his skew. He can still be a decent player when he's called off the bench, but he could have been so much more.

If he went the other way, he'd had 55 SPD, 58 AGI, 70 ACC, 85 PBK, 87 RBK. At his size and with those blocking skills that gives him an even chance at starting in this league.

Jackson is still a good blocker for his salary, but the Vikings won't keep him too long.

Grade: C+
Roster Prognosis: 3 years with the Vikings, maybe a couple more if he gets to 80 AWR.

7.23 -
QB Cameron Hester 6'4" 244 lbs, 65 SPD, 65 STR, 77 AWR, 66 AGI, 64 ACC, 73 CAR, 89 THP, 72 THA, 78 INJ

Hester is an intriguing prospect, and the Lions might be onto something here. With 87 THP and 73 THA he seemed like a pick that never would make it anywhere, but he did have 75 AWR and 73 CTH, plus some nice wheels for a balanced QB. To me it felt like a wasted pick, and still might be.

But with two more points in AWR and THP from the skew, Hester suddenly could have a future, especially with Stafford's tutelage. A few years of working on his accuracy, bumping up his THP in the offseasons, and Hester could be a legitimate starting QB, even before Stafford is done.

He does take care of the ball with 65 STR and 73 CAR, but does come out of TCU looking a bit fragile with 78 INJ. All in all, Hester is a guy who already knows who to throw the ball to, he could be the Lions backup QB already this year. We may get the Larry Fitzgerald test, how bad accuracy has to be for a star WR to be unable to bail them out. 72 THA vs Calvin Johnson, what happens then?

Grade: B+
Roster Prognosis: Long term Devlin for the Lions, but with real development put into him.

6.21 -
OLB Dwayne Hornsby 6'0" 239 lbs, 83 SPD, 65 STR, 64 AWR, 71 AGI, 78 ACC, 61 CTH, 67 JMP, 77 TAK, 78 INJ

After liking a Lions pick I have to go back to lukewarm on this one. The Lions were looking at a board full of flawed linebackers at this point, as I know having drafted two in the 6th/7th rounds. Hornsby turned out to be even worse than they thought. He showed up to camp a little faster but weaker, and overall looks like a special teamer.

Hornsby is good enough to stick on the roster, but his contract is one of the bigger benefits of keeping him around. He could be hidden behind some really big, strong DL like the Lions have but they might as well find a better player.

If he had gone the other way, he'd have 81 SPD, 71 STR, 68 AWR, 75 AGI, 82 ACC, and 79 TAK with an 84 INJ rating. That's a startable LB at the end of the 6th round. There certainly was something to behold here, and it's too bad for a struggling Lions franchise that didn't have many high picks that these later ones are turning sour on them. As we climb the draft, maybe that luck will have reversed itself. Wink.

Grade: C+
Roster Prognosis: Special teamer that's too weak to play on the defense.

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