FanPost

Rick Spielman's Draft History

DCPurple did a hell of a lot of research for this post, from the looks of things. It deserves to be noticed. - Chris

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I've wanted to take a closer look at Rick Spielman's actual record with the Vikings, so I ran the figures and thought you folks might be interested in what I've found. He may not be fully responsible, but as Personnel Director, he certainly had a piece of it.

I've looked at it before but only for something specific, and as you all know, when you look for something, you're probably going to find it. This time, I'm trying to look over the whole thing. The data is primarily drawn from www.wikipedia.org, www.vikings.com, and www.nfl.com . Some of it was, frankly, a surprise to me. It's probably not 100% complete, either, there's some gaps that I can see and it doesn't cover walk-on talent at all. Spielman probably had some input even with the walk-ons, and with re-signings, and the few trades, because if nothing else, as ‘Personnel Director', he had to be involved with figuring out salary offerings, just as I expect that all of the coaches had some input or recommendations on draft choices. I understand why they tried to do this ‘by committee', but having an ultimately accountable person is critical for any organization.

I'm not going to claim that it's entirely objective. I have my opinions about the RESULTS of his choices, (and SBN ate my pretty color coded ratings, lol), and my summary is also subjective. But the data is there, you be the judge. I consider a 1st string position to be a successful pick in most cases (100% success), 2nd string is ok (50% success), 3rd string is a fail (25% success), as are any picks that are gone now (0% success).

Spielman's Draft History

In May of 2006, Spielman replaced Fran Foley. That means he had nothing to do with the 2006 draft, so he's not on the hook for T-Jack, Ryan Cook or Greg Blue, but neither does he get credit for Greenway, Griffin, or Edwards.

Therefore, I'm picking up the trail in 2007.

2007

Round

Name

Pos

College

Notes

Today

1

Adrian Peterson

RB

Oklahoma

MIN 1st String

2

Sidney Rice

WR

South Carolina

Lost in Free Agency

SEA Injured Reserve

3

Marcus McCauley

CB

Fresno State

Out of NFL

4

Brian Robison

DE

Texas

MIN 1st String

5

Aundrae Allison

WR

East Carolina

TB Cut

6

Rufus Alexander

LB

Oklahoma

Out of NFL

7

Tyler Thigpen

QB

Coastal Carolina

BUF 2nd String

7

Chandler Williams

WR

Florida International

KC Cut

AD, Rice, and Robison are all clearly excellent picks. But I took Rice away because he's no longer a Viking and I put part of that on Spielman for, IMO, bungling the contract negotiations. Waiting until the final weeks of a contract before renegotiating it may seem like a great idea for applying leverage, until you do it with a guy who has great options elsewhere. All of the rest are utterly wasted picks, they may as well have been thrown away.

2008

Round

Player

Pos

College

Notes

Today

2

Tyrell Johnson

S

Arkansas State

MIN Injured Reserve

5

John D Booty

QB

USC

Out of NFL

5

Letroy Guion

DT

Florida State

MIN 2nd String

6

John Sullivan

C

Notre Dame

MIN 1st String

6

Jaymar Johnson

WR

Jackson State

ARI Practice Squad

Tyrell Johnson was the Viking's first pick in 2008 because they lost their #1 in the KC trade for Jared Allen. I think that may also be why they stuck with Johnson for so long, he was a huge mistake.

Guion appears to be a solid backup. That's not a bad value for 5th round. I still think Sullivan shouldn't be more than a backup Center, but it is what it is. I'm also still disappointed in Jaymar Johnson; Cris Carter's evaluation of the young man gave me a lot of hopes for him. But here we are, 4 years later, and he still can't crack 3rd string for the Cards.

2009

Round

Player

Pos

College

Notes

Today

1

Percy Harvin

WR

Florida

MIN 1st String

2

Phil Loadholt

OT

Oklahoma

MIN 1st String

3

Asher Allen

CB

Georgia

MIN 1st String

5

Jasper Brinkley

LB

South Carolina

From Redskins

MIN 2nd String

7

Jamarca Sanford

S

Ole Miss

MIN 1st String

This is Spielman's best draft. Every one of them is still on the team, 1st or 2nd string. And that's kind of sad, considering what we're seeing from Load, Asher, and Sanford, despite them being starters.

Brinkley, on the other hand, will likely be a starter next year. Before his injury, he showed that he could perform at a high level.

