I participated in the Mocking The Draft Live Draft this past weekend. I tried something different this time just to see what would happen. It is not my final mock but it is a good exercise IMHO. Here is where you can see the draft tracker ...
Below the jump are the picks with explanations ...
1.3 Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
I made this pick because I wanted to go a different route in this mock as I picked Kalil in the first MTD draft. I think passing on Kalil could be a decision to haunt the Vikings for years but in the NFC North the passing attacks are serious. With Chicago adding Brandon Marshall, and Detroit having Megatron, and Green Bay having Jennings, Nelson, Jones, Finley, etc. the Vikings need to get some talent in the secondary.
The Vikings CB situation is bad. Chris Cook has been cleared but did not play at all last year so the jury is still out. Winfield is 35 years old and almost done. Asher Allen, Marcus Sherels, and Brandon Burton are depth type players at this point. Allen may have a future at the nickel spot.
I did not know if there would be someone in the second round that was as good as Claiborne is suppose to be.
It is definitely was a risky pick since the Vikings do want to protect Ponder. But as of today, there are a few free agent tackles out there and you never know when someone could get released.
Note: this draft was done before they signed Bowman which would not have mattered to me anyway.
2.35 Kelechi Osemele, OT, Iowa State
This pick was made by the moderator as I was unexpectedly away from the computer and could only follow along on my phone. I did email to go with Osemele here. However, I did not know Mike Adams was still available. Maybe I would have went with Adams instead. I expect that Adams could be gone here in the second round in the real draft.
I like Osemele a lot though. I know many scouts project him to guard. I think he will be a tackle because his arms are very long. He has experience at left tackle and that is where I expect him to play. He is not going to get bull rushed so with some more coaching and conditioning, I believe he could be a decent left tackle. Worst case scenario is he will be a right tackle.
Now looking back at the draft I could have taken Kalil and Janoris Jenkins with my first two picks which many would have said good job. But Jenkins has had some past issues that should concern the Vikings who already have Chris Cook with issues.
Osemele made the Honor Roll 3 times so his character is outstanding.
3.67 Markelle Martin, FS, Oklahoma State
Considering the safety class is extremely weak and the Vikings safeties are even weaker, Martin was an obvious choice at this point. I debated between Martin, George Iloka, and Mitchell Schwartz. I may regret passing on Iloka though. But the rankings between the two fluctuate depending on where you look. I chose Martin because of his speed.
Martin is another high character guy who won the team academic award in 2010 and won the Nate Fleming Award for his academic performance in 2011.
4.98 Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
I was hoping to get Marvin McNutt here but he was taken earlier. Thus, I had to look elsewhere. I thought about Greg Childs here after he ran very fast at his pro day. I though about Joe Adams, AJ Jenkins, and T.Y. Hilton too. In the end it was between Givens and Hilton. I went with Givens even though Hilton brings more to the return game. I just think Hilton has been banged up a little too much for my liking and Givens may actually be an outside WR.
5.131 Travis Lewis LB, Oklahoma
This pick was fairly easy. I am not sure why Lewis is dropping. Probably his size and speed is causing him to drop. Rest assured that he probably will not last until pick #131 in the real draft. He has too good of instincts to be a 5th round LB. You can have a fast guy with all the athletic skills to look good at the combine but on the field they are always taking a false step. Give me a guy who is a little slower but with great recognition skills. Those guys take a step earlier and are right there for the play.
7.195 Rishard Matthews WR, Nevada
I am not sure how Matthews lasted this long either considering his production at Nevada. He led the WAC in receptions and yards. He brings skills to the punt return game. Also, he was an Honors candidate this year too.
At this point in the draft you basically are looking for some guys who you think can make your team and help out just a little. Most may not even make the team. The players the Vikings draft are almost a lock to make the team because they have so many open roster spots. What will happen later is people will think that Spielman is a great drafter because all the picks made the team when the reality is the depth is so terrible that it is difficult NOT to make the team. But Spielman can still be a great drafter just that it will be hard to tell.
7.208 Brandon Hardin, CB/S, Oregon State
This is another luxury pick at this point. He had an excellent pro day workout running a 4.36 and 4.40 at 6-3 216. He also did 24 reps on the bench. He missed all of 2011 but is a sleeper pick for sure. He played CB at Oregon State but is projected to be a safety. The Vikings will gladly take him at safety obviously. I think he will go earlier than the 7th round though.
Vikings UDFAs - we were allowed four UDFAs (can you say geeks?)
Desmond Wynn, OG, Rutgers
Wynn has started 24 games at left guard and can be a surprise. At the very least he provides competition.
Shawn Loiseau, LB, Merrimack
A pretty good LB playing against lesser talent that did well at the East West Shrine game. He could make the team on special teams.
Najee Goode, LB, West Virginia
Another LB who made All Big East First team and has played strong side and mike. He has a chance to make the team backing up Jasper Brinkley or on special teams.
Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M
The Vikings need someone to replace Longwell eventually. Why get the Lou Groza Award winner?
I think the Vikings will have a pretty good UDFA class because their roster is wide open. Players that do not get drafted will look at the roster and should feel better about their chances to make the team.
Overall, I think it was an OK draft. The Claiborne pick over Kalil is the key pick. Passing on Adams exacerbated that decision as well. I guess, in the end, it will come down to how well Osemele plays. If he can be a left tackle and Claiborne proves to be really good (and Markelle Martin is good) then the Vikings will have done very well.
The Vikings need help in the secondary. With the pass rush they have all they need is some players that can cover. I think the key for me is the fact that Spielman decided to not go after any free agents in the secondary. Again this was before the Bowman signing.
P.S. I did try to do a couple of trades but did not have any offers that I considered to be fair.
Now since the moderator did not include at least the Browns 7th round pick I would have had another player there. And now the Vikings have two extra picks at the end of the 4th round.
I would have picked Marcus Forston DT and Andrew Datko OT with the two fourth round compensatory picks. If I had the Browns 6th round pick I would have selected Nick Foles QB.
I think that Osemele may be my favorite player in this draft. I think he is going to be really good. Obviously, Claiborne should be a pretty good pick despite my misgivings. I am warming up to Claiborne and would love to see the Vikings get a pro bowl caliber talent at CB in the first round.
If Cook comes back and plays with his "hair on fire" then the Vikings could have a pretty good secondary. Match that up with the pass rush and I think that will help Ponder's development more than anything. He will get more opportunities. The more chances he gets the better he should become (hopefully). I think that the Vikings will pick up a free agent WR that gets unexpectedly released too.