Howdy fellow Vikings fans! Josh_D here from the DN's sister (borther?) site Mocking the Draft to drop some mock draft fun your direction. I recently finished a mock draft that took place entirely on twitter as the GM of the Vikings. The other GMs were composed of team site bloggers, draftniks, and a few of the folks from Pro Football Focus. You can see the full result here, but I will show the Vikings results with comments below. The big caveat for this version of the Twitter Mock was that no trades were allowed, so we could only use the picks that were already assigned to your team. That made it especially tough sitting through the 3rd round, but I think I was still able to hit on needs and depth with the nine picks the Vikings currently hold. MockTwo took a little over a week to complete (a little less than a round a day. Finished last Tuesday.) and Josh Buchanan of JBScouting.com (best small school scout out there) is currently grading how each team did.
Before you get to deep into analyzing how the results from MockTwo make you feel, I want to let you all know that Daily Norseman blogger OrlandoVikesFan, @MN_CheapSeats, and myself with be heading up the Vikings War Room for MockThree which begins on Monday. You can follow along here or on Twitter by searching #MockThree. This time around there will be trades and the three of us will be the de facto "Triangle of Authority" as it were. Hope you all get a chance to follow along and enjoy it. Until then, here are all my picks from MockTwo with the comments I made after each pick:
1st Round, 12th Overall Pick: DE Da’Quan Bowers Clemson 6'4'' 275lbs
Without any trades, the Vikings were/had to be content with grabbing talent that fell out of the Top Ten picks. With T.Smith, Gabbert, and Amakumara taken in succession before the 12th pick, The highest rated player still left was Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers.
The Vikings have quite a few needs and with Edwards leaving in FA (most likely) having someone to play opposite Jared Allen becomes a big need. Both because of the 4-3 D they employ and because of the QBs they will be facing in the NFC North. Brian Robison is a good situational pass rusher, but may not be an every down guy and Griffin has had issues off the field which makes it hard to count on him in the short term. Bowers’s stock is taking a hit a the moment because people are worried about his knee, but until the medical reports from the re-check in Indy say he needs micro-fracture surgery, he is still our #1 ranked DE. Even with his knee this season, recorded 15 sacks, 25 TFLs, and has shown he can track ball carriers from sideline to sideline. This pick, should he remain healthy, will also pay dividends in a few years when Jared Allen is in the twilight of his career and Bowers can take his position on the line.
2nd round, 43rd Overall Pick: QB Jake Locker Washington 6'3'' 231lbs
The Vikings biggest off-season need has been at QB. While they will still go out and look for a veteran once free agency begins, but they now have a young one they can mold an offense around. Big arm, athletic, and young enough in his development as a drop back passer to be molded by the new offensive staff.
This is a QB that didn’t even throw passes til he was a senior in high school due to the Wing-T offense they employed. Spent two years in a spread option attack under Willingham and started over form scratch once Sarkisian came to Washington. Went through a lot of adversity (coaching/offensive philosophy changes) and poor/young talent around him on both sides of the ball (since the 2007 season: 2 Husky’s have been drafted, both on defense in the 2010 draft) and no one in the draft is cleaner off the field. Essentially he is a true sophomore in terms of pro-style development giving our current staff a lot to work with. Vikings get their #3 QB at pick 43 and have a ton of potential to develop at the position for years to come.
4th Round, 106th Overall Pick: OG/OT DeMarcus Love Arkansas 6'5'' 315lbs
Not going to lie, I was hoping for John Moffitt to fall to us (“BENGALS!!!!”, he yelled, shaking his fist at the sky), but we are very happy to get DeMarcus instead. Mr. Love played in Arkansas’s pro style system that made changes at the line and used similar verbage to the NFL, so these things wont take time to teach him. Also because of the system they employ at Arkansas, Love has experience at every O-Line position except center and played the Power Tackle (blindside tackle in their system) for that last two years after playing guard as a freshman and sophomore.
He should be able to compete with Ryan Cook and Chris DeGeare as the first lineman in after the starting five and be pushing for a starting job by his second season if not towards the end of his first. I think he settles in at guard, but if he shows he can man the tackle position, that would be an even bigger gain.
Was a little worried that it was a reach and had there been trades I might have tried to move down, but when the Titans attempted to draft him 3 picks later those worries vanished.
5th Round, 139th Overall Pick: FS Mark LeGree Appalachian State 6' 210lbs
Mark has the instincts and ball hawking ability the Vikings are looking for in the back of their secondary. His 22 career INTs puts him ahead of the entire DB class with Brian Lainhart of Kent State (17) the next closest. His size (6’0” 210lbs) and speed (#2 overall in both 40 yard dash and 3 cone drill for safeties at combine) fit well with their defensive system. Should be able to compete for playing time right away and contribute on special teams.
5th Round, 150th Overall Pick: TE Rob Housler Florida Atlantic 6'5'' 248lbs
Housler is a WR in a TE’s body. He measures 6’5” 248lbs, but looks like he could still add weight, though that might not be ideal. He is knocked down because he isn’t a very good blocker, but he does have a big upside as a pass catcher and red zone threat. His size makes him a mismatch regardless of where you line him up. Whether its on the line, in the slot, or outside, he has the speed and athleticism to be a threat. He gives the offense a nice size/speed combo that could be lacking with Sidney Rice possibly leaving or deadly if he stays.
6th Round, 172nd Overall Pick: CB Ryan Jones NW Missouri State 5'11'' 195lbs
Ryan Jones may be coming from a smaller school, but he has shown the skills and potential to be developed in the NFL. Has played in two National Championships and check out the stat line from his last two seasons: 111 tackles, 6 TFL, 11 INTs, 2 TDs, 24 PBU. He has clearly been challenged in college and stepped up to the task. Will push Asher Allen for the nickel corner/first sub position out the gate.
6th Round, 200th Overall Pick: WR Denarius Moore Tennessee 6'1'' 194lbs
Moore is a nice developmental project at WR. Has shown the ability to make plays after the catch and the body control to make tough catches outside his frame. Tends to disappear at times, but has also shown he can be a difference maker. Has the size/speed to play all the receiver positions.
7th Round, 215th Overall Pick: K Alex Henery Nebraska 6'2'' 175
Its no secret the Vikings have been looking for a kicker to groom behind/replace Longwell and Henery may be just the guy they are looking for. He held every kicking duty for the Cornhuskers and has a powerful leg. With the new kickoff rules, he has an honest chance to be constantly forcing teams into touch backs while also handling FG duties.
7th Round, 236th Overall Pick: FB/H-Back/3DB Stanley Havili USC 6'1'' 230lbs
With the final Vikings pick in MockTwo, we were able to get a valuable weapon that adds a lot of versatility to the offense. Havili’s biggest strength is catching passes out of the back field and he is very dangerous when he gets into the open field. Has a lot of speed and power for such a big guy (6’1 230lbs) which would allow him to contribute all over the field.
He is a better pass blocker than run blocker, but its has more to due with technique because he is a more than willing blocker. Because he can play multiple positions, he can help free up a couple roster spots for added depth at other positions. Had off-season shoulder surgery which has prevented him from participating in all-star games, combine, and the like, but his tape is fantastic and he could contribute right away.