FanPost

Vikings 2013 Draft: Cumulative Rankings for MLB, CB, DT and WR v2.0

It’s been about three weeks since I posted the first cumulative positional ranking. Most if not all of the players Pro Days are done, and the draft is a mere 11 days away. So I thought I would revisit this cumulative ranking and provide an update. Like last time, I’m looking only at the four greatest needs of our team with this set of rankings: MLB, CB, DT and WR. At the very least this update might inform some last minute mock drafts and help us analyze the actual draft when it finally gets here! Last time I only ranked players that appeared in the Top 5 positional rankings of at least one of the eight sources I looked at. But this time, I’m expanding it to the Top 10. This will give us a much deeper look at the positions and will help us to analyze draft picks well into the mid rounds of the draft. Also, I dropped Optimum Scouting from the list, since they haven’t updated their rankings in almost a month. I went with Scout on MSN (part of Fox Sports) as a replacement.

So, first up, let’s look at middle linebackers. The table lists their positional ranking by source, as well as their average positional ranking. In parenthesis is their overall ranking on the Big Board of each source. Note that some sources listed a few of these players as outside linebackers, while others listed them as inside linebackers. For some sources that lacked consistency, I used the player’s overall big board ranking to piece together a positional ranking. Every player listed here appeared in the Top 10 of at least 1 source I consulted. In some cases, the Big Board wasn’t “big” enough, so the overall ranking is imprecise, but in every case I was able to get an accurate positional ranking one way or another.

Name

Average

Rank

NFL.com

ESPN

CBS

Sports

SB Nation

Walter Football

Drafttek

Draft Countdown

Scout on MSN

Alec Ogletree, ILB/OLB

2 (25.25)

4 (37)

1 (13)

4 (41)

2 (30)

1 (12)

1 (27)

2 (20)

1 (22)

Manti Te’o, ILB

2.5

(30.25)

2 (23)

2 (24)

3 (40)

3 (42)

3 (33)

4 (36)

1 (16)

2 (28)

Arthur Brown, ILB/OLB

2.63

(33.63)

1 (15)

4 (55)

2 (39)

1 (18)

4 (43)

2 (28)

3 (30)

4 (41)

Kevin Minter, ILB

2.88

(38.75)

3 (36)

3 (45)

1 (34)

4 (62)

2 (26)

3 (31)

4 (40)

3 (36)

Kiko Alonso, ILB

6.5

(124.5)

8 (180)

6 (91)

5 (105)

6 (96)

5 (142+)

6 (118)

9 (151+)

7 (113)

Jon Bostic, ILB

6.75

(132.63)

11 (227)

7 (141)

6 (122)

7 (113)

6 (142+)

5 (98)

6 (124)

6 (94)

Kevin Riddick, ILB/OLB

7.13

(120.75)

6 (105)

5 (86)

9 (148)

8 (159)

11 (142+)

8 (145)

5 (113)

5 (68)

Nico Johnson, ILB

8 (152.5)

9 (204)

8 (151+)

8 (140)

5 (88)

7 (142+)

9 (147)

7 (150)

11 (198)

Keith Pough, ILB/OLB

9.8

(163.8)

7 (125)

12 (151+)

10 (182)

n/a

n/a

11 (193)

n/a

9 (168)

Michael Mauti, ILB/OLB

10.13

(169.75)

5 (103)

11 (151+)

14 (296)

12 (201+)

13 (142+)

10 (183)

8 (151+)

8 (131)

AJ Klein, ILB

10.38

(190)

17 (411)

13 (151+)

7 (135)

9 (187)

8 (142+)

7 (130)

10 (151+)

12 (213)

Steve Beauharnais, ILB

11.57

(220.29)

13 (249)

9 (151+)

12 (249)

10 (197)

n/a

13 (321)

11 (151+)

13 (224)

Vince Williams, ILB

14.25

(251.38)

25 (459)

10 (151+)

16 (305)

11

(201+)

10 (142+)

16 (372)

12 (151+)

14 (230)

Bruce Taylor, ILB

14.75

(238.38)

11 (214)

17 (151+)

23

(464)

13 (201+)

9 (142+)

18 (397)

17 (151+)

10 (187)

Kenny Cain, ILB/OLB

36

(310.2)

10 (208)

106 (151+)

34+ (751+)

n/a

15 (142+)

n/a

n/a

15 (299+)

