This is my first crack at a Minnesota Vikings mock draft in 2011. It won't stir the
controversy debate that say a mock done by Mark18 would, but it's rather a safe approach to drafting impact players while attempting to fill a need going forward.
If you are interested, my mock after the jump:
The only trade I have going down is with our first round pick. It will be difficult to trade this offseason with the pending CBA fallout and work stoppage. I don't even know if the team I targeted will be interested in trading. However I targeted Jacksonville because they are drafting before New England, a likely suitor for the player I am coveting in round 1:
Vikings trade the #12 overall pick (1200 points) to Jacksonville for:
Jacksonville's #16 overall pick (1000 points) and their 3rd round choice, #80 overall (190 points).
#16 Akeem Ayers OLB, UCLA 6'4" 250 lbs.
Ayers, the second-ranked outside linebacker and No. 18 overall prospect on Scouts Inc.'s draft board, has announced he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2011 NFL draft.
The Skinny: The UCLA linebacker has the bulk, length, frame and athletic ability that NFL decision makers dream of. Standing at 6’4” and 250-plus pounds with a frame that can add more weight, Ayers moves around the field with a fleetness of foot that you’d expect from a much smaller player. The first thing that stands out about his game tape is that he is an absolute turnover machine from his strong side linebacker position—he creates fumbles and interceptions at a startling rate. In 2009, more often than not those picks turned into touchdowns—he returned three of his four interceptions for scores as a sophomore. When asked to rush the passer (six sacks in 2009) Ayers shows very good burst coming off the line of scrimmage. He turns the corner with ease and shows a decent understanding of how to use his arms to keep offensive linemen from getting a grip. NFL teams that run multiple formations and demand positional versatility will fall head over heels for this Bruin. However, if he’s going to succeed as a linebacker at the NFL level, he needs to get more comfortable playing the run on a number of levels. First and foremost, his tackling must improve. That versatility can be a curse as much as it is a blessing—did someone say jack-of-all-trades, master of none? We value a player who can contribute in every aspect of the game and believe Ayers can be a first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft should he decide to declare.
#43 Stefen Wisniewski C/G, Penn St. 6-3 295 lbs Senior
Stefen Wisniewski joins a talented crop of interior linemen in the 2011 NFL Draft. He is a seasoned player that possesses a lot of strength and the necessary athletic ability to succeed at the next level. Wisniewski has been starting since his freshman season at Penn State where he was the recipient of excellent coaching. He utilizes his above average strength to drive defenders backwards and open up holes for the running backs. He isn’t the fastest lineman but he has good quickness that allows him to get out in front of the back when he is required to pull. Wisniewski has rotated back and forth from guard and center during his career at Penn State. His versatility is a major positive in the eyes of NFL scouts. Wisniewski also brings a ton of leadership to the table, he was credited with helping bring along a young Penn State offensive line last season.
Wisniewski needs to continue to perfect his overall technique. Wisniewski’s can benefit by spending sometime focusing on his pass protection technique. We mentioned that he is quick but he doesn’t have the necessary athletic ability to make a move to tackle. With many NFL teams making the switch to the 3-4 defense and massive nose tackles clogging up holes; some scouts could worry that Wisniewski lacks the ideal size to man the interior of the offensive line.
Overall Wisniewski’s combination of quickness and strength will prevail over the concerns about his size. He has the skills to hold down a guard or center spot in the NFL for 10 plus seasons, while providing great leadership.
We have seen interior line men taking early each and every year and that fact give Wisniewski a chance to sneak into the 1st round. There is no way he falls out of the 2nd round.
#80 Quinton Carter FS, Oklahoma 6-1, 200lbs.
