This may seem a little disjointed, so I apologize for that. Just ‘typing out loud’ with no real direction in mind, just wanted to get my thoughts down on our roster and the draft.
For starters, we need to trim the fat on this team. Sheppard, Walker, Baskett, Lewis, BB, Tahi … I’m sure I’m forgetting a name or two, but those are the ones that stick out off the top of my head.
As far as positions go…
QB – Webb, Bomar // I could see the Vikes bringing in a vet to allow these guys to develop, but I can’t get too excited about the options (Hasselbeck and McNabb are risky and aging; the price for Orton or Kolb is too high; Palmer is trash; VY is fairly inconsistent and has character issues that are questionable – not sure what the infatuation is there with some Vikes fans). I’d rather go after a Dennis Dixon-type and let three youngsters duke it out for the starter position ... you'd think one of them would work out. Or, draft a mid-round QB (i.e. Dalton??) and let the same scenario play out. Or all of the above and shift Webb back to WR.
Regardless, none of the ‘top rated’ QB’s in the draft are locks, at least enough to throw a #12 at one of them. Gabbert’s value only rose when Luck didn’t declare, and with his history in the spread it’s a large leap to assume he’ll be comfortable under center; Mallett has off-the-field issues and by all accounts he is overrated; Newton is all hype and at least two years away from being a worthy start; I was down with Locker initially, but the more I think about it the more sketchy it becomes. All in all, a crapshoot. Just because there are QB’s available doesn’t mean we need to burn a first-rounder on one. (Having said that, I understand there is similar risk in my initial argument of a Dixon/Webb/Dalton/Bomar scenario -- but at least in that situation, we came out with a 1st rd pick not wasted on a QB.)
Besides, all this first-round QB talk is laughable. Are memory spans that short?? Clausen and McCoy were slated to go 1st round, look what happened there. Tebow only went early because McDaniels reached, and that’s still a big question mark in Denver. There will be plenty of talent outside the first, and unless one of those QB’s seriously impresses the coaches and FO, I see no reason to take one early. Time will tell, but at this point I don’t see it. There’s no better way to push a franchise back a few years than pinning your hopes on a QB bust…and with how close we are with the talent we have, I’d rather use that 1st rounder on another area of need.
Shame Chilly traded away Rosenfels…say what you will, he would have been a solid starter for this team.
RB/FB – Peterson, Gerhart, D’Imperio // Let Tahi go and bring in D’Imperio. Other than that, nothing to say here.
WR – Rice, Harvin, Camarillo, Arceneaux, Iglesias // Some question marks here, obviously, but IMO that’s a solid core to run with. Haven’t seen anything on Iglesias but watched a little bit of highlight reel on Arceneaux, looks to be a good route-runner. Berrian is overpayed for his production (or lack thereof) and easily replaceable with one of these new players, I think it’s time to part ways there. As for Rice, assuming he’s healthy, I guess lock him up. I simply hope there isn’t any doubt with his hip recovering 100%.
O-line – not even gonna venture a guess with naming potential starters, we need a serious overhaul. McKinnie and Loadholt looked awful last season and I’m sure accounted for 2/3rd’s of penalty yardage, not to mention they contributed greatly to Favre’s deterioration. I understand the whole ZBS debate, but we need at least one high-end tackle out of this draft, because if next season yields similar results with these two, we aren’t going to get very far.
With that in mind, trading down in the 1st round (and obtaining more picks) to draft an OT is the most logical view (I’m partial to Tyron Smith, though maybe I’m valuing athleticism over the ‘monster’ tackles); as long as they are a good fit for us, take any of the top OT’s and let it ride. Guard isn’t looking spectacular but it could be worse, hopefully Hutch will return to form and DeGeare can develop well -- it’s possible we draft for depth and the future, Ijalana or Moffitt come to mind in the 3rd and onward, but that’s the least of the O-line’s worries in my eyes. For Center, it’d be great to pick up Kalil from Carolina, but I question if that will happen, either. Supposedly we are interested in Brandon Fusco out of Slippery Rock, could be good mid-round value in the draft. I also think we should retain Cook – while he isn’t the best player, his versatility on the line is invaluable.
D-line – Allen and K. Williams are locks. I know people want to keep Edwards around, but I say good riddance, if only for his poor team attitude (shoving Gerhart during training camp and yelling at Chris Cook on the sideline during that GB beatdown being prime examples). With E. Griffen, Robison, and now Awasome and possibly Hunt out of the CFL, I think that’s a clear sign Edwards isn’t coming back. In the middle, Guion could work out assuming Pat is done, or we could address DT at some point in the draft. The line looks solid enough regardless.
LB – Greenway needs to be locked up, long-term. EJ is money. Leber would be nice to keep but if he has to go, so be it, we have some depth there and I’m sure one of them will work out. Excited to have Singletary as the coach.
Secondary – here’s where things get interesting. To me, this all depends on the draft. I highly doubt Amukamara will still be available at #12, but strange things happen every so often and if he falls to us, he’s a must-draft player…screw trading down for more picks, getting Prince at #12 would be a godsend.
Playing this out as if that happens, Amukamara is an immediate starter opposite Ced (hopefully his knees won’t slow him down…) with Antoine at nickel. Shifting Cook to FS is an intriguing move that I think needs to be considered; I don’t hear enough speculation on that. Abdullah showed his worth as last season progressed, I believe he deserves that spot until he proves otherwise. Personally, I think Asher Allen is garbage, but until someone outplays him for a bench spot we have to keep him around, maybe another year under his belt will do him well with some off-season work. Sanford is worth a roster spot, but for Madieu I’m not certain I can say the same.
…of course, all of that is predicated on nabbing Amukamara. If Prince is gone at #12 (which he most likely will be), trade down for an OT and draft the best CB available with the second or third rounder we pick up in return. Regarding other moves, I also question our ability to land Asomugha via FA -- read: the cost of such a deal. Better to lock up the studs we have to long-term deals (Greenway, AP, etc.)
Bottom line – I guess I don’t get all the ‘drafting a QB early’ talk, considering our lack of early-round picks and a couple other pressing needs. If we shore up the O-line and get our defense back to form, we’re immediately back in playoff contention.
Your thoughts/flames are welcome, thanks for reading.