So, by expanding the lens to the Top 10, it added 6 more linebackers to the list for a total of 15 that appeared in the Top 10 of at least one source. As you can see with the average rankings, there’s a pretty clear separation between the Top 4 linebackers (Ogletree, Te’o, Brown and Minter) and everyone else. So, it would be to the Vikings advantage to make sure they draft one of those Top 4 players, since they have such a severe need at MLB. But when would be the best round to select one of them? Historically, over the past 10 years, only 33 linebackers have been taken in the first round (3.3 per year), and of those only about 1/3 were true middle linebackers. In other words, on average, over the last 10 years only one middle linebacker has been taken in the 1st round of a draft. So, based on the past, and the rankings, there are very good odds that at least one of those four middle linebackers will be available for the Vikings in the 1st round. But will one of them fall to the Vikings late 2nd round pick? And if we don’t get one of those Top 4 players, the next best MLB comes in with a 4th round grade based on the overall ranking average, making the drop-off pretty significant. That said, the next 6 players are all ranked pretty similarly overall, so if we do miss out on one of the Top 4 players, there should be plenty of talent available in the mid-rounds should the Vikings decide to go that route. But asking a mid-round pick to come in and start day 1 may not be the best plan either. I think the Vikings are going to have to draft a MLB in the 1st round if they intend to plug-and-play a rookie.

Next up is the Wide Receiver positional rankings. Same drill as above, and again, the numbers in parenthesis are the overall ranking.

Name

Average

Rank

NFL.com

ESPN

CBS

Sports

SB Nation

Walter Football

Drafttek

Draft Countdown

Scout on MSN

Tavon Austin

1.63 (17.13)

1 (10)

1 (14)

2 (15)

3 (21)

1 (13)

1 (18)

2 (29)

2 (17)

Cord. Patterson

2.38 (21)

2 (14)

4 (35)

1 (14)

4 (27)

4 (27)

2 (20)

1 (18)

1 (13)

Keenan Allen

3 (26.88)

4 (25)

2 (22)

4 (35)

2 (19)

2 (19)

3 (32)

4 (34)

3 (29)

DeAndre Hopkins

4.5 (35.63)

3 (21)

6 (42)

5 (38)

1 (16)

5 (45)

5 (48)

5 (37)

6 (38)

Justin Hunter

4.88 (40.88)

8 (53)

3 (34)

7 (57)

6 (51)

3 (20)

4 (45)

3 (32)

5 (35)

Robert Woods

5.63 (43.88)

7 (46)

5 (39)

3 (27)

5 (48)

8 (55)

6 (51)

7 (53)

4 (32)

Quinton Patton

7.5 (59.25)

5 (40)

7 (48)

6 (44)

7 (60)

10 (74)

7 (63)

9 (84)

9 (61)

Terrance Williams

7.5 (59.88)

6 (42)

8 (61)

8 (57)

11 (101)

6 (47)

8 (67)

6 (50)

7 (54)

Da’Rick Rogers

10.5 (82)

11 (86)

12 (109)

11 (84)

9 (63)

7 (48)

15 (110)

8 (81)

11 (75)

Stedman Bailey

10.63 (80)

10 (68)

10 (72)

14 (110)

10 (68)

9 (71)

13 (99)

11 (95)

8 (57)

Markus Wheaton

11 (84.5)

9 (54)

11 (83)

9 (68)

12 (104)

13 (104)

10 (76)

12 (98)

12 (89)

Aaron Dobson

11.5 (89.38)

14 (104)

9 (65)

10 (73)

8 (72)

16 (122+)

12 (88)

10 (92)

13 (99)

Ryan Swope

14.38 (114.38)

23 (174)

14 (127)

12 (90)

13 (116)

11 (89)

9 (74)

19 (139)

14 (106)

Cobi Hamilton

16.75 (130.13)

12 (96)

20 (151+)

17 (130)

20 (171)

17 (122+)

23 (190)

15 (108)

10 (73)

Increasing the rankings from Top 5 to Top 10 doubles the list from seven to fourteen and there has been lots of movement in the rankings. That said, only one wide receiver has a consensus 1st round ranking overall: Tavon Austin, although the Top 3 average out as a 1st rounder (Austin, Patterson and Allen). The talent pool is rather deep as eight WR on the list average out as at least a 2nd round pick based on overall ranking, and the next 4 on the list after that average out as a 3rd round selection. That means 12 of the Top 14 WR have an average ranking somewhere in the first 3 rounds of the draft. The Vikings wouldn’t necessarily have to spend a 1st round pick on a WR as there should be plenty of options available to them, even with pick #52 in the 2nd round.

Next up is the Cornerback position, and again, same drill as above. The number in parenthesis is the overall ranking.

