2023 NFL Draft Steals: NFC North Division

Sean Meagher/The Oregonian

2023 NFL Draft Steals: NFC North Division

2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Steals: NFC North Division


Sean Meagher/The Oregonian

The 2023 NFL Draft has been completed, and each team made plenty of picks over the course of the three days. Some of those picks, the players they drafted, were steals where they got them and are going to be major impact players for the team. This series will go over each team’s steal of the draft, with today being the NFC North!


Chicago Bears: Noah Sewell, Linebacker, Oregon 

While the Bears did go out and add Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards in free agency to help a major weakness on their defense that was the linebacker position in 2022, they continued to add to it in the draft. They did so by getting a steal in the process as well. Noah Sewell was once regarded as one of the top linebackers in the class, and fell to the fifth round. His 2021 season was far better than his 2022 season, but he still had 18 pressures, 23 run stops, and only allowed 230 yards over 25 receptions while securing an interception and creating two pass breakups. With how Sewell reads plays and comes downhill quickly, he would make a large impact in helping stop the run, which was an area the Bears struggled with. He has also shown that with his active hands, he can disengage off blocks and get into the backfield to rush the passer. While Sewell will be starting out as a backup, if he sees the field in a rotation, he will make his presence felt. 

Detroit Lions: Brian Branch, Safety, Alabama 

Detroit needed to get stronger in their secondary, and the best safety in the class fell to them with their second pick in the second round. Brian Branch provides Dan Campbell with a chess piece on defense, as he can play in multiple alignments and still succeed. Branch is a very precise tackler, as he takes good angles and makes sure to wrap up effectively. Over his three seasons at Alabama, he finished with 74 run stops, 20 pressures, and allowed only 96 receptions on 148 targets for 861 yards and eight touchdowns. With Branch also comes great acceleration that you wouldn’t expect, as he uses it to come downhill or stay with receivers up the seam. His fluidity also plays a factor as he can stay hip with receivers even in transition. Branch is a high-level athlete that can eliminate mismatches and open up the Lions defense. 


Green Bay Packers: Carrington Valentine, Cornerback, Kentucky

This was a major upside pick in the seventh round as the Packers grabbed Carrington Valentine. Valentine will provide depth to the Packers’ cornerback room, and during that time he has the potential to become a quality starter if needed with his upside. He blends together his speed and length well to mirror receivers and then create pass breakups with great timing. Those instincts also show up in zone coverage frequently, and he has the closing burst as well to make up for any space between him and the intended receiver. Valentine also is an aggressive player who can blitz and be relied on with his sure tackling. There are some technique areas he can work on, but once he gets those down, he could end up in the future being a huge steal for Green Bay. 


Minnesota Vikings: DeWayne McBride, Running Back, UAB

When looking at the Vikings running back room, they needed a power rusher and DeWayne McBride can provide exactly that for them. Last season, McBride led the entire nation in rushing yards with 1,713 to average 7.4 yards per carry and also rushed for 19 touchdowns. At 5’10, 209 pounds, once he gains momentum he is hard to bring down as he consistently fights for extra yards, and uses his size to get through contact as showcased by his 1,072 yards after contact last season and 76 forced missed tackles. McBride has shown good vision with how he waits for open lanes to form and has the short-area acceleration to get through the gaps once created. With the uncertainty around Dalvin Cook, and Alexander Mattison a free agent in 2025, this gives Minnesota running back depth with someone who can challenge for a starting spot if called upon earlier than expected. 


For more NFL content, check out the links below!

2023 NFL Draft Steals: NFC East Division

2023 NFL Draft Steals: AFC East Division

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