Well here we are. One week away from the real NFL Draft. As the anticipation mounts, I am handling the anxiety the only way I know how: by publishing my latest mock draft. Let me preface this version by including what I percieve to be the Vikings team needs heading into 2011.
1. QB It has been no secret that I am nervous about the idea of selecting a QB (especially early) in this draft. The thought of
Cecil Cam Newton as the face of our franchise is down right scarry. But not as frieghtening as John Daily, Pig Suey, Ryan Mallet. The latest rumor is that he blew off a meeting with the Panthers because he was hungover, or "crudo" as we say in Northern New Mexico (the d in spanglish makes a "th" sound, so its pronounced "crew-thO").
2. Offensive line I actually think that our tackles are okay and can be productive for a few more seasons, provided they stay healthy and at a reasonable weight. I think our biggest issues are within, literally. The interior of our line needs some immediate help. Particulary at center and right guard.
3. Secondary It will be very tempting to draft a corner in round 1 and a safety in round 2, if the right prospect falls to us. But if we add a capable corner, then it is reasonable that either Cook or Griff could be moved inside to FS. Then we could allow Abdullah and Sanford battle it out for SS.
4. Defensive line If Ray Edwards leaves town (99% chance) and Phat Pat retires (60% chance) then we will definately need some depth here. And while it might be tempting to draft a new toy early, this unit has been the deepest on the Vikes roster for a few years now. Guys like Robison and Guion are ready to contribute.
5. Tight End You know that I have been pretty lucky because my whole time as a Vikings fan, I have enjoyed solid play from this position. From Steve Jordan, through Andrew Glover, Jermaine Wiggins and now Shank and Sauce, this position has been solid. Now is the time to continue the streak and draft an eventual replacement for our aging corps.
With that, I give you my latest mock draft after the jump.
Round 1. There's 3 players I believe the Vikings covet at #12, Prince Amukamara, Blaine Gabbert and Robert Quinn. Unfortunately all three are off the board at #12, so with the 12th pick in the 2011 draft, the Vikings trade with the New Orleans Saints.
Details of the trade:
Vikings receive the Saints 1st round pick (#24 overall, worth 740 points), 2nd round pick (#56 overall, worth 340 points) and their 3rd round pick (#88 overall, worth 150 points), for a total value of 1230 points.
Saints receive the Vikings 1st round pick (#12 overal, worth 1200 points), 6th round pick (# 172 overall, worth 24.6 points), for a total value of 1224.6 points.
The two teams may swap 7th round picks (#215 for #226) to even out the point value.
#24 Jake Locker, QB Washington. I went back and forth on this pick. But I am convinced that Leslie Frazier wants to put his stamp on the franchise by drafting a franchise QB. He targeted Blaine Gabbert in the first but Gabbert was selected #1 overall and Locker was the 2nd QB on their board. This kid might need some time with a clip board, but the more I see the more I like. Sure I would have liked his completion % to be higher and for him to have won more games; but the kid has a winner's attitude. He says and does all the right things and will be entrusted to be the face of the franchise. Plus the Vikes sign Donovan McNabb once the CBA is ironed out, which allows the coaches to bring Jake along slowly.
#43 Aaron Williams, DB Texas Right now Williams is getting some mixed reviews, mainly because Mayock believes that he is better suited to play safety in the NFL. At 6'0" 204 Williams has the size and strength to move inside. But his 4.4 forty time at his pro day also indicates that he is capable of playing corner. Williams probably has the finest body control out of all the DB's in the entire draft. Whether he stays at corner or moves to safety, I see a lot of upside in this kid.
#56 Clint Boling, G Georgia. The one word I consistently find attributed to this man is "nasty." If there's one way that you'd like for your offensive linemen to be described, nasty would be the adjective that you were hoping for. This guy is a mauler and he plays with a mean streak. We saw AP get hit in the backfield one too many times in 2010 and Boling can come in and help fix that from day one.
#88 Jarvis Jenkins, DT Clemson. 6'4" 310 lbs. He will definately need to improve his strength to realize his potential. But after running a sub 5.0 forty, his stock will surely rise. Jenkins dominated all the one on one drills at the Senior Bowl.
#106 Luke Stocker, TE Tennessee. At 6'5" 260lbs., Stocker possess the ideal size to be a prototypical NFL tight end. He has already drawn comparisons to Dallas' Jason Witten, and I believe that Stocker is the most complete TE in the draft.
#139 Torrence Toliver, WR LSU. 6'4", 212 lbs. 32" arms, 10" hands. He ran a 4.52 forty. He posted a 33.5" vertical, a 10'2" broad jump, 6.48 3-cone drill, 4.03 20-yard shuttle, and 11.4 in the 60 yard shuttle. In addition to all those measurables, Toliver is described as a great blocker; something that will benefit the Vikings run-first mentality in 2011.
#150 Kelvin Sheppard, LB LSU. Yep, another Bayou Bengal. At 6'3" 240lbs, Sheppard is a versitle player who can come in and compete for the starting job vacated by Ben Leber on the outside in year one, and slide inside to the MLB if needed.
#200 Jordan Cameron, TE USC. There's a very good chance that he does not make it to the 6th round. But if he is on the board the Vikings would be wise to pull the trigger. He's similar size to Stocker, but the two have different skill sets. Cameron is a wr in a te's body.
#226 Brian Lainhart, FS Kent State
#236 Jason Kelce, C Cincinnati