EDIT: If you've been following our stadium coverage, you've seen Arif's "scouting reports" of some of the major players in this whole saga. He's broken them down here. . .high quality stuff. -Chris
As we get down to gameday in the Minnesota House and Senate, we are naturally concerned about the state of the stadium bill, what it means for us fans, and how it might effect the economy of Minnesota (as well as the legacy of the Vikings).
Of course, our concerns should not let us forget what's truly important. How our legislators would grade.
So, here to you, I present my Minnesota Legislator Mock Draft, just in time for the House Debate.
The top of the draft is usually filled with surprises, but this year, there is no question that people like Morrie Lanning and John Kriesel will go 1 and 2, respectively. That said, I would be remiss without explaining why.
1. Representative Morrie Lanning - Field General. Best leader in the game today. Compares to Peyton Manning - good field vision, excellent read of opposing defenses, and great strategies to exploit them. Has perfect patience in the pocket, and an ideal sense of pressure. There is no rattling Lanning. Knows exactly when to dial it back, or force the throw deep. Some question his delivery, but the consensus is that while it is relatively gruff, it is smooth. The biggest strength of Lanning, however, is not just on the field - it's in the film room. He can marshall leadership just by sheer knowledge of the game and refuses to lose. Excellent winner.
2. Representative John Kriesel - Explosive. Dedicated, committed, and passionate, Kriesel will often adapt to different plays in the playbook, eschewing modern offenses and defenses. Compares to Lawrence Taylor. Hard to block, and tougher than anyone else in this year's draft, Kriesel's passion and commitment to making the play makes this pick difficult to pass up. Excellent lateral movement, but the real strength is when driving home the point. Truly the only rookie veteran in the draft.
3. Senator Julie Rosen - Tireless. Almost impossible to pass up, there are some teams that might take Rosen second in the draft. Often seen working behind the scenes, but still a dedicated worker on the field. Slight issues when game preparation goes awry, but her committed film study makes this a rarity. This high motor is hard to take off the field. Compares to John Randle.
4. Senator Kenneth Kelash - Surprise. Late newcomer to the draft boards, Kelash continued rocketing up with excellent performance in the second half of the college season. His reports are stocked with words like "explosive," "incisive," and "quick." In this way, he can compare to Patrick Willis. Performed against all levels of competition, Kelash reads opposing offenses better than anyone else in the draft. Excellent support to have in the front or back 7, and a wonderful ability to get to the ball.
5. Representative Tom Anzelc - Burst. Despite late movement pushing him out of the top 3, there is no mistaking this prospect's ability. Excellent stamina, and willing to contribute in any phase of the game. He is willing to take the rock up the middle, protect his quarterback, or even contribute with excellent hands. Compares to Tony Dorsett
6. Senator Thomas Bakk - Captain Comeback. Steady movement up the draft boards was cemented with an overtime comeback win in his final bowl game. Ready for the big time, Bakk thrives under pressure, with adaptability to spare. A cerebral player, Bakk rarely takes plays off, putting 110% on the field. His fantastic reaction time complements his excellent delivery when put in the pocket. Eschews the limelight, but excels when thrust into the role of the 4th quarter QB.
7. Representative Bobby Joe Champion - A favorite here in our draft room, Champion is nothing if not courageous. He'll fight for his team as long as he can, and perhaps has the best delivery in the draft. Not quite a leader yet, this young prospect has it all ahead of him. Consummate team player, Champion will work to make others better. No one here will forget his MLK day game.
8. Senator Carla Nelson - The perfect CB to complement any defense, Nelson is a tough tackler, who wraps up extremely well. Nelson is as strong as she is intelligent, and she's not afraid to turn the game around by generating turnovers. Extremely capable on the field, there isn't a team in the draft that would regret taking her.
9. Senator Terrie Bonoff - Playing safety in the same secondary as Nelson has made them hard to separate, but sure vision, and excellent angles will show up on any game tape. Slower speed than most CBs, there is no question that Bonoff understands the flow of the play and hits harder than anyone playing with her physique.
10. Representative Pat Garofalo - Garofalo benefits more than a little bit, receiving passes from Lanning, but make no mistake - he can ball. His greatest strength is his route running, which would make him more pro ready than any other receiver in the draft. Excellent off of press or off-coverage, Garofalo loves to exploit man coverages.
11. Senator Geoff Michel - Firecracker, hard to stop, and a help to any offense. Excellent late in the game, teams will always look to Michel for a quick strike into the endzone.
12. Representative Thomas Huntley - Here because of one performance, it was the best performance of the entire college season.
13. Representative Tom Rukavina - Potential to go in the first round, sometimes strays out of lanes. Perhaps the most entertaining player of the draft. Local hero.
14. Representative Tony Cornish - Unafraid to play his game, he also impressed with one of the better college performances. A mean player in all the right ways
15. Senator David Senjem - Transitioning from QB to slot wasn't difficult and can play either role well. Complements any offense and understands the route tree better than any his age.
16. Representative Carly Melin - Workout warrior with the best physique in the draft class. Projects well as a tight end, with soft hands. Can block too, given her excellent technique and hip flexion.
17. Senator Ron Latz - Quiet workaholic, many have missed his excellent contributions on the field as well as his off the field work.
18. Senator Joe Hoppe - A teammate from day one, the only time he's not in the film room is when he's out on the field.
19. Representative Michael Nelson - Limited playbook, but excellently executed. Ankle flexion problems, but strength off of coverage should make up for that.
20. Representative Kerry Gauthier - a real boom-bust, has had some excellent hits, but some unfortunate misses. While generally steady in the clutch, some are wary.
