Everyone has been putting up their mock drafts and the like, so I figured I would give one a try. But I'm not sure how everyone else sees them, but I think a major draw back of these mock drafts is that they only show one option of events. And a lot of times these guys won't fall to us, or even just realistically won't even get close to us. So this will effectively be my draft board instead of a mock draft. But because I don't think we can address everything through the draft, this is also a free agency plan.
What we have currently:
Restructured: Carlson, Johnson
Cut: Jenkins, Winfield
New FA: Cassel, Jennings, Olsen
$6 million in cap space
I am really, like everyone else, hoping we restructure Jared Allen and KW. I'm also getting increasingly worried that it hasn't happened yet. I think we have very little leverage in both cases, Jared is too good to let go, and we are too weak at DT and veteran leadership (without Winfield) to let KW go. But I do think we get both of those done.
Jared Allen: from his roughly 17 million dollar hit to say.... 12 million dollar hit
Kevin Williams: from his 7.5 million dollar hit to about 5 million dollar hit.
This leaves us with about 13.5 million
FA: So I do not believe the Vikings will sign anyone worth while before the draft.
(N) - A long shot to fall to us.
(DH) - My dark horse candidate that Spielman might find out of left field.
First Pick, #23 First Round:
1. (N) Chance Warmack G, Alabama, 6'2" 317 lbs.
There is no way this guy falls to us, but if he does, it is not very often that you get to draft somebody who will be a locked down starter and probable perennial pro-bowler right out of college. But at the Guard position, which is not a risky position, that is exactly what this guy will give you. I don't think that is something we could pass up. If we could secure that LG position like Hutch did for us for so long, we could cut Johnson and have more flexibility in FA. Again, not going to happen.
2.) (N) Desmond Trufant CB, Washington, 5'11" 190 lbs.
This guy is more likely to fall to us that Warmack, but I am convinced he will go earlier than us. However, if he does, I think we should absolutely snatch him up. We have been used to a stout run defense, but our pass defense has been bad or average for as long as I can remember. If we could draft this kid, he would make an immediate impact, and between him, Cook, Robinson, and Smith, our secondary of the future looks promising. It has been since 2004, Winfield's first year here, with Winfield, Brian Williams, and Corey Chavous that our pass defense was even close to above average. We need to start covering our receivers so that Jared Allen and the boys have time to get to the quarterback.
3.) Jonathan Jenkins DT, Georgia, 6'3" 351 lbs.
Like I said above, we are used to being an outstanding run defending team, and that has slipped of late, and I don't like it. Jenkins is the Pat Williams replacement that we've been looking for. He is a HUGE run stopper, he eats up space and requires a double team. I know people are pretty high on Sylvester Williams in a lot of the Mocks I've seen, but I think, as the Williams wall demonstrated, KW does best when complimented by a true run stopper. Also, I think we could get Sylvester Williams later in the draft if we wanted him, and there has been questions about his endurance. Its also said that Williams has trouble with double-teams, it a tad unpolished and has bad awareness (he over commits).
4.) Keenan Allen WR, California 6'3" 210 lbs.
The reason I'm not as high on this guy is that his best skills, physicality and aggressive ball getting, do essentially the same thing for me as Greg Jennings' crisp routes, and ball getting. And with a first round pick on a WR I think we need someone who can compliment Jennings by stretching the field. However, with that said, this is not a bad pick. As we are a run first team, a tandem of Jennings and Allen would allow us to move the chains and make the throws we need to make to force the defense to respect our mid range passing game. The biggest plus with this pick is that he is a safe pick, I think of all of the WRs in this draft Allen may not be a star but he will absolutely be a starter in the NFL.
5.) (DH)(N) Alec Ogletree MLB, Georgia, 6'3" 210 lbs.
Now I know a lot of people around here don't like him a whole lot, but I can't say enough about how important his coverage skills are. I think wrapping up and filling lanes are easier to teach a LB in the NFL and coverage skills is what separates the top and second tier of LBs (That is with the other skills). With that being said, there is a lot working against this kid being a Viking, not to mention he probably won't fall to us, so don't worry about it too much.
Second Pick, #25 First Round:
1.) Arthur Brown MLB, Kansas State, 6'1" 231 lbs.
I know this is probably getting tiring for some people that hes getting picked so often, but like most people around here I am pretty high on Brown. I think that we can absolutely get Brown lower in the draft, but I also know that Spielman takes his guys whether they are considered a reach or not. I also think that as our current starter is Audie Cole, MLB is our biggest whole and thus Brown is here above Jenkins. A scouting report on Brown: He is a tad undersized, but not enough to bother me, or Spielman (See drafting Jasper Brinkley). He is a good tackler, he has good speed, and great instincts. He moves to the ball fast. In coverage, he is great at short zone coverage, he has the natural skills to be considered above average in coverage for a LB. His knocks are that he sometimes over commits, but that is, in my opinion, something that comes with the territory at MLB to make big plays, he also has trouble covering TEs that go for long routes.