It took Quinton Carter a little time to find his way into the Oklahoma rotation. As a true freshman in 2006, Carter played in just five games on special teams and tallied one tackle; in 2007 he redshirted. By 2008 Carter made a couple of starts when the Sooners started an extra defensive back. Yet, he was a big role player off of the bench despite his lack of starts and ended the season tallying 36 tackles. By his junior campaign Carter was finally starting at the free safety spot and had a fine season. He finished the regular season as Oklahoma's second leading tackler with 80 stops and picked off three passes. In the Sun Bowl victory over Stanford, Carter added eight more tackles and another interception. For his efforts Carter earned a variety of All-Big 12 accolades.
The honors should keep rolling in during Carter's senior season. Through ten games the 6-1, 200 pound Las Vegas, Nevada native totaled 71 tackles and two interceptions. Carter will even occasionally get into the backfield and has 2.0 tackles-for-loss this season and 5.0 in his collegiate career.
Carter is a big hitter who has the size and the speed to be a great free safety at the next level. Carter is arguably the best free safety in this class and he should hear his name called during the second or third round if he keeps performing as well as he has over the last two years.
#105 Luke Stocker TE, Tennessee 6-6, 252lbs.
Has good, soft hands. Shows nice body control and ability to adjust to the throw. Does a good job turning upfield quickly after making the catch to pick up maximum yards after the catch. Will run hard after the catch. Has the body and size to be able to make the catch in traffic, doing a nice job shielding defenders from the ball. Is an effective blocker that is able to get position and provide some push against linebackers on the edge. Shows good effort there and will play to the whistle, finishing his blocks. Can get the seal block. Shows ability to work as an inline blocker or as an H-back.
Inconsistent blocker that needs to show better pop off the snap. Also needs to improve his hand placement and be more consistent getting position. Doesn't always hold his blocks when he does get proper position. Doesn't show great burst or ability to really stretch the defense.
A good receiver that has the ability to be a steady security blanket for a quarterback in the middle of the field. Stocker runs a lot of shorter routes, but he flashes playmaking speed and ability. Works both as an inline blocker and H-back, but shows a bit more consistency with hitting his assignments when he's working inline. Is a capable as a blocker, but not great there. But shows the potential to be a more effective blocker down the line. Comparisons to Jason Witten aren't that far off if he can get in the right system on the next level.
What I Want to See in 2010:
I want to see more consistency as a blocker. Getting stronger and showing better hand placement and pop off the snap would help there. As a receiver, I'd like to see Tennessee's offense make better use of him down the field. It'll be interesting to see if his production increases this year. He'll have a new quarterback (Matt Simms), but the main thing with him is probably going to be used a lot more in the redzone. There isn't a whole lot of improvement I expect out of Stocker. As a blocker, I think he'll get much better coaching at the next level to try and develop that ability. And I think an NFL quarterback will probably find him a more valuable asset than he's been used so far at Tennessee.
He has first round potential. The comparisons to Witten could certainly help his stock, who was a third round pick that is an elite tight end today. He has all the tools you want to see in an first round pick, but it will likely depend on his production and his workouts, namely his speed. He has good speed, but running the 4.6-4.7 range isn't going to do much to help his stock. More than likely, Stocker will be a first or second round pick based off the initial read that this will be a down year for tight ends. THat could push him into the first round as the best of the bunch, but more likely he'll go somewhere in the middle-to-late part of the second round.
#136 Muhammad Wilkerson DT, Temple 6-5, 305lbs.
Muhammad Wilkerson is one of the best defensive tackles that most people in the country have never heard of. The 6-5, 305 pound junior has been a huge part of the Temple turnaround. As a freshman in 2008, Wilkerson did not see too much playing time, but he tallied 2.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack. More impressively, Wilkerson got his hands up and broke up four passes. In 2009 Wilkerson totaled 10.5 tackles-for-loss and 7.0 sacks. Wilkerson did a superb job getting into the backfield and wreaking havoc against every Mid-American Conference opponent. Even when Wilkerson was not getting to the quarterback, he was making tackles and stuffing the run. He ended the season with 61 tackles, which is quite impressive for a defensive lineman.
The 2010 campaign has been even more impressive. Wilkerson is third on the team with 70 tackles with a bowl game yet to play. Once again, tallying that many tackles is nearly unheard of and his ability to stuff the run makes him one of the most dangerous defensive tackles.
