I used the site first-pick for this draft. Now obviously these simulators are not even close to perfect, but I like it better then just picking players if you think they are there or not, this at least gives you a sense of unpredictability. I made two trades that I don't remember what I traded for them, but oh well, that is where the extra picks come from. This isn't my ideal draft but after looking it over, I wouldn't if it turned out like this in the end: (I apologize in advance about the weird spacing that always seems to happen when I make a fanpost.)
Round 1 Pick 8: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Bortles and Bridgewater were both gone, but if all the QB's were available, the only one I would take over Manziel is Bridgewater. This may be very stupid of me and I won't be shocked if Manziel is the biggest bust of all time, but there is something about the kid that is polarizing. I feel like he is the kind of player that inspires everyone around him, coaches and players alike. I feel that Norv would embrace the chance to work with him and would tweak (not change) his usual offensive system to make sure Manziel succeeds. Above all I like to have fun watching the Vikings, and Manziel at the very least would be the most fun player in the league to watch.
Round 2 Pick 10: (TENN): Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State
I know we need defense, but with drafting JFF you have to ensure he gets every single opportunity to succeed, Jackson would be the final piece in our young offensive line and give Manziel enough time that he should be able to make plays, and if he isn't, then we can't blame the line, which is partially what kept a lot of Ponder fans believing in him. (Me included)
Round 2 Pick 18: (MIA): Telvin Smith, OLB, Florida State
We have lots of linebacker. We have lots of bad linebackers. We have lots of linebackers that maybe are not that bad but they aren't given a chance. Despite the maybe potential of our linebacking core, we need a talent upgrade there. Especially against the pass, our linebackers cannot cover for ish. I really like Smith, his only knock is that he is undersized at 6'-3" 218. He and Ryan Shazier are far and away the best cover linebackers in the draft and Smith also has the versatility to convert to a safety is our linebackers prove to have a couple diamond in the roughs/ Sanford gets outplayed. He is very fast and is a great leader, often the most vocal player on that great FSU D.
Round 3 Pick 17: (MIA): Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
We have added depth to the D-line and I like a lot of our moves so far, but we still have a need for a second quality interior pass rusher inside, in the rotation. He has been compared to Geno Atkins and had he come out after his junior year, would be fighting Aaron Donald for the first 3 technique off the board. He doesn't have great straight line speed and tires easily, but he is extremely explosive and would be a rotational player, so I wouldn't be too concerned about his stamina. His Junior year he had 10.5 sacks and led the Pac-12 in TFL per game (20 in 11 games.) However he had an underwhelming senior year and hasn't shown consistency that would make him a first round pick. However with Zimmer at the helm, I believe he could get Sutton's full potential out.
Round 3 Pick 32: Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech
He is another potential safety convert if Sanford fails to meet expectations, but for now he is a corner. I loved the Captain Munnerlyn signing and we have someone who can cover slot receivers now, but it remains to be seen if Josh Robinson simply cannot slide inside, or if he is just a bad player. Exum gives a three headed camp battle between Robinson, himself, and Prater for the other outside corner on nickel situations. Exum is a great tackler that comes from a program that seems to grow DB's on trees. He is coming of an ACL injury, but with Sugarman on the staff, along with no sign of re injury and being cleared to play since September, I wouldn't be worried about that.
Round 4 Pick 8: Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State
At 6'-3" 240 Jones bring a lot of diversity to the defense, along with pairing him with his college teammate, Telvin Smith. Like Smith, Jones excels in coverage. I think he would be a steal here as his value decreased this year with FSU using him a lot as a DE. He brings versatility as a rusher, inside, or outside linebacker. At this time last year he was a projected first round pick. He is a solid tackler and uses his length to his advantage while in coverage, but this sometimes causes him to play upright.