2.) Jonathan Jenkins DT
If for some reason one of the top guys falls to us at 23 and we pass on Jenkins, I say we take him here.
3.) Justin Hunter WR, Tennessee, 6'4" 200 lbs.
He is also talked about pretty high around here, and I am completely on board with that. As far as his physical abilities. He is a freak. He is just like his team mate Patterson who is said to be a freak (6'3" 205) but Hunter is skinnier and more of a finesse receiver than Patterson. But Hunter is a natural receiver, a hands catcher, a speedster and a great jumper. Hunter has all the makings of a premier deep threat as well as NFL WR. I am a big fan. However, he does have some down sides, and I do not totally disagree with some of his critics. He disappears in some games, and is not as aggressive a ball-getter as some of these other WRs. Last but surely not least, he is an injury risk. He missed an entire season in college with a blown out knee and scares me with his lack of durability. That would be the only reason I would not pick him. I think that his natural ability and deep threat style would stretch the field vertically, and perfectly compliment Jennings who does not have the explosiveness or deep threat ability he had earlier in his career. I think there is a possible trade down here to still get him, maybe to pick 2 or 3 in the second round and pick up a 4th rounder.
4.) Kevin Minter MLB, LSU, 6'2" 245 lbs.
Minter is listed at 6'2" but is really not even close to that. I would guess hes closer to 6'.5" but thats fine. Again he is undersized, but a down field player. He is great at the point of attack and thus a great run stopper. He is a smart football player. Some things that worry me about him, is his coverage, which is pretty average. He stays with guys, but is a little short and has tight hips, thus prone to getting turned around by a smart route runner. Still I think he would be a good pick, but not a great one.
5.) Kawann Short DT, Purdue, 6'3" 315 lbs.
Now I know I am passing on Williams again but I think Short is a more true run stopper. And has a far amount of quickness. I think we could be gotten later, but for the same reason I like Jenkins, I think Short could make the middle of our d-line dominant again.
5.) (DH) Johnathan Banks CB, Mississippi State, 6'2" 185 lbs.
Johnathan Banks is an interesting prospect. I really like his style of play and he has had an exceptional college career. He is tall, but lean, he has great physical play, and incredible ball hawk instincts, and a very smart player. He unfortunately has limited speed and trouble with quick, agile receivers. He is also very lean and can be pushed around. The reason I would really like this pick as a BPA pick, is that there has been a lot of talk about moving him to safety. He is a good tackler and good at shedding blockers, his speed is more than adequate for the safety position. And playing him across from Smith, with his ball hawk instincts, smarts, and height would make them a lethal combination at safety. A hard hitter and a ball hawk, it would be something to see.
Third Pick, #52, #22 of the Second Round:
1.) (N) Justin Hunter WR,
I doubt he'll fall this far, but with his injury problems and the incredible depth at WR this year, I wouldn't be super surprised.
2.) (N) Johnathan Banks CB/S
There is less chance of him falling this far, but I think his physical limits and the fact he hasn't ever played safety before could make him fall this far. I know its a long short, but I think there is a decent chance of this happening.
3.) Terrance Williams WR, Baylor, 6'2" 205 lbs.
My scouting report on Williams looks very much like it does on Hunter except a few things. One, is I don't think he has quite as much upside, I just don't think he is as much of a freak physically in terms of quickness, speed, or jumping ability. Don't get me wrong, he is still a deep threat, just not quite as deep. But I do think that he has had an outstanding college career and does not have the injury problems. He has not disappeared in games. For all of those reasons, I think he is a much safer pick than Hunter, and would be a great one. Williams could go earlier than this, but I don't think so. I think that the depth at WR in this draft, keeps him available here.
4.) Jordan Poyer CB, Oregon State, 6' 190 lbs.
Poyer in my mind is going to be a solid corner in the NFL. He has a good blend of height and speed, has a good back pedal, and plays very good coverage. He has the jumping ability to play vertically and challenge receptions. The reason I don't think he will be a top tier corner in the next level is his lack of big play ability. He is solid not a play maker. He is also not much of a run stopper and can be a lazy tackler. But he could bulk up and fix that side of his game. He is a guy who I think can step in right away and preform. I think he is a safe, but good, pick here. One I would have no problem with.
5.) (DH) Larry Watford OG, Kentucky, 6'3" 343 lbs.
It is no secret that we could definitely use an upgrade at the guard position. Watford is a load at the guard position but has exceptionally good footwork for a man his size. He is a force to be reckoned with in run blocking and is good in pass blocking. He picks up blitzers without problems, and has very good awareness. He could use a little more polishing on his zone blocking, but nothing to worry about. He also could play at a little healthier weight, which he struggles with, but it would possibly take away from his power. I think he would be great pick here, if an unexpected one as its not necessarily one of our needs. But he would upgrade a position and allow us to release Johnson and clear up some cap space.
Fourth Pick, #83 #21 of the Third Round:
1.) (N) Cornellius Carradine DE, Florida State, 6'5" 265 lbs.
