FanPost

Mock Draft after day 1 of free agency...



Having seen the first day of free agency come and go, I have revised my draft wish list, selecting the top eight players that I think the Vikings will consider. This isn't a list of the top eight talent available, merely a list of the players at certain positions the Vikings will consider with the #8 selection.

Jadeveon Clowney

Khalil Mack

Teddy Bridgewater

Sammy Watkins

Justin Gilbert

Blake Bortles

Darqueze Dennard

Anthony Barr

Now the first thing people will notice, is that Johnny Manziel isn't on this list. This isn't saying that Manziel won't be a solid to great player in the NFL, more that I don't think he fits Norv Turner's mold for a QB, and I'm also convinced that his freelancing on some plays would become tiresome for head coach Mike Zimmer. That's not to say that the Vikings wouldn't be interested in Manziel later in the first round - either through trading the #8 selection for a later pick, or by trading back into the tail end of the first round if they don't go QB at #8.

Sammy Watkins isn't a player at a position of need for the Vikings, but he is a fantastic talent that shouldn't be ignored if he is available, and the three players I have rated above him aren't. If I am not mistaken, the team are only on the hook for one more season of Greg Jennings guaranteed money, and with him turning 31 in September, building a young receiving core around Watkins, Patterson, Wright, and Rudolph would seem prudent.

Clowney will certainly be gone before #8, and Mack (thanks Mike Mayock) is garnering more and more plaudits as each day passes. There is a chance that he will still be available at #8, and therefore he would immediately improve our line backing corps. Despite all the early hoopla around the possibility of four QBs being taken in the top ten picks, I see this settling to two, with Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles being those selected. Either would look great in purple, but with Cassel signed for another two years, I feel that the Vikings would only seriously consider Teddy Bridgewater should he fall to #8. Perhaps if the team trades back a few spots, then Bortles would come into play, but the chances are that the team won't need to make that decision.

Anthony Barr would be a good selection, but I feel that the team would prefer to solidify the other cornerback position opposite Xavier Rhodes. With that in mind, then Justin Gilbert is my top corner, mainly due to his play style, and height advantage over Darqueze Dennard. That isn't saying that Dennard wouldn't be a great selection, merely what I see a Zimmer led defense preferring.

Now, moving onto my revised mock draft.

As before, I feel that every draft needs to be broken down into different areas.

Main team need - kind of explains itself

Team would like to select - player available in the right position in an ideal world

Team trades up - what player brings value at expense

Team trades down - what player would team like, but value not there at original pick

Taking this into account, I have created my second mock draft. I haven't allowed trades, and have also included the best player (in my opinion) who is still available in my scenario.

#01 Houston Texans

Main team need - QB

Best player in my scenario - Jadeveon Clowney

Team would like to select - Blake Bortles

Team trades up - N/A

Team trades down - Blake Bortles

Team selects (no trades) - Jadeveon Clowney

Explanation - the Texans would jump for joy for a team like the Jaguars to fall in love with Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater as QBs tend to have higher trade value. They won't get anywhere near what the Redskins paid for RG3, but a team like Jacksonville or Cleveland may be willing to part with their 2nd round selection plus some later picks for the chance to jump ahead of the Rams - who themselves will probably look to trade down.

I feel that Blake Bortles isn't worth being drafted higher than 10th, but being able to pick up your QB of the future, plus an extra high pick player more than makes up for the overspend.

If the team are unable to find a suitable trade partner, then they draft the best player available, Jadeveon Clowney. Teaming him together with J.J. Watt will give their defense an edge against any offense, and the extra pressure created by the front line, will certainly provide the rest of the defense more opportunity to create turnovers.

#02 St Louis Rams

Main team need - OT

Best player in my scenario - Greg Robinson

Team would like to select - Greg Robinson

Team trades up - No value here

Team trades down - Jake Matthews

Team selects (no trades) - Greg Robinson

Explanation - The Rams seem set on living with Sam Bradford, and so need to protect him better to give him a chance to succeed. They would love for another bounty like they received from Washington two years ago, but with no "franchise" QB available this year, a smaller deal where they drop back one or two spots and get an additional high pick this or next year would seem likely.