Name

Average

Rank

NFL.com

ESPN

CBS

Sports

SB Nation

Walter Football

Drafttek

Draft Countdown

Scout on MSN

Dee Milliner

1 (6)

1 (6)

1 (4)

1 (7)

1 (6)

1 (8)

1 (4)

1 (6)

1 (7)

Xavier Rhodes

2.75 (23.25)

2 (26)

6 (38)

2 (11)

2 (22)

3 (24)

2 (16)

3 (31)

2 (18)

Desmond Trufant

2.88 (24.75)

5 (35)

2 (18)

3 (24)

3 (25)

2 (22)

3 (23)

2 (28)

3 (23)

Jonathan Banks

4.88 (42.75)

4 (34)

7 (62)

5 (50)

5 (47)

4 (37)

5 (39)

4 (33)

5 (40)

Jamar Taylor

5.88 (48.25)

3 (29)

4 (29)

4 (29)

6 (55)

9 (83)

4 (33)

10 (73)

7 (55)

Blidi Wreh-Wilson

8.75 (66.88)

8 (75)

5 (36)

13 (94)

8 (61)

11 (86)

12 (90)

9 (62)

4 (31)

David Amerson

9.13 (76.63)

9 (85)

16 (128)

6 (56)

11 (78)

5 (53)

7 (53)

7 (56)

12 (104)

Robert Alford

9.38 (77.25)

6 (57)

9 (74)

10 (83)

12 (83)

15 (114)

10 (78)

5 (49)

8 (80)

Jordan Poyer

9.63 (79.13)

10 (89)

15 (121)

8 (71)

7 (59)

10 (84)

6 (43)

8 (59)

13 (107)

Darius Slay

9.63 (82.38)

14 (119)

8 (71)

9 (75)

9 (73)

8 (73)

8 (60)

11 (88)

10 (100)

Logan Ryan

9.75 (85.13)

17 (144)

11 (97)

11 (87)

4 (46)

6 (60)

9 (69)

6 (54)

14 (124)

Tyrann Mathieu

13.13 (106.38)

12 (94)

10 (88)

12 (88)

16 (130)

16 (122+)

15 (120)

15 (112)

9 (97)

Leon McFadden

13.75 (105.88)

7 (58)

21 (151+)

14 (101)

15 (127)

17 (122+)

16 (127)

14 (109)

6 (52)

Dj Hayden

14.71 (119.86)

26 (187)

3 (25)

7 (62)

10 (75)

n/a

14 (112)

22 (201+)

21 (177)

Will Davis

16.25 (128.13)

13 (115)

24 (151+)

19 (156)

14 (124)

7 (62)

18 (143)

13 (94)

22 (180)

Interestingly, there are 15 cornerbacks that appear in the Top 10 positional rankings in at least one source I consulted (only 4 more than in the Top 5). The numbers still pretty clearly show that in this draft class there is Dee Milliner, and everyone else. That said Xavier Rhodes and Desmond Trufant both also average out as a 1st round selection. In looking at the numbers, the Top 5 CB on the list all grade out with a 1st or 2nd round ranking, but there is some drop-off after that. The cornerbacks ranked 6th-11th all average out very similarly in the 3rd round, and then there are the bottom four that make the list because only 1 or 2 rankings had them in their Top 10. As a side note, B.W. Webb would have ranked ahead of the bottom couple CB, but because he did not make the Top 10 on any source, he isn’t included. The Vikings will likely have access to pretty much anyone on the list not named Dee Milliner, so it will be interesting to see what kind of priority the team places on this position now that Winfield is a Seahawk. If it were me, I would not hesitate to spend a 1st round pick on a CB, because there is so little elite talent at the top of the list.

And finally, we’ll take a look at defensive tackle. This proved to be one of the more difficult positional rankings due to such variety of positions among the different defensive schemes. Some sources simply listed “defensive tackle”, while others went into minute detail sorting out the 3-4 tackles from the 4-3 tackles. Because of this variety, this ranking will only consider defensive tackles in the generic sense, regardless of whether they would be a good fit for a 4-3 scheme or not, and regardless of if they would like up at the 3-tech or 1-tech positions along the line. And frankly, we kind of need both anyway.

Name

Average

Rank

NFL.com

ESPN

CBS

Sports

SB Nation

Walter Football

Drafttek

Draft Countdown

Scout on MSN

Star Lotulelei

1.5 (6.5)

2 (9)

1 (3)

2 (17)

1 (2)

1 (1)

2 (9)

1 (3)

2 (8)

Sharrif Floyd

1.63 (5.88)

1 (3)

2 (6)

1 (5)

3 (13)

2 (3)

1 (5)

2 (8)

1 (4)

Sheldon Richard.