Carradine is projected as a Second round pick, but it is possible a guy like this slips through the cracks. He had a sub-par career before his much improved senior season. He is overshadowed by his teammate Bjoern Werner, and has a kind of inbetween body as far as 4-3 DE and 3-4 OLB. But on the upside. He sometimes out performed Werner. He has great explosiveness and can anchor his spot, with good positioning. Has plus speed and power. He has a good work rate and follows the action down field. I think he would be a great pick here, if unlikely to happen.
2.) (N) Logan Ryan CB, Rutgers, 6'0" 190 lbs.
Ryan is a little more likely to fall to us. He does all the little things well. He is a good run stopper, and a good tackler. He has enough speed to stay with receivers on deep routes, but not to recover if he screws up. He plays the ball well in the air, and is good in zone coverage. He is a hard worker. His press coverage needs work. And he does not have the natural abilities to develop into a top tier guy. But he could be a day 1 contributor. If we haven't picked up a CB by this time, I like this pick here.
3.) Aaron Dobson WR, Marshall, 6'3" 200 lbs.
Most people have heard of this guy. He is a project, but has all of the ability to develop into a #1 WR. He has amazing physical attributes. I like him and I think in the third round he is a possible home run pick. I feel like I'm repeating myself a lot on the WRs because there are a lot of physical freaks on my lists so I'll leave it at that. Except, his added upside from Williams or Hunter is that he is also pretty physical and not at all afraid of contact, can play the middle of the field.
4.) Bennie Logan DT, LSU, 6'3" 295 lbs.
He is a good run stopper with good explosiveness and the ability to get into the backfield. He however, does not handle double teams well and lacks the size to be a true dominating presence on the inside. I would compare him to a poor man's Sylvester Williams, without the heart warming back story.
5.) (DH) Jamie Collins OLB, Southern Miss, 6'3" 250 lbs.
Collins has all of the physical attributes to be a dominating force at OLB. He has a good height weight speed combination. Great wingspan. Is a good tackler with great quickness. However, he is a project. He is unpolished and disappears at times. He needs to play with more tenacity and needs to clean up his movements. But I really like this pick as far as possible stars at the next level. I think with the right coaching and leadership (Jared Allen) he could develop into a sight to see.
I am stopping here for length purposes and I have realized how much time I am spending on this and should be studying for finals. Sorry. P.S. the later rounds affect the team less so... That's my excuse
Drafting for needs:
2.)Brown/Hunter (Maybe Banks)
Post Draft Free Agency:
I know this won't work but for this I am going to pretend all of the current free agents will still be free agents after the draft. And this is only going off my draft board. So with 13.5 Million in cap space, lets say we save 5 million of that for rookies. that leaves us with 8.5 million to play with.
If we don't draft Draft Trufant or Poyer:
FA: Brent Grimes 4 million/yr for 2 years. Lets say 3.5 million hit.
This is pretty close to what other CBs are getting this year and Grimes is coming off an injury, plus was not too long ago thought of as one of the top up and coming corners in the league.
If we don't draft Warmack or Watford:
FA: Brandon Moore 5 million/ yr for 3 years, 5 million dollar hit
Moore is widely regarded as the best guard still on the market and I think wants a little more that 4 million. I think we give it to him, and could cut Johnson and save us some cash but I'm going to pretend we keep him as a back up for simplicity's sake.
If we don't draft Jenkins, or Short, or maybe Logan:
Casey Hampton 6 million/ yr for 3 years. Maybe 7 million.
Casey Hampton is, IMO, the only true nose tackle worth while. And would be a dominating force next to Kevin Williams. He may was a good contract but I think he would be a great pick up.
Obviously we would probably only need one of these three, maybe two. So that leaves us with the rest for filler players.
I thought this was going to be picking some of the other guys on the list, but it ended up being pretty ordinary.
1.) Desmond Trufant
2.) Arthur Brown
3.) Johnathan Banks (Converted to safety)
4.) Aaron Dobson
5.) Alvin Bailey (I know he wasn't on my lists but I do think he really impacts the team and is a good pick)
Sign Casey Hampton
I think that signing Casey Hampton is a major part of this plan, and without it leaves us weak. I also think this leaves us possibly weaker than I like at WR. I like Dobson's ability but he is a boom or bust pick. I do think with this our secondary will be very good for years to come.
I have a few things to say here. One is that I am very sorry this is so ungodly long. That is why I cut off the board after the third round. If I get a great reception from this and you guys want I can do it again for the rest of the rounds, but considering the length I doubt I will. Next, this draft board really makes me realize how hard Spielman's job is and I am really having a hard time deciding who I really want.
Last, I obviously don't have the time to watch tape on all of these players or anything. So the scouting reports I'm going off of, if any of you are interested, and I have found they're pretty accurate, are here: http://www.fftoolbox.com/nfl_draft/2013/top-nfl-prospects-for-2013.cfm
Thanks for reading, Tell me what you think. Also, pick your own out of the guys I listed.