If the Texans go for a QB over Clowney, then Jeff Fisher would be seriously tempted to add him to his defense, but head should rule heart, and Greg Robinson comes off the board.

#03 Jacksonville Jaguars

Main team need - DL

Best player in my scenario - Khalil Mack

Team would like to select - Jadeveon Clowney

Team trades up - Teddy Bridgewater

Team trades down - Khalil Mack

Team selects (no trades) - Teddy Bridgewater

Explanation - The first team who might seriously consider trading up this year. The Blaine Gabbert era is over with his trade to the 49ers, but with several solid second tier QBs available later, their need at DL may take precedence. If Clowney somehow falls, then this becomes a moot subject. He would immediately upgrade a defense that seemed lifeless last year, plus bringing a "superstar" status to the team that will sell lots of merchandise.

Jersey sales will also be on the up if things work out the way I see them, and the Jaguars select Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater may scare fans who are reminded of the Gabbert selection three years ago, but he should prove to be a better leader and ultimately player for the Jaguars.

A trade down may also be considered, but unless they can convince the Browns that they need to give up something for nothing (see trade with Vikings for Trent Richardson), I see them standing put and selecting Bridgewater and let him learn behind Chad Henne for the first half of the season.

#04 Cleveland Browns

Main team need - QB

Best player in my scenario - Khalil Mack

Team would like to select - Teddy Bridgewater

Team trades up - Teddy Bridgewater

Team trades down - Sammy Watkins (or Derek Carr if they trade back further)

Team selects (no trades) - Khalil Mack

So the Browns want to trade up for Johnny Manziel. The Browns see Manziel as their saviour. Personally, I see the Browns chuffing out a huge smokescreen in the hope to drum up interest for a trade down.

Outside of Bridgewater, I see Derek Carr as a much better fit for the Browns, as his passing performance in windy Senior Bowl practices demonstrated. The Bills showed last year that teams are starting to find players that can play in the conditions of where they play. Had E.J. Manuel not shown he could throw in poor conditions, then he would probably fall to the second round. With the team also holding #26 which is much better value for Derek Carr, I see them letting their cards fall as they are and taking the best defensive player available at #4, and in my draft that happens to be Khalil Mack.

#05 Oakland Raiders

Main team need - QB

Best player in my scenario - Sammy Watkins

Team would like to select - Teddy Bridgewater

Team trades up - Teddy Bridgewater

Team trades down - Derek Carr

Team selects (no trades) - Blake Bortles

The Raiders are a hard team to gauge. Yes they need a QB, and Teddy Bridgewater would bring excellent leadership to a team, but he won't last past #4. The team could look at defense or offensive line where there is value to be had, and even though Al Davis is no longer around to call the shots on draft day, I see them seriously considering Sammy Watkins. But the Raiders - who may shop this pick - ultimately need stability at the QB position. Johnny Manziel would bring excitement and drama, but Blake Bortles is the more prototypical 'franchise' QB. He has some developing to do before he meets his full potential - but couldn't that be said for any rookie?

#06 Atlanta Falcons

Main team need - DL

Best player in my scenario - Sammy Watkins

Team would like to select - Jadeveon Clowney

Team trades up - Jadeveon Clowney

Team trades down - Anthony Barr

Team selects (no trades) - Jake Matthews

If there ever was a team need and player fit that would be a match made in Heaven, then Atlanta and Jadeveon Clowney would be it. The team has shown a strong willingness in the past to trade up for a player that they covet, and they have enough pieces in place for a single player to make enough difference to change their fortunes around.

The team could use some fresh legs at linebacker, and Anthony Barr should not be considered the consolation prize with Khalil Mack already being off the board. Ultimately, being able to select a highly prized left tackle at #6 should be too tempting to miss, and Matt Ryan finally gets better protection with the selection of Jake Matthews.

#07 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Main team need - QB

Best player in my scenario - Sammy Watkins

Team would like to select - Teddy Bridgewater

Team trades up - Jadeveon Clowney

Team trades down - Anthony Barr

Team selects (no trades) - Sammy Watkins

The Buccaneers could use quite a bit of help, and I can see there being much discussion regarding Johnny Manziel. I still believe that Josh McCown or another free agent will be brought in as a veteran presence, and that will allow the Buccaneers to focus on the best player available and select Sammy Watkins.

