A few weeks back I made my first attempt at showcasing my talent evaluation skills with my Mock draft v 1.0. Today I am going to use what I've seen at the NFL Scouting Combine and take another crack at who I think will help the Purple and Gold in the near future.
Round 1 (pick #12) Anthony Castonzo, OT Boston College. In my first mock I had the Vikings selecting LB Akeem Ayers from UCLA who I still like a lot. However I am taking the approach from an new head coach's perspective and I am going to build my franchise from the trenches out. And there's nobody better than this young man. In recent weeks all the buzz as been centered around Colorado's Nate Solder and USC's Tyron Smith. However I believe that Anthony Castonzo is a day one starter who can be a perenial pro bowler for the next 10 years. He is a fine athlete for his size (6'7", 311 lbs) who still has room to grow. He has great technique and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist. This will lead to questions about what our plans are for Bryant McKinnie. If a new CBA is in place by the draft, I would consider trading McKinnie for possibly picking up that 3rd round pick that we need.
Alternate picks: Akeem Ayers, LB UCLA; Julio Jones, WR Alabama; Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska.
Round 2 (pick #43) Jake Locker, QB Washington. If he makes it past the Dolphins at #15, there's a good chance that he will slide to us in the second round. Many believe that Pete Carrol might draft him at #25, but I think he is happy with Hasslebeck and Whitehurst and will pass on Locker. There have been a lot of questions regarding Locker's accuracy, but I love this kid's work ethic and attitude. Unlike some of the other top QB prospects (Newton and Mallet specifically) this kid has tremedous character and no off-field baggage. This is the type of kid that you want to be the face of your franchise. I have been an advocate of finding a day-one starter with your first and second round picks, but I think Locker has too much potential to pass up at this point. Now we have our bookend offensive tackle and QB of the future taken care of.
Alternative picks: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT Temple, Aaron Williams, CB Texas, Rahim Moore, FS UCLA, Stefen Wisniewski C, Penn St.
4th round (pick #105) John Moffitt, C/G Wisconsin. If the rumors are correct and new Viking's OC Bill Musgrave does implement a man-blocking scheme, Moffit will be a perfect fit. This kid is a mauler. He started at left guard for the bagders and was an important piece to their strong run game. He can come in and compete with Anthony Herrera and be a long-term replacement for Steve Hutchinson. The fact that he has been working at center lately only adds to his value as he is a versitile player. This pick continues my trend of building this team from the trenches out.
Alternative picks: Stephen Schilling, G Michigan; Clint Boling, G Georgia; Tyler Sash, SS Iowa; Mason Foster, LB Washington; Sam Acho, DL Texas; Deunta Williams, S UNC
5th round (pick #136) Greg Little, WR UNC. From a skill standpoint this would be a huge steal in the 5th round. He has the ability to be a 2nd rounder. However Little missed the 2010 season after he was declared academically ineligble. That may be enough to cause him to drop this far. He's a big target with some speed to seperate from defenders. If the Vikings lose out on Sidney Rice this offseason, receiver will become a position of need and will probably will need to be addressed earlier. With that being said, Little could contribute on day one and should get better as he works himself back into playing shape.
Alternative picks: Greg Salas, WR Hawaii, Ricky Stanzi, QB Iowa
5th round (pick #147) Will Hill, FS Florida. Hill could be drafted as early as the 3rd round. However scouts think that he is a more of a cover two safety which may hurt his stock. He has good size at 6'1" 202 lbs and a high ceiling. His reputation as a partier has come into question and he will no doubt be asked about that reputation this weekend. If the Vikings do their homework, as they did with another former Gator, and draft him, I will assume it is because he has proved to the FO that he is a changed man and is focused on a career in the NFL.
Alternative picks: Jaiquawn Jarrett, S Temple; Justin Rogers, CB Richmond; Tori Gurley, WR South Carolina.
6th round (pick #167) Jordan Cameron, TE USC. Not the Cameron that most of you thought I was referring to in my headline (hey I had to get you to read it somehow). But this kid is a raw, former receiver who has lit up the Combine. He's 6'5", 250lbs and he was the top performer among TE's in the 40 yard dash, verticle jump, broad jump, bench press, 3 cone drill, 20 yard shuttle and 60 yard shuttle. A true workout warrior. He has tremedous upside and could be a nice future replacement for Shank. I really like Luke Stocker, but I think he will be drafted in the late second or early third round (dam Moss deal).
Alternative picks: Greg McElroy, QB Alabama; Owen Marciec, FB/LB Stanford; Ryan Bartholomew, C Syracuse.
7th round (pick # 204) Brandon Bair, DL Oregon. I see this kid as a poor man's Brian Robison. He's a fast motor guy who has some versitily to play DE on 1st and 2nd down, and can slide inside to DT on passing situations.
Alternative picks: Julius Thomas, TE Portland State; Ryan Winterswyk, DE Boise St; Alex Henery, K/P Nebraska.
Well there you have it ladies and gentlement. Comments are appreciated!
*This mock does not contain the compensatory pick we might have coming to us for losing Chester Taylor last season. It could be anywhere from a 3rd-7th round pick (most likely a 6th or 7th).