Round 4 Pick 12: (TENN): Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
Adrian Peterson is a beast. He will play for 35 more years and will live forever. Buuuuut, his backup is Matt Asiata, we prepare for the inevitable here with Freeman, a do it all back who rushed for over 1000 yards on a 6.0 ypc average, is quicker then he is fast and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He also has a low center of gravity at 5'8" and can bounce of tackles fairly effectively. Has good vision while running and shows good effort and toughness in pass protection with aggressive hands and quick feet to mirror and was also used quite a bit as a lead blocker in Florida State's offense. He seems like an ideal 3rd down back, and would be drafted much higher but he simply has limitations with his size.
Round 5 Pick 8: Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech
So we got a back up 3-tech earlier with a lot of potential, and here we get a back up 5-tech with a lot of potential. Ellis weighs in at 334 pounds but played at a small school at Louisiana Tech. He is explosive of the snap and bully's linemen with heavy hands. He has a non stop motor and gets the most out of his ability. He is your prototypical run stuffer, but shows some ability to get to the passer, he also has some trouble with double teams, but with Zimmer on the staff along with Ellis's motor, I feel that he could be a steal.
Round 6 Pick 8: Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Belive it or not, our TE situation isn't sitting pretty, Rudolph is great but has shown a tendency to get hurt, and is on his last year of his rookie deal if I remember correctly. Behind him isn't all to promising, Elliason is a great blocker but isn't a threat to catch the ball, Chase Ford is better, but not by a whole lot. Lyerla is another first round talent that is going to slip to the later rounds, but whereas Sutton and Jones slipped due to consistency, Lyerla slips due to character concerns and off the field issues including: qutting the team, arrested for doing cocaine, and having his liscense suspended due to 4 driving tickets in 24 months. He is hardly an angel, but I am putting a lot of faith in Zimmer here and counting on his rep for turning players around. This would be the first offensive player he would have to do this to, but Lyerla's problems lay off the field, on the field he is a physical freak at 6'-4" 242, with a 40 inch vertical and runs a 4.6. 40. He compares to Gronk and has not been playing TE a long time, leaving a ton of room to grow in the technicalities of the position, but his pure talent is off the charts. Great pass catcher, and a good run blocker.
Round 7 Pick 8: Dri Archer, WR, Kent State
Many of you know Archer as the player who ran a near record 4.26 40 at the combine. He is a great pass catcher and can line up in the backfield or as a receiver. He is undersized at 5'-8" 173, but is as an explosive player as they come. He compares to a faster Dexter McCluster and can return both punts and kicks, giving a replacement to Patterson down the line if we dont want him getting hurt on kickoffs. Another toy for Norv and Johnny Football. If Manziel cannot succeed with this offense and this coordinator (provided he uses JFF correctly and doesn't expect him to play the same way as Rivers when Norv was with SD....I really hope he isn't stubborn in this scenario does happen and does his best to bit his scheme to the players, not vice versa) he never will.
So this is what our depth chart would look like, give or take a few players (before cuts, a lot of this hinges on training camp battles):
RB- Adrian Peterson, Devonta Freeman, Matt Asiata
FB- Jerome Felton, Rhett Elliason
TE- Kyle Rudolph, Coly Lyerla, Chase Ford
DT- Linval Joesph, Shariff Floyd, Will Sutton, Justin Ellis, Tom Johnson
WLB- Telvin Smith, Gerald Hodges
MLB- Michael Mauti, Christian Jones, Jasper Brinkley
SS- Jamarca Sanford, Anderson Sendejo, Robert Blanton
FS- Harrison Smith, Mistrayl Raymond
KR- Patterson, Archer
PR- Sherels, Archer
OFFENSIVE WEAPON!!!!- Dri Archer
So how did I do? My personal opinion is that upon first glance, it isn't that good, but I believe that as fans we are overly optimistic with the talent we acquire in our Mocks, and upon second glance I actually really like it. A lot rides of the coaches here, Zimmer to get consistency out of the defensive players, and most importantly, Norv in making sure Johnny Manziel is a success.
I spent a lot longer in this then I thought I was going to, so any feedback is appreciated, Changes? Agree? let me know.