Watkins could be considered a steal at #7, and is probably the last remaining player in which another team may put together a hefty package to trade up to draft him. Look at the Rams to test the water on a possible move up from #13, as Watkins was probably in their discussions at #2. As I am not allowing trades in this mock draft, Watkins becomes a Buccaneer, and hopes that his play garners more press coverage than those 'interesting' new uniforms.

#08 Minnesota Vikings

Main team need - QB

Best player in my scenario - Justin Gilbert

Team would like to select - Khalil Mack

Team trades up - Khalil Mack

Team trades down - Darqueze Dennard

Team selects (no trades) - Justin Gilbert

Explanation - The Vikings' need for a franchise signal caller should not blind their rebuilding project, and value needs to be found at #8. The team would love the accuracy of Teddy Bridgewater, but with QBs having such a high price attached to them in trades, the team would only be able to consider trading with as high as Atlanta without having to seriously overpay. If Clowney somehow drops to #5, then a bidding war may ensue, and the Vikings might be interested, but in my scenario, both he and Bridgewater are gone by #3.

The Vikings have several needs and possible positions to upgrade, but unless they receive an outstanding offer to drop back, the team must consider taking the best cornerback in the draft, Justin Gilbert.

There will be many who would argue that the Vikings should select Johnny Manziel, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, I don't think he fits Norv Turner's mold for a QB, and I'm also convinced that his freelancing on some plays would become tiresome for head coach Mike Zimmer.

Despite signing Matt Cassel to a two year contract, the Vikings can't hide the fact that they need a new QB of the future. Ponder will probably be traded after or during the draft (Tampa?) and the team will probably do as they have done the past two seasons, and attempt to trade back into the tail end of the first round if Derek Carr is still available.

#09 Buffalo Bills

Main team need - S

Best player in my scenario - Anthony Barr

Team would like to select - Khalil Mack

Team trades up - Khalil Mack

Team trades down - HaHa Clinton-Dix

Team selects (no trades) - Taylor Lewan

The Bills have a solid team, but several positions can be upgraded. Safety is a concern with both Jairus Byrd and Jim Leonhard free agents, and the team could seriously look at HaHa Clinton-Dix as he would be a much cheaper option. Thing is, #9 is too high (at the moment), and any team selecting in the top 10 should get the best value available. I see LB and OL as areas where value can be had, and both are areas that can be upgraded. With Mack gone, Anthony Barr and C.J. Mosley could be considered, but Barr isn't the leader this team needs, and Mosley projects to be more of a late teens talent. The best value, both in talent and financial commitment, is clearly Taylor Lewan. He is as good as anyone in the run game, and though he has a lot to learn in the passing game, he has demonstrated good instincts and the ability to learn. E.J. Manuel is an investment worth protecting, and Lewan shown tremendous athletic ability for such a big guy at the combine. In the current NFL climate there are two things for certain: QBs and left tackles are going to get over drafted and/or overpaid in free agency!

#10 Detroit Lions

Main team need - LB

Best player in my scenario - Anthony Barr

Team would like to select - Khalil Mack

Team trades up - Khalil Mack

Team trades down - Darqueze Dennard

Team selects (no trades) - Anthony Barr

Detroit should be a much better team than there results show. They have a great defensive line, an excellent QB, the best receiver currently in the game, and a better than average running back who is also excellent as a receiver out of the backfield. Although I see the team needing a true leader at linebacker, they also have a real need at defensive back. With Justin Gilbert already gone, and Darqueze Dennard perhaps not fitting the NFC North mold for cornerbacks, I see the Lions selecting Anthony Barr.

Now the Lions still have a slight bad taste in their mouths from selecting Ernie Simms high in the first round, but Barr is by far a better athlete, and will prove to be better in coverage, along with displaying his pass rushing instincts. With Mack already off the board, Barr should not be considered the consolation prize, as he was once thought by many to be a better prospect than Mack. He will perhaps need a little more time to adjust to the NFL, but should pan out to be a better than solid starter for Detroit.

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 community, that view is no less important.

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