I posted a mock draft on another site yesterday before the draft and had us taking;
1st round pick (3) : Matt Kalil, LT, USC
I really think we'll get a trade down to #5 and let Tampa move up for Richardson. Still I think Kalil would still be the pick. The only way we take Claiborne is if someone trades up to #4 and takes him, ala Buffalo. If we do trade down we'll get an extra second, at the least, in return I think.
2nd round pick (35) : Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
We've shown a interest in him and the safeties are real thin this year. I do think New England could take him with one of their 1st's as well as the Packers, though they both need help along the D-line and at pass rushing linebacker. I think he'll be there at 35 honestly but if he's not we have plenty of other options.
Well I wasn't far off on the first two picks. We traded down one spot got some extra picks but ultimately we took Matt Kalil. Then we traded up 6 spots to get back in the 1st round to get Harrison Smith. We only had to give up our 4th (98) and we assured Green Bay wouldn't get him. That leaves us with our next pick in the 3rd round (66). While I would love to see us trade back into the 2nd round to get another starter like Janoris Jenkins, Alshon Jeffery, or Mychal Kendricks I don't see it happening right now. That being said I actually think we can afford to stay where we're at and still get some solid value.
I'll continue my Mock Draft now that we know who's been drafted so far. We'll go round by round.
3rd round pick (66) : Marvin Jones, WR, California
NFL Draft Preview: Marvin Jones (via FoxSports)
This guy is good and there's not much talk about him. I just don't get it. While everyone is talking about all the other remaining WR's I feel Jones is not only one of the best left but one of the best in this draft class overall. So why is he so underrated? Unfortunately, Cal's quarterbacks couldn't match Jones's natural talents and quite frankly it's caused him to be undervalued coming out. We have seen in the past this does cause some prospects to drop further than they should in the draft. In Jones’ three seasons as a starter, Cal’s primary starters at QB – Kevin Riley and Zach Maynard – had a combined completion percentage of 56.7. Despite Cal’s underwhelming quarterback play Jones was still productive at Cal -- career totals of 156 receptions for 2,270 yards and 13 touchdowns - but he was overshadowed a bit by Cal star receiver Keenan Allen.
While Zach Maynard clearly favored his brother Keenan Allen, which limited Jones's touches in his senior season, Jones still had some great moments and has done a great job proving his worth and showcasing his pro credentials in this predraft process. He's a lock to be picked in the first three or four rounds of the NFL draft. He stood out as the top wideout on the North squad of the Senior Bowl, and as we all know that's the side the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff got to coach this year. Jones performed well in front of coaches, scouts and general managers in the week of practice leading to the Senior Bowl, then caught a touchdown in the game.
He's got all the measureables with good NFL size (6'2" 199), measured in with long, 33 1/8-inch arms and massive, 10 1/4-inch hands (second-biggest among wideouts this year). With long arms and big hands there's no wonder why Jones displays a great catch radius. He's got good range and makes great adjustments to mediocre throws. He ran a 4.46 forty time (third-fastest among wideouts 6-2 or taller). He's very athletically gifted and showcases good short-area burst and footwork to separate from defensive backs in one-on-one drills, he stands out in his ability to run crisp and precise routes. No one on Cal's team has made more spectacular catches along the sidelines than Jones, who has caught at least one pass in 37 straight games. He can also contribute as a punt returner.
He's got squeaky clean intangibles and according to him, "I've been this guy my whole life. There wasn't one time you've seen me in a negative light." He’s simply got a lot going for him. No red flags as far as I'm concerned. "Jones is the most technically sound receiver in this class," wrote New York Times NFL blogger Matt Waldman, who ranks Jones as the No. 4 wideout in the draft. No, he won't be the fourth drafted WR and he's not a every down starter (at least not right away) but he's very talented and can come in and play part-time and make an impact. That's all we can ask for with the 66th pick really. Draft expert Mike Mayock of the NFL Network believes Jones will be a third-round pick. "He's a good blocker. He's got good speed, good size. He's a smooth receiver. What I like is he fights for the ball -- comes back for the football, attacks the football."
CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang compares Jones to Chad Ochocinco (when he was still known as Johnson and actually making plays) in terms of on-field playing style. After watching his game tape, NFL Films guru Greg Cosell observed that Jones displayed the "widest catching radius of any wide receiver I evaluated." Rotoworld draft analyst Josh Norris, thinks Jones' draws comparisons to Donald Driver but I've also heard from other's there are comparisons to Mike Wallace. With that kind of upside to his game I think he's more than worth a 3rd round pick.
Who knows at the very least he could turn into a similar player to Wallace's teammates Antonio Brown as an intriguing player who starts out in the slot where he could excel in space and develop his way to starting outside. Marvin Jones might just be one of the most underrated offensive prospects in the entire 2012 NFL Draft and in reality Jones has first-round talent and skill set. While at first glance he may not appear to be a guy with monster potential with the number one receiver upside we're in need of but how many times have teams underrated receivers who only go on to prove yes they are that talented, a lot! I think Jones will prove to be the same. He'll develop into a very consistent, solid wide receiver but even as a rookie he's got the skills to make an impact. He's this year's Denarius Moore.