When Wilkerson is not stuffing the run, he is still getting into the backfield. This season he has 13.0 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks. There is not much else Wilkerson can do to improve his NFL stock. He has been relatively consistent over the last two years and could very easily be a second or third round selection if he opts to go pro early.
#147 Alex Henery K, Nebraska
Alex Henery has developed into one of the most consistent kickers in the collegiate ranks; he is not too shabby of a punter either. Henery redshirted in 2006 and soon after started breaking records which would continue for the next four years. As a freshman in 2007, Henery stepped into the starting role and had one of the best seasons ever by a Nebraska kicker. Not only did Henery become just the ninth kicker in Cornhusker history to have a perfect point after attempt season by connecting on all 45 attempts, but he was also the first player at Nebraska with at least five field goal attempts in a season without a miss. Going 45-45 on PATs and 8-8 on field goals was a great way to start a kicking career.
Nebraska continued to score a lot of points and the following year Henery connected on 56 of his 57 PATs. He also made 18 of 21 field goals, with two of those misses from 50 yards or more. The good times kept going in 2009. Henery was again perfect on extra points and made 24 of 28 field goals; again with a majority of his misses coming from 50 yards or longer. Henery's only miss through the regular season in 2010 has come on a block that was again over 50 yards. He also connected on all 53 PATs.
On his place kicking alone, Henery is probably the top kicker on most draft boards. He has a strong leg with a career long field of 57 yards. But Henery is also a solid punter and has handled those duties for Nebraska during 2009 and 2010. Henery may not be one of those rare kicker who is worth a third round selection, but it would not be a stretch for him to be off the board by the fifth round.
# 167 Chris Hairston OT, Clemson 6'7" 325
Chris Hairston was not a very highly regarded recruit coming out of high school, but with a 6-7 frame to fill in, it was quite apparent that he could develop into a fine collegiate blocker. However, Hairston has become more than just a good offensive tackle at the college level; he could work his way into the top three rounds of the NFL Draft. Even by the end of his freshman campaign Hairston was making an impact. He played a lot during the Chick-fil-A Bowl and was starting to emerge as a solid tackle. Hairston stepped into a starting role as a sophomore, but really came on strong during his junior campaign.
For his efforts in 2009, Hairston was named to the second-team All-ACC squad and, heading into 2010, he was ready to take over for the departed Thomas Austin as the leader of the offensive line. Yet, there were some questions about whether or not this unheralded lineman was ready to emerge as a leader of the unit. Hairston answered those questions during his senior season and helped pave the way for the dynamic rushing duo of Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington.
Hairston is a very smart player. He may not be the most physically dominating offensive lineman in this class, but he rarely makes mental mistakes. Hairston has the strength to be a solid right tackle in the NFL, but teams will have to take a close look at his footwork before they use a second or third round selection on him.
#204 Greg McElroy, QB Alabama 6'2" 225
Projected Round (2011): 6-FA.
3/29/10: Should be a solid backup quarterback in the NFL. He did a great job managing Alabama's games, throwing 17 touchdowns to only four interceptions. His completion percentage (60.9) and YPA (7.7) of course won't blow you away.
Positives: A winner, even a national champion, both in high school and college. Can be very accurate with good footwork. Two-year SEC starter demonstrates good ability to read coverage and make the right decision. Excellent TD/INT ratio. Has a nice touch on deep throws. While not blessed with a cannon arm, has enough arm strength to make most throws. Decent pocket presence and ability to detect pressure.
Negatives: Has a hitch in the throwing motion, where the wrist turns the ball almost 180 degrees right before his elbow starts moving forward. Most NFL teams will insist on correcting that. Not fast, agile or mobile. When pressured, has a tendency to lose his footwork, and that is when his accuracy fails. May have disproportionately benefited from superior supporting casts in both college and high school.
Please feel free to leave comments, concerns, criticisms.