I wanted to do a post on the draft. Not our teams needs but on what will probably be available to us.
I do not pretend to have the ability to actually judge talent so I am going to try and give an assessment based on opinions I have read from numerous sources. Well, there really isn't much else to do anyway right? After the Jump.
Top 6- The top picks are reserved for Extremely Elite players. These are the very rare ones. Sometimes there are 2-3 of these players. This year there are 6. Players a team just can't pass up. People that have been blessed with talent above the levels of anyone else in the draft at their positions. Some fans get confused over this. They think a team is stupid for drafting Cam Newton #1 because he might bust. This isn't how an NFL team looks at it. They see a once in a lifetime athlete with a very special skill set. He can be the best QB out of the group.
Cam Newton (QB) If Cam Newton checks out on the "intangibles" a team that needs a QB has to draft him #1. No matter what you believe about Cam Newton almost every team has been convinced that he can do the job. If he can then a team is set for years. Don't declare Carolina brain dead. They have had more people investigate Cam than the FBI has on its entire payroll. He is the #1 choice for a reason and won't last long in this draft.
Blaine Gabbert (QB)- Isn't quite the elite athlete Cam is but certainly has the build, arm and qualities of a future franchise guy. If a team passes on him they could end up looking for another franchise guy for years. He will go top Five.
Patrick Peterson(CB)- Most talented player in the draft is the sentence used most to describe him. If a team has two great CBs they still take Peterson if he is on the board.
Von Miller (DE/OLB)- Athletically this guy is gifted. Fortunately for him many teams are picking in the top 5 that play (or want to play) a 3-4 defense. Although lighter in weight this man can sack a QB. I have a difficult time not seeing him as elite and dropping out of the top 5.
Marcel Darrius (DT) Not a man named Suh, but the best DT in the country.
A.J.Green (WR) Fast, tall,and can catch. But what he does best is get separation. This is what makes him unique
Next tier -Top 7-11 These are guys that are not Elite, but so talented and athletic they are tough to pass on in the draft. A team might pass on one of these but they will probably start on most teams before the end of next season.
Rick Spielman has said that he sees 12 Very top players in this years draft. I see 11 of them. I will take him at his word although it is difficult to believe that he used the number 12 the same year we are picking 12th. Hmmm. That could be cover for not selecting a QB. Hmmm. Very tricky guy that Mr. Spielman. Anyway these are the next MVP canidates.
Nick Fairly ( DT) a one year wonder but a tough, fierce, mean, defensive end. If he had played more than one year he would have been the #2 draft pick next year.
D'Quan Bowers (DE) - He has knee problems. If it checks out perfect then a team is getting an Elite player at a bargain price. The risk here is medical, not talent.
Julio Jones (WR) - I can't tell the difference between Julio Jones and AJ Green. To me they are both tall gifted Elite receivers. But the scouting sites consistently pick AJ over Julio. He did have a foot fracture that slowed him up at the combine. Can't wait to see how fast he is after surgery.
Tyron Smith ( OT)- I know this guy gets little love from the Norseman crowd but he has risen to the top of the heap on every draft board I read for offensive tackle.
Prince Amukamura (CB)- This is another AJ/ Julio argument. Is Patrick Peterson really better than "The Prince"? disclaimer. I'm the only guy calling him "the prince" but I can't say or spell Amukamura. Anyway he can really play the CB position and is a very very good athlete.
The rest: These are the middle guys. These are players. Not the gift from God types but sometimes the best types. These guys might not have the elite athleticism but they might have heart, determination, and other factors that make them great players. In every single draft teams kick themselves for passing on these players.
Robert Quinn (DE/ OLB). He didn't play college ball last year. His only knock
Anthony Castanza ( OT)- Needs a little weight, but most pro teams will help him with that.
Cameron Jordan ( DE)- His Dad was a Viking. I like that in a guy.
JJ Watt (DE)- Another DE that looks like the real deal.
Ryan Kerrigan ( DE/OLB)- These guys are like broken record. But a good song to repeat.
Now, I know there are other players in this draft. But the rest have interesting issues or have some risk/reward features that make the draft hard to predict. As far as the Vikings are concerned I have no doubt in my mind they will do the following.
1) If they have decided that one of the QBs available is the one true Viking then I think they either move up to #6 if that person is available or take their man ( Locker or Ponder) at #12. I see moving down in the draft for Locker, Ponder, or Dalton as very risky. The one draft rule that rules them all is this. Never ever ever pass on a Franchise QB. If we have identified one then get one. If we do move back I hope it is in small steps to help alleviate the risk.
2) Presuming no QB really meets our first round test I believe we will take any of the top 11 players listed that are available. I mean a Fairley, Bowers, or Prince don't come around to often. If one of them is there I believe Spielman will take him.
3) If all of the top 11 are gone I think then Spielman will move down. Not to get a QB but to get a DE. He says there are 22 that will go in the first 2 rounds. I see him getting a DE and an O-Lineman plus other needs in this draft. If he can't find his Franchise QB then stock up the lines, hire a vet, and wait till next year. In the meantime, keep building for the future.