Sure, I can't stop smiling and yelling, "Go Vikings!", at everyone I see wearing packer gear, but that doesn't mean I can't stop thinking about the draft either. With the Vikings assured a pick between 21 and 32 (/crosess fingers, "32,32,32...) I whipped up a quick mock with some prospects that could be available in the back end of each round. Hope these picks don't compound that hangover headache....
1. ILB Arthur Brown, Kansas State 6'1" 231 - Linebacker is one of the bigger needs on defense and Brown could be a every down LB in the Vikings Cover-2. He could be injected into the starting MLB role and be better than EJ with the potential to get much, much better. He also has the coverage and instincts to stay on the field in nickel situations and would be stellar combo with Greenway.
2. WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State 6'1" 182 - Wheaton doesn't have great size and will struggle with press in the NFL, but he is as explosive and fast as any WR in the draft. He is good at creating separation with his quickness out of his breaks and is great at tracking the deep ball. As exciting as it is to consider getting a 1st round pick for Harvin, I'm operating under the impression that he will still be with the team next year. A starting WR crew of Harvin, Wright, and Wheaton doesn't have a lot of size, but it has speed to burn. Teams have to worry about each of these guys getting the ball in space and each of them having the potential to go over the top of the defense.
3. CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut 6'2" 190 - Over the course of the season, injuries to the CB corp have really exposed the depth on the roster. They barely held together with Cook out and when Winfield AND Robinson went down last weekend, Green Bay picked them apart. It would be tough against team when Sherels is brought in on D, but he had no chance when GB put Jennings or Nelson up against him. Winfield may only have one more season in him (if that, only he knows for sure) which means more CBs are needed. BWW (not Buffalo Wild Wings, but what a cross promo that would be) is an instinctual CB with the size to play outside. Played this season coming back from a knee injury, but improved over the season and is very athletic.
4A. DE Cornellius Carradine, Florida State 6'5" 265 - Here is the Vikings wildcard pick. This will be their first pick on Day 3, where they are notorious for taking a chance on talent that has fallen for one reason or another, and its from the Lions which means its a top five pick. Carradine will be a popular pick in mocks in this range because the only reason he has any business being drafted this late is because of his late season injury. Teams will monitor how well he recovers and his stock could rise back up, but if you were making a Create-A-Player replacement for Jared Allen, Cornellius would be that (minus the injury of course). Big, fast, strong with major potential once in the NFL.
4B. WR Conner Vernon, Duke 6"1' 200 - Vernon is an underrated WR. Not going to wow you with his speed, but can hurt defenses in the open field and has the size to break tackles. He's a possession WR who runs great routes to create separation and is great at high pointing the ball. Has more receiving yards than an WR in ACC history and ended up at Duke because he was a late bloomer (5'8" just before his HS senior season). The Vikings did well grabbing the all-time SEC receiving yards leader last year in Wright and would get another good WR in taking the ACC leader this year.
5. LB DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina 6'2" 241 - Holloman is a LB converted from safety at South Carolina, so he is still learning the nuances of being a LB, but he has thrived as a OLB and is only getting better. Has the speed to work in space, the size to take on OL/TE/FB in the run game, and is very aggressive in everything he does. He plays a similar role to Erin Henderson now and could be rotating onto the field early next season.
6A. DT Cory Grissom, USF 6'2" 316 - The Vikings have improved the interior DL play by finding a good rotation with Guion and Evans in the NT. While it has showed results, if they are only effective in a rotation then finding someone who can play without rotating in and out should start becoming a priority. Grissom is a big bodied NT who could work his way into that rotation and do well working as a 0/1 tech in the Vikings 4-3.
6B. RB Kerwyn Williams, Utah State 5'8" 190 - Williams is one of those RB who will be undervalued because he is considered "small", but those focused on his height will miss how big he plays. He's a burner with lots of return experience, but he is also a strong runner between the tackles with a great center of gravity and power. He might not get many carries behind AD, but he can return KOs and punts with his scary speed.
7. QB Sean Renfree, Duke 6'5" 225 - Renfree has rebuilt a decent resume in his college career. Leading bottom dweller Duke to more wins in his last four years than the previous 10 years combined, Duke's first bowl game since 1994, and his head coach has been known to send very well developed QBs into the NFL. He suffered a shoulder injury on the last play of his bowl game and wasn't expected to go higher than Day 3 before said injury. Would be a nice developmental QB.