With a suitable (albeit brief) break in my work schedule, I'm scrapping my full mock and simply throwing this question out there:
Who is the one player in the draft on either side of the ball that you absolutely, positively want to see in Purple??
Of course, I'd love to see any of the big names drafted by the Vikings who will presumably become immediate starters -- Kyle Van Noy, in particular, would be a versatile LB to target, particularly if we trade back in the 1st.
But I have one player on defense who I believe is worth a 3rd rd selection, and one on offense from the Big-10... both of whom are likely backups, but could develop into solid starters under our coaching staff.
Let's begin on the defensive side of the ball...
DT Caraun Reid (Princeton)
There isn't much to say that I haven't already said on Reid, but if you want the CliffsNotes version:
- Pass breakups and blocked kicks
- Active motor
- Strong work ethic
While it's possible (though doubtful) he could be worth a look at NT, Reid is probably better suited for the 3-tech if we stay in a 4-3. As it stands now, we have no backup to Floyd, so Reid is a great candidate for that spot right off the bat.
Under Frazier, we had a track record of our #3 DE sliding inside to be a pass rusher on 3rd down situations -- for my money, Reid can fulfill that same role as a backup DT (if you watched the Senior Bowl, you may recall Reid tallied back-to-back sacks). Furthermore, if we get some 3-4 looks under our new coaching staff, Reid is a good prospect as a potential starting DE in that front, as well.
The 3rd rd may seem a bit rich to some for a backup, but Reid is currently projected in the 4th rd. I can see his stock rising a bit after the Combine, where he'll be able to show off his athleticism, and where his character should truly shine in interviews. Not to mention, assuming we trade back to acquire more picks (as Spielman recently reiterated his philosophy of wanting 10 or so picks per draft), we'll be able to accommodate taking a couple players perhaps a little earlier from where their value is perceived to be.
And now, to the offensive trenches...
OG Ryan Groy (Wisconsin)
It certainly isn't a flashy choice, but I've been high on Ryan Groy all season -- if Mark is reading this, he'll corroborate that!! =)
I honestly meant to complete my Underdog Files write-ups with Groy, but my aforementioned work schedule won't let up before the Draft -- so, I'll use this space for that purpose.
The Badgers are known for their offensive linemen (seven of whom have been drafted over the last three seasons), and Groy is no exception -- he has plenty of starting experience, and is versatile enough to play any position on the OLine. At 6'5" 325lbs, he has the size to fit in on our OLine. Even though he could also potentially fill in as a swing-tackle candidate (he started at tackle in a pinch for a couple games at Wisconsin), ultimately Groy is best suited for developing at Guard.
I watched several Wisconsin games this season specifically for Groy, and to my (untrained) eye, he did a great job in pass protection, was a solid puller, and getting to the second level appeared seamless. He did very well against ASU, lining up frequently opposite Will Sutton (who turned in his worst game of the season, and statistically had his worst game since Oct 2012).
Groy isn't a big name right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if those 'in the know' see him as a better prospect than most of us armchair GMs. He was selected All-Big Ten First Team; and per DraftInsider.net's Tony Pauline, Groy was given a "surprisingly high grade by NFL evaluators" prior to the start of his senior year.
On the fun side of things, his Twitter handle is disGROYer79, and lists: "Country Boy that Lives and Loves the Outdoors"... if that doesn't fit in with some of the players on our team, I don't know what does...!!
As to how this fits in with the rest of our plan, I think we'll target a starting Guard via FA (or perhaps on Day 2 of the draft -- GJackson, DDozier, BTurner, et al), and Groy would develop as a backup with possible starter potential down the road. With our history of drafting inside offensive linemen in the 6th rd (Birk, Sullivan, Fusco, Baca), we should carry on that tradition with Groy. Though projected late-rd OGs this early in the process can sometimes climb into the mid-rds by draft day (Earl Watford is one example just last year) -- if that means using an earlier rd pick to land Groy, I'm all for it.
That's it for me, probably until April. Be sure to keep an eye out for both Reid and Groy at the Combine.
But please share below -- who are your man-crushes that you hope we draft (and who you'll be watching this weekend)?? Narrow it down...
One name on offense, one name on defense... fire away!!