2010

Round

Player

Pos

College

Notes

Today

2

Chris Cook

CB

Virginia

From Lions

Listed as "OUT"

2

Toby Gerhart

RB

Stanford

From Texans

MIN 2nd String

4

Everson Griffen

DE

USC

From Lions

MIN 2nd String

5

Chris DeGeare

OT

Wake Forest

MIN Practice Squad

5

Nathan Triplett

LB

Minnesota

Compensatory pick

Out of NFL

6

Joe Webb

QB/WR

UAB

MIN 2nd String QB

7

Mickey Shuler

TE

Penn State

From Browns via Lions

MIN 3rd String

7

Ryan D'Imperio

LB

Rutgers

MIN 1st String FB

This draft is a mixed bag. Cook was finally turning the corner and beginning to look like a real CB when he got derailed by his off the field antics. When I look at his scouting reports, it shows that he was a real reach in the second round. Also, he was projected more as a Safety, and considering all the red flags he raised with his multiple academic suspensions, it's really not surprising that he's in trouble now. I hope he can turn it around, for the Viking's sake.

DeGeare is stuck on the Practice Squad, despite how pathetic the Vikings O-line is. That tells me all I needed to know about him. Shuler was also a Practice Squad guy BUT the Vikings are now supposed to be a 2-TE set team so 4 TEs is not unreasonable. More, since K-Sauce has retired and Shanko may not return, Shuler's stock is rising.

2011

Round

Player

Pos

College

Notes

Today

1

Christian Ponder

QB

Florida State

MIN 1st String

2

Kyle Rudolph

TE

Notre Dame

MIN 2rd String

4

Christian Ballard

DE

Iowa

MIN 2nd String

5

Brandon Burton

CB

Utah

MIN 2nd String

6

DeMarcus Love

T

Arkansas

From Broncos via Browns

MIN 2nd String LT

6

Mistral Raymond

S

South Florida

From Browns

MIN 1st String

6

Brandon Fusco

C

Slippery Rock

MIN 2nd String

6

Ross Homan

LB

Ohio State

Compensatory pick

MIN Cut

7

D'Aundre Reed

DE

Arizona

MIN 3rd String

7

Stephen Burton

WR

West Texas A&M

Compensatory pick

MIN IR

The 2011 draft is the most difficult to judge, not just because we don't have enough time to see the guys clearly, but also because of the sheer number of injuries the team sustained which propelled some of these guys up to the front of the depth chart before their time.

I don't think Ponder was a reach at all, the man clearly has what it takes and I'm glad he's in Purple. But could the Vikings have done better? We'll be debating that for years to come.

Summary

Success Rate

2 Centers - Both are average-to-mediocre

50%

4 Corner Backs - 1 worked out

25%

4 Defensive Ends - 3 worked out

75%

1 Defensive Tackles - 2nd string

50%

5 Linebackers - 2 worked out (one was converted to FB)

40%

3 Offensive Tackles - All are mediocre but 1 is starting

25%

4 Quarter Backs - 2 worked out

50%

2 Running Backs - Both worked out

100%

3 Safetys - All are mediocre, but 2 are starting

25%

2 Tight Ends - Both worked out, there's a lot of shuffling

100%

6 Wide Receivers - 2 worked out, but they lost one to SEA

22%

And in the end, it comes down to this. One or two great picks that work out are to be expected, even my grandmother could have done as well by reading Mocking the Draft. We expect much better from a professional. And even more from a man in the Viking's organization.

There's no way to be sure that a player will work out, either immediately or 3 years down the road, but scouts, coaches, and GMs look for indications that give them the best shot at drawing the right conclusions. We'll never know how many Peyton Mannings were never drafted or decided to go on to be lawyers instead of quarterbacks. It almost seems like a crap shoot, except... I don't think that's entirely the case. And I'm sure that NFL scouts have access to reams of data and databases and data mining applications that would boggle our minds, when it comes down to assessing players, and they have the eyes of the coaches who bring dozens of years of talent-spotting experience to the table. Bottom line, there's not a lot of excuse for consistent poor performance at the professional level, particularly across the long-term.

Spielman does really well at selecting RBs. 100% so far. But how difficult was it to decide to take Peterson when he miraculously fell to the Vikings? How difficult was it to pick Gerhart from amongst the RBs, the man who many said should have been the Heisman winner? How hard was it to spot Kyle Rudolph, the top-rated TE in the draft? Harvin was another flyer, but there was no question about his talent. Those were all no-brainers, and those are most of his ‘star picks'.

In my mind, the only real question remaining is; how much input control did Spielman have over the past 5 years or so? How much of the fiasco that is the Viking's draft history, actually belongs on Spielman's plate, or was a gift from Chilly and others? That's the question that I think Wilf is answering now, by making Spielman the GM. At this point, it's the only way to be sure. I just wish it wasn't the Viking's who's 2012 draft will be on the craps table.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a <em>community</em>, that view is no less important.

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