4th round pick (118) : Jayron Hosley, CB/R, Virginia Tech
4th round pick (128) : Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami
4th round pick (134) : Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
After that we head into the rounds a lot of people overlook. With our bajillion picks in the 4th round I think it could be really interesting. While Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia, Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa or Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma would be nice to have in the 4th I just don't see them falling to 118. I wish we would've traded 118 not 98. I have us taking Hosley, Dennard, and Streeter. Hosley is a good corner and even though I don't see him as a outside starter he can play in the nickel role which is still very important in today's NFL with the pass happy offenses that spread you out. When Winfield retires he'll take over and he reminds me A LOT of Alphonso Smith who I was really high on coming out in the 2009 NFL draft and wanted the Vikings to draft. He was drafted pretty high by Denver (5th pick of the 2nd round (37th overall) actually) and while he struggled early before being traded to Detroit he did get his career turned around and started showing some of that ball hawking play he exhibited at Wake Forest. Hosley has that same kind of ability in coverage and ball skills, plus he's a good return option, so he would be a solid developmental starter that best fits in a zone-based scheme. There's been a lot of talk about finding players who fit our scheme later in the draft well here's one. Virginia Tech is well known for their ability to produce NFL caliber defensive backs too, Brandon Flowers is another former Hokie I wanted the Vikings to take. Can we just have one CB I covet? Please Spielman, pretty please! I would also take a chance on Alfonzo Dennard with one of those latter 4th rounders. Low risk. Possibly High Reward. As for Streeter, I've seen his name mentioned a lot and I assume it's due to his measurables and his upside but if I'm being honest I simply don't like him. I don't want to see us draft him but quite frankly I couldn't come up with many players that caught my eye there in the 4th round that we're better than him. That's partly why I support trading back into the 2nd. At least we'll get another starter there where as sticking with our current picks I doubt we get another day 1 starter.
5th round pick (138) : Antonio Allen, SS, South Carolina
5th round pick (139) : Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, NT, Baylor
Even though we traded up for Harrison Smith already there’s a good possibility that they will address the position again in the later rounds as well. Safety is considered one of the thinnest positions in the draft, and also one of the thinnest on our team. Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina is another name I think if available we could go with. I don't particularly like him because he's not that good in coverage but he could play SS while Harrison Smith plays FS. He played a lot in the box for USC and tackles well. I don't think Jamarca Sanford is a starting safety in this league and neither is Mistral Raymond. Sanford is better suited as a backup and special teamer in the NFL and Raymond isn’t ready to start, especially with such a weak supporting cast surrounding him.
Nicolas Jean-Baptiste is a very intriguing prospect. Throughout the week at the East-West Shrine game in Orlando, Jean-Baptiste showed major potential to be a nose tackle in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. He was like a bowling ball, rolling through offensive linemen to cause disruption in the backfield. Everyone that went against him had problems with his bull rush. Another developmental starter who can come in and possibly work his way into our starting NT spot. The Vikings will give Guion a try there next year but Jean-Baptiste is a more natural fit.
6th round pick (175) : Audie Cole, ILB, N.C. State
The point of emphasis with Cole would be depth, something that the Vikings desperately need at all linebacker positions. At this point, the only real talent the Vikings have at the middle linebacker spot is Jasper Brinkley, who spent all of 2011 on the Injured Reserve list. Although it’s unlikely that Cole would push for a starting spot in Minnesota right away, he’d provide terrific depth at all three linebacking positions and could also contribute as a special teams player. If Brinkley doesn't work out Cole could have his shot as yet another developmental starter. Cole played sideline-to-sideline for N.C. State and due to his smarts and ability to read and react he was extremely productive, racking up 194 tackles and 10.5 sacks in the past two seasons. He played as a outside linebacker before North Carolina State moved him to the middle linebacker spot in the spring of 2011.
7th round pick (210) : Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State
7th round pick (211) : Chris Rainey, RB/R, Florida
7th round pick (223) : Greg Zuerlein, K, Missouri Western
Just like I think we should take a chance on Dennard I have us taking a chance on Vontaze Burfict as well. Same deal but only way further down in the draft, 7th round. I honestly believe he could be there and IF HE IS the Vikings NEED to take him. If we can find a potential starting caliber player among the many late-round prospects they need to take a chance. What's it hurt honestly? Give the kid a chance to come in, work hard, and prove himself and he'll have a chip on his shoulder to prove all the doubters wrong. Chris Rainey will probably not be available here since he's so electric and athletically talented so other late round players I like with these picks are Janzen Jackson, S, McNeese State, Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas, and Davin Meggett, RB, Maryland to name just a few but honestly we'll just take BPA with these late round picks so it's hard to mock them.
Lastly why the kicker? I know I know, kickers don't get drafted but whether a last day 7th round pick or undrafted free agent we should give this kid a look see. It’s no secret that Ryan Longwell’s days are numbered in the NFL. In 2011, he converted on only 76 percent of his field goals, his worst percentage since 2005. Although it’s unlikely that a veteran like Longwell is going to be replaced this offseason, the Vikings have to start looking towards the future. With a young kicker like Zuerlein on the team, he provides an insurance policy and gives the team security for the future. Zuerlein is arguably one of the best kickers to come out of the college ranks in years. With the strength to consistently nail 50+ yard field goals and the accuracy that NFL teams can rely on, Zuerlein brings everything together in a draftable kicker package.
Throughout his senior year at Missouri Western, Zuerlein made 24 of 25 field goal attempts, including nine of nine from 50+ yards (an NCAA record regardless of division). He set a school record when he made five kicks in one game and tied a school record when he converted on a 57-yard kick. Zuerlein has tremendous form and doesn’t push the ball on his kicks. His leg can consistently send kickoffs through the endzone as well. The Vikings have already had him in for a private workout and are one of his most-interested potential suitors. The Vikings special team coordinator watched Zuerlein kick in a one-on-one workout a couple of weeks back and described it as the most impressive kick off workout that he has been a part of. Zuerlein is projected by several sources as one of the top two kickers available in the ’12 NFL draft along with Georgia’s Blair Walsh. ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. projects Zuerlein as the best kicker in the draft. The chances of him getting drafted as a late-round selection are high.
Would you be happy with this draft? If no, what would you change?