This may well border on blasphemy around here, but somebody needs to do one. There is at least a possibility that the Vikings draft Justin Blackmon with the #3 pick on Thursday night, and I have yet to see a decent mock with him as the #3 pick. Now I’m not saying I think the Vikings should draft Blackmon #3, but I have to say based on all the comments from Frazier and Spielman recently, I would no longer be surprised if they did. First, Spielman says they have it narrowed down to 3 potential players: Kalil, Claiborne, and Blackmon. Second, Frazier says that a left tackle isn’t necessarily a "game changer" position in the NFL. When you then consider Frazier’s comments earlier in the year at Blackmon’s Pro Day, and then Spielman earlier in the year saying he’s not sold on Kalil, there is at least the possibility that it happens. Also consider the off-season moves at WR thus far: we signed exactly 0 new receivers, and our 3 best starters are a slot receiver (Percy Harvin), #3 receiver (Michael Jenkins) and a backup (Devin Aromashodu). Sure, we tried to sign Pierre Garcon and brought in Jerome Simpson and Ted Ginn Jr. for looks, but we haven’t signed anybody new. Obviously we are going to need to choose a WR or two in the draft, and they need to get a bona-fide #1 guy (or at least a guy that can develop into a bona-fide #1 guy). Maybe Blackmon is their pick?
Sure, it could all be a smokescreen to motivate some trade partners, but you never know. If it were me, I’d take Kalil and be done with it. But, this mock isn’t about that. It’s about seeing what kind of direction the draft would go if we took Blackmon #3. I used CBS Draft Rankings and Mike Mayock’s Positional Rankings as a starting point. And to keep it simple, this mock has no trades. So, read on after the jump.
Round 1, Pick #3: Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma State
Blackmon measures 6’1" and 207 lbs. He gets compared frequently to Dez Bryant (the guy he replaced at OSU), and some have even compared his style of play to Calvin Johnson or Terrell Owens, even though he’s quite a bit smaller than any of those guys. Whether he can replicate Megatron’s or T.O.’s production at the Pro level remains to be seen, but he is regarded as the best WR prospect in the draft this year. Blackmon replaced Dez Bryant in 2010, by merely catching 111 passes for 1,782 yards, breaking Larry Fitzgerald's record for sophomores, and 20 touchdowns. He set an NCAA record with at least 100 yards and one touchdown in all 12 games in a season. Blackmon then added 122 catches, 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2011 as a junior.
Round 2, Pick #35: Mike Adams, OT Ohio State
If we pass on Kalil in the 1st round, it's very possible that a guy like Jonathan Martin falls to the 2nd round. How many teams are going to draft a LT in the 1st? But if Martin isn't there, chances are high that we’ll grab a LT like Mike Adams in the 2nd instead. Mike Adams is a load, measuring 6’7" and 323 lbs. He has some off-the-field issues however, as he tested positive for marijuana at the combine in February, and dealt with some suspensions while at Ohio State. Although he has gone through counseling and reports are that he has interviewed well since. Some question his effort, especially in run-blocking, but he does have pretty good feet and can hold his own against a bull-rush in pass protection. He lacks the technique to make him a high 1st round draft pick, but has the tools to develop into a reliable LT given time.
Round 3, Pick #66: Trumain Johnson, CB Montana
Johnson is a very polished CB that excels in zone coverage, and has the size (6’1" 204 lbs) to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. The biggest knock against him is the fact that he played in a weak college division (Big Sky Division) and will have a bit of a learning curve transitioning to the NFL. He needs to do better shedding blocks in the run-game, but he is an effective tackler.
Round 4, Pick #98: Josh Kaddu, OLB Oregon
Kaddu has tremendous athletic ability and prototypical size for a 4-3 OLB at 6’3" 237 lbs, but he is not the most instinctive player. He will need time to develop and learn the scheme of whatever defensive system he joins. But he has immediate value as a backup and special teamer. His speed and raw athletic ability allows him to drop back in coverage well, and he can tackle ball carriers well, but needs to develop the skills to diagnose plays better.
Round 4, Pick #128: Jaye Howard, DT Florida
Howard is a thick DT, but was inconsistent at Florida. He has good agility and footwork for his size though (6’3" 301 lbs), and has the potential to succeed at the NFL level. Some question his strength and small frame for an NFL DT (and think he has maxed out his weight already), but Mayock has him graded as a "draftable player." He’s easily the best DT available at this spot in the draft and the drop-off from here is significant.
Round 4, Pick #134: Antonio Allen, S South Carolina
Allen did not play a true safety position in college, but he has good size (6’1" 210 lbs) and plays the run very well as a sure tackler. He slides to us here because of his lack of experience, and still needs to develop his back-pedal. But he can match-up well against larger WR and TE and has plenty of athletic upside. He would easily compete in training camp for a starting spot against the likes of Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond
Round 5, Pick #138: Marvin McNutt, WR Iowa
McNutt has the size to succeed in the NFL (6’3" 216 lbs), and will likely be a great possession receiver. He compares to Roy Williams, and would likely be a replacement for Michael Jenkins eventually. He has great hands and can drag his feet on the sideline. This is kind of a homer pick, since I grew up in IA, seeing as how the other WR available at this spot were all graded more highly by Mike Mayock: Joe Adams, Tommy Streeter, and T.Y. Hilton. But, McNutt was productive the last 3 years at Iowa with mediocre quarterback play, with his best season in 2011. That year he finished with 82 catches for a Big Ten conference-best 1,315 yards (16.0) and a school single-season record of 12 touchdowns, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors and was named the conference's receiver of the year.
Round 6, Pick #175: Nate Potter, OT Boise State
With the Mike Adams pick in the 2nd round this may seem like an odd choice, but if Charlie Johnson moves over to Guard, then Patrick Brown and DeMarcus Love are the only two backup tackles on the team, and there's no guarantee that Adams is the answer. Potter has good size (6’6" 303 lbs) and versatility as a backup having had some experience also playing guard. This selection is a depth pick, more than anything.
Round 7, Pick #210: Brandon Bolden, RB Mississippi
Bolden has some off-the-field issues (suspensions), but is a talented RB with great receiving skills and decent blocking ability. He’s a powerful and patient runner and could be a good 3rd down back in the NFL. If he falls to us in the 7th, this would be a nice value pickup.
Round 7, Pick #223: Blair Walsh, K Georgia
Walsh is the highest ranked placekicker both on CBS and by Mike Mayock. Longwell has never had great leg strength, and he certainly isn’t getting any younger. He had a down year in 2011 with the lowest field goal percentage he’s had since 2005 (only 78.4% which ranked 27th among all kickers last year). At age 37, he likely doesn’t have too many years left, so now (with 10 draft picks at our disposal) is as good a time as any to draft a kicker with our last pick, and Blair Walsh has one of the strongest legs coming out of the draft.