2.88

(11.88)

3 (12)

3 (11)

3 (18)

2 (5)

3 (7)

3 (13)

3 (13)

3 (16)

Sylvester Williams

5.13 (31.13)

8 (61)

4 (17)

4 (23)

6 (35)

6 (35)

4 (24)

5 (27)

4 (27)

Jonathan Hankins

5.88 (37.63)

5 (41)

9 (56)

6 (43)

4 (29)

7 (36)

6 (34)

4 (25)

6 (37)

Jesse Williams

6.13 (39.75)

4 (30)

7 (47)

5 (33)

5 (31)

8 (63)

5 (26)

7 (38)

8(50)

Kawann Short

6.5 (40.25)

7 (60)

6 (31)

7 (53)

8 (45)

4 (21)

7 (37)

8 (42)

5 (33)

Jonathan Jenkins

6.5 (45.5)

6 (56)

5 (26)

8 (76)

7 (37)

5 (34)

8 (56)

6 (36)

7 (43)

Brandon Williams

9.13 (78.63)

10 (92)

8 (52)

9 (98)

10 (81)

9 (64)

9 (96)

9 (55)

9 (91)

Bennie Logan

10.5 (104.25)

9 (71)

11 (99)

13 (154)

9 (74)

10 (122+)

12 (140)

10 (58)

10 (116)

Akeem Spence

12 (120.63)

16 (195)

10 (77)

10 (112)

11 (108)

14 (122+)

10 (104)

12 (100)

13 (147)

For the defensive tackles, only eleven different players appeared in at least one of the Top 10 positional ranking (3 more than the Top 5 list). There are quite a few players at the top of the class with 8 of the 11 players averaging out with a 1st or 2nd round ranking. But after that, the talent level drops off pretty quickly with only one 3rd round talent before it drops off into the 4th round. So, if the Vikings want to get a difference maker at defensive tackle, they will need to do it with one of their first three picks, and very likely with a 1st rounder, or moving up in the 2nd, since the overall ranking of the 8th best DT is higher than the Vikings 2nd round pick.

Putting it all together

An exercise like this helps me to see how other ranking sources value the players at each position. And it makes it much easier to try to mock certain players to the Vikings when you can average out the positional and overall rankings across a wide range of opinions. I certainly don’t consider myself to have any eye what-so-ever when it comes to scouting football talent, but I trust the averaging and cumulative process in an exercise like this. I trust that the sources behind each of these rankings, knows more about this than I do, and while they never agree, somehow stirring it all together into a cumulative pot can account for most of the scouting variables. To make this even more accurate, I’d have to scour the web for more than just eight simple sources, but since I don’t have time for that, this will have to do. But, I’m very glad that I expanded this exercise to the Top 10 players at each position, because it allows me to see how the talent is spread out across the various rounds. For example, wide receiver is very deep all the way into the 3rd round, whereas defensive tackle is deep only at the top and drops off significantly after the middle of the 2nd round.

In the last version, I put up a few mock drafts that illustrated how the Vikings might be able to secure “Top 5” players at every position. But in this installment I’m going to instead focus in on how the Vikings should strategize their draft. Since the player pools are much deeper this time around, it has allowed me to see which positions the Vikings need to spend an early pick on. In addition, I took a look at the team needs listed at Walter Football to help determine which other teams might be going after the same positions. So, with the release of Antoine Winfield, and looking at the current state of the roster, in my mind, the biggest needs for the Vikings, in order are: MLB, CB, DT, and WR, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I think we should draft those position in that order. Other teams that have needs similar to ours at MLB, CB, DT or WR (listed as at least the 3rd highest need at Walter Football) are: Falcons (LB and DT), Ravens (LB and WR), Bills (WR and LB), Panthers (CB and DT), Bears (LB and DT), Bengals (LB), Browns (CB), Broncos (DT and LB), Packers (WR), Texans (WR and LB), Colts (CB and DT), Jaguars (CB), Chiefs (WR), Dolphins (CB), Patriots (WR and DT), Saints (DT), Giants (LB and CB), Raiders (LB, DT and CB), Eagles (CB), Steelers (WR), Chargers (CB), 49ers (CB), Seahawks (LB), Rams (WR and LB), Bucs (CB), Titans (CB), and Redskins (CB). There are a lot of teams that have similar needs to us, which will make the draft extremely interesting to watch unfold! So, here is how I would attack the draft:

1st Round Picks: MLB and CB

The talent pool at MLB drops off significantly after the 1st round and before we get to our second round pick based on the rankings. There are also 11 other teams that have LB listed as a strong need, and of those 11, 6 teams draft before us. I’m not suggesting all 6 will draft a LB in the 1st round, but it’s certainly possible that the Top 4 MLB (Ogletree, Te’o, Brown and Minter) are all gone by pick #23. We’re going to have to pay attention to those 6 teams with needs at LB to see if a run on linebackers happens in the 1st that would necessitate having to move up to secure an elite player. I wouldn’t be opposed to this, since we have so many extra picks this year. If we don’t get one of those 4 players, we might as well wait until the 4th round for a linebacker and consider trading one of our 1st rounders to acquire more picks.