21. Representative Larry Hosch - always good for an impact play, but he'll otherwise sometimes be hard to spot on the field
22. Senator Linda Higgins - The most eccentric pick in the draft. Poor man's Deion Sanders.
23. Senator Roger Reinert - Another workhorse whose only aim is to make the team win. Good as a fullback or TE
24. Representative Paul Anderson - Strong advocate for his teammates, sometimes struggles to get on the field.
25. Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen - First one in the film room, last one out.
26. Senator John Carlson - Commitment is easy to notice. Also flashes versatility, but low game speed.
27. Representative Denny McNamara - More movement across the draft board than any other prospect. Excellent delivery, but fades late in games
28. Representative Rod Hamilton - Committed to team play, but lacks the fundamental skills to dazzle. Still, gets the job done.
29. Representative Terry Morrow - Excellent delivery when throwing to his teammates. Struggles sometimes at identifying who his teammates are.
30. Representative Paul 'Marklark' Marquart - Practical presence, but not as good as he thinks he is.
31. Representative John Benson
32. Senator Michelle Fischbach
33. Representative John Harrington
34. Representative Kate Knuth
35. Representative Ryan Winkler
36. Representative Kory Kath
Pick 'em group one (Representatives):
Joe Atkins 4-5
Melissa Hortman 4-5
Debra Hilstrom 4-5
Bill Hilty 4-5
David Dill 4-5
Paul Thissin 4-5
Tom Tillberry 4-5
Linda Slocum 4-5
Pick 'em group one (Senators):
John C Pederson 4-5
David Tomassoni 4-5
Gary Dahms 4-5
Gary Magnus 4-5
Jeremy Miller 4-5
Joe Gimse 4-5
Claire Robling 4-5
Ann Rest 4-5
Keith Langseth 4-5
James Metzen 4-5
Dan Sparks 4-5
Lyle Koenen 4-5
Round Six Through Nine:
Pick 'em group two (Representatives):
Pick 'em Group Two (Senators):
91. Representative Torrey "Fireworks" Westrom
92. Representative Tim Mahoney
93. Senator Barb Goodwin
94. Representative Duane Quam
95. Senator John Howe
96. Senator Paul Gazelka
97. Representative Matt Dean
Pick 'em group three (Representatives):
Pick 'em group three (Senators):
141. Representative Steve Simon
142. Representative Mindy Geiling
143. Representative John Persell
144. Representative Peggy Scott
145. Senator David Hann
146. Senator Pam Wolf
147. Senator Tony Lourey
148. Representative King Banaian
149. Senator Ray Vandeveer
150. Senator Mary Jo McGuire
151. Senator Dan Hall
152. Senator Chris Eaton
153. Representative Tina Liebling
154. Senator Roger Chamberlain
155. Representative Bob Dettmer
156. Senator Michelle Benson
157. Representative Mary Franson
158. Senator Ted Lillie
159. Senator Scott Dibble
160. Representative Mark Buesgens
161. Representative Tom Hackbarth
162. Representative Jean Wagenius
163. Senator Julianna Ortman
164. Senator Gretchen Hoffman
165. Senator Dave Thompson
166. Senator Patricia Torres Ray
167. Representative Keith Downey
168. Senator Benjamin Kruse
169. Representative Keith Downey
There are a number of players that have logged significant playing time, even a number with significant starts, who are nonetheless only waiver wire pickups.
Doug Wardlow - Extraordinary inexperience, with little to make up for it. Slow off the blocks and the snap, Wardlow has shown little adaptability in his game so far. Will occasionally run the wrong plays and had a very poor showing in the Wonderlic.
Diane "Rumors of an NFL Network" Loeffler - Would try to play field hockey on the football field. Out of touch with the modern NFL and will occasionally attempt a Wing-T, while calling an audible for an I Formation. Don't be fooled by her stats, most of this has to do with her high number of throws, and less to do with her usefulness on the field. Doesn't project as a backup.
Phyllis Kahn - Most eccentric choice registered for the draft. A second behind, at least this H-Back will never likely be called for a false start. A veteran that could justify a waiver pickup at best, Kahn has been involved in the game for years. The only problem is that we need to know which game she's playing. Poor ankle flexion, and field reads.
Warren Limmer - Poison in the locker room. Can't create a team environment; too willing to make plays for himself. Tries to play as a Leon Hall, but gets exposed in coverage, too often. Will never start in today's pro league, but will still find ways to make himself known.
John Marty - Stay away. Low adaptability and knowledge of the playbook only extends to a few plays. No agility due to low ankle flexion, will often try to run the rock in the middle, even if the play doesn't call for it. Will attempt to exploit nuances (and still does have an eye for detail) but will miss the larger picture.
Kurt Zellers - Lives and breathes organization, but will almost always organizes the wrong formation (meticulously). No sense on the flow of the field, Zellers will often try to adapt to the wrong play midsnap. Worst team interviews at the combine, which projects serious character issues.
Sean Nienow - Dirtiest player in the draft, but no ability to make up for it. Only positive quality is lateral quickness, but a cheap tackler that attempts to make plays after the whistle. Not an asset in the locker room, his entitlement drops his consideration to the very bottom. There are 6 UDFAs above him, and that's how it should remain, even with injuries - teams would be advised to pick up legislators off the street instead of this media-friendly prospect.
I won't remember all the reasons for all the grades, but feel free to ask and I'll see if I can elaborate. I gave extra points for switching votes to yes and dropped points for switching votes to no (switching was worth more than being undecided then choosing).