Similarly, the pool of CB is thin at the top with only 5 ranked in the first two rounds. But the real issue is that 13 other teams have CB listed as a major need, with 10 of them drafting ahead of us. Like MLB, keep an eye on when the CB are being drafted, and move up if we need to, but don’t reach for a 2nd round CB in the first just because we need one. If no CB falls to us, we should consider trading down again.

2nd Round Pick: DT

Like LB and CB, the pool of DT is not huge, and thins out quickly after the mid-point of the 2nd round. However, there are not as many teams that need a DT, only 8 total and of those, only 4 teams draft ahead of us. So, I think we should be ok to wait on DT until the 2nd round as there should be an elite player that will fall to us. If there is a run on DT, we can always use some of our extra picks to move up in the 2nd round to secure a player on the list above. If it were me, I’d just select the best available DT, whether it’s a slight reach or not.

3rd Round Pick: WR

The pool for wide receivers is deep and it stretches well into the 3rd round. Part of the issue with the wide receiver class is that there just isn’t a lot of blue chip talents that must be taken in the 1st round outside of maybe Tavon Austin (and possibly Patterson and Allen too). Even better, there aren’t a ton of teams that have a major need at wide receiver, only 8 total. Of those 8, only 4 draft ahead of us, so there is a very good likelihood that some talented wide receivers with a 2nd round grade could fall to us in the 3rd round. Again, it’s important not to reach at any particular position, and if the value just isn’t there, then go with another position. But if the value can be found at wide receiver in the 3rd round, in my opinion, this is the best place to target.

So, here is a quick and dirty mock draft following the strategy I just outlined:

1st Round, Pick #23: Desmond Trufant, CB Washington

I would love to get Xavier Rhodes here, and if the cumulative overall rankings are correct, he could fall to us. But based on the fact that the pool of CB is thin, and there is a big need at CB, I’m guessing Rhodes is gone by the time we pick. It’s also important that we draft a CB before the Colts (who draft right after us), because CB is a major need for them. I would also consider moving up for Trufant if Rhodes is taken pretty early on.

1st Round, Pick #25: Arthur Brown, MLB Kansas State

I’m assuming that Ogletree and Te’o are gone, and if either is on the board at #25, then I would not hesitate to pull the trigger on either player before Brown. I think this is a bit of a reach, but based on the pool of available players, and teams ahead of us that need a middle linebacker, I think this will be a necessary reach. It’s possible all three are gone, and in that case, my fingers are crossed that Minter is still on the board. The bottom line is, we need one of these four players at this pick: Ogletree, Te’o, Brown or Minter. If all four are gone, then we should trade down to acquire more picks or consider drafting a DT. Then we’ll be looking at a MLB in the 3rd or 4th round who may or may not be ready to start Day 1.

2nd Round, Pick #52: Jonathan Jenkins, DT Georgia

This is a bit of a stretch, as his cumulative overall ranking only has him lasting until pick #45. But based on the fact that defensive tackle isn’t a huge need for many teams, I’m banking that a guy like him falls to us. Like I said above, we may have to trade up to get a defensive tackle in the 2nd, but we could also reach a bit and take Brandon Williams out of Missouri Southern here too.

3rd Round, Pick #83: Markus Wheaton, WR Oregon State

Wheaton has a perfect cumulative ranking score for our 3rd round pick, and would be the deep threat we need. He’s a perfect fit to lineup outside and run the deep routes. His size might suggest the slot at 5’11” and 189 lbs, but his speed (4.4 40) makes him ideal on the outside. He broke Oregon’s State all time reception record previously held by Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmanzedah, and compares to…gulp…Bernard Berrian. Let’s hope he has better hands and a better attitude than Berrian ever did, and based on his scouting reports, I think he does.

After that, we’ll need to be looking solely at BPA with an eye out for guard, safety and more linebackers, wide receivers and cornerbacks. This is such an undertaking that I won’t be doing another before the draft, so this will just have to do! If I had more free time, I would have liked to have had this finished before our community mock draft, but such is life. Happy mock drafting everyone.


This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a <em>community</em>, that view is no less important.

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