When you come into the NFL Draft with an "average" scoring offense and the worst scoring defense in the NFL the previous season, coupled with the hiring of high-profile defensive guru, then it becomes a pretty easy assumption that defense is going to be a focus of the upcoming NFL Draft for the Vikings. Everything after that is anybody's guess.
Do we "Trade for Teddy"? Do we hope "MNziel" drops to us at #8? Do we trade up for him? Do we stand pat and take the BPA? Perhaps only Rick Spielman knows (I really hope Rick Spielman knows!).
While I will later share all of my feelings on FA targets and signing ideas (which could possibly cause a slight tweaking of my Mock Draft), for now I stuck with nothing but the draft for this exercise. With this being said, I decided not to stand pat with the picks as they stand today and swung trades with two other NFL franchises: the St. Louis Rams and the New Orleans Saints.
I know what you are thinking, "I love this guy! We are trading up to #2 to grab our QBOTF!" No. Just no.
Why waste a third of our picks for one player? Again, we are "okay" on offense as is (even with Cassel and Ponder at the helm) and the defense needs an overhaul. Those picks are too valuable to throw away.
Now that I have that off of my chest... on to the draft!
Before the draft begins we hold the current picks: 8, 40, 72, 96, 104, 136, 168, and 200; however, Roger Goodell changes this with this one announcement:
The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to trade the rights to the 8th pick and the 72nd pick in the draft to the St. Louis Rams for the rights to their 13th, 44th, and 172nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. St. Louis is now on the clock.
Here are my reasons for trading with St. Louis:
1) St. Louis nabs OT Robinson or OT Matthews at #2 (assuming somebody doesn't do something RGIII stupid)... couple that with the #8 pick and they could grab WR Sammy Watkins from Clemson-the best WR in the draft and address the biggest two needs on their board with the best two players at those positions.
2) We get to turn a 1st and 3rd into a 1st, 2nd and 6th round pick. This still leaves us in the position to select guys like QB Derek Carr, CB Justin Gilbert, or perhaps LB C.J. Mosley. So, with that being said...
With the 13th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft... the Minnesota Vikings select DEREK CARR, QB from Fresno State.
Norv needs a guy with a big arm to come in the throw the ball down the field and Carr can be that guy. Mettenberger is the only other "arm" that I think fits in our system going forward and I have a lot (and I mean a lot) of issues with bringing him in (maturity, medical, a "so-so" college career). Carr is smart and was successful in learning new offenses constantly thanks to a coaching carousel at Fresno. Give Turner time to mold this kid and I think he clears the Carr name, in due time. Next!
With the 40th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft... the Minnesota Vikings select Ryan Shazier, LB from The Ohio State University!
Now that he ran rip-shot through the NFL Combine I don't think he makes it this long anymore, unfortunately. My backup plan currently stands as Kyle Van Noy, LB from BYU. CBS Sports compares Van Noy to our very own Chad Greenway, saying, "Van Noy plays with similar instincts and efficiency, however, making plays behind the line of scrimmage as well as dropping back into coverage with impressive consistency. He isn't flashy or physically dominant, but ranks among the safer prospects in the 2014 draft.
With the 44th pick in the NFL Draft... the Minnesota Vikings select Gabe Jackson, Guard from Mississippi State!
The massive 6'3" 336 lb. Jackson comes in and takes a starting guard spot from Johnson without a fight (in the same manner that Johnson tends to block). CBS Sports says of Jackson, "(He) possesses the power to dominate opponents physically, while displaying quickness and fluidity to wall off the interior pass rush, and exhibits the burst and awareness to get down field and block for the run."
Because I decided to trade our #72 pick to STL, we now wait until #96 before the Vikings are back on the clock. The card has been received. The announcement is made.
With the 96th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft... the Minnesota Vikings select Keith McGill, CB from Utah!
McGill, the second-biggest CB in the draft (only 7 lbs. smaller than Stanley Jean-Baptiste of Nebraska) at 6'3" 211 lbs., has the tools to give Mike Zimmer a pair of nice CB's in Minnesota. This could open the door to sending extra bodies towards opposing QB's... I think it's called "blitzing"? I'm not too familiar with the term though (thanks a lot, Tampa 2).
Just eight picks later we are back on the clock...
With the 104th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft... the Minnesota Vikings select Daniel McCullers, DT from the University of Tennessee!
I will be honest... I don't like McCullers a lot, but he's about the only true nose tackle left on the board at this point (which is why I think we fight for Raji, Joseph, or even Pat Sims in free agency... hard). He got pushed around constantly at the Senior Bowl and proves that just because you have a big body doesn't mean you are automatically "Phat Pat" Williams or Vince Wilfork overnight. I'm hoping Zimmer turns this guy around and gives him a mean streak.
After #104 we weren't scheduled to pick again until #136, but I fancy a player on the board that will be gone by then... so I struck a deal with the New Orleans Saints (who only had SIX draft picks coming into the draft).
The Minnesota Vikings have traded the rights to the 136th and 172nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft draft in exchange for the Saints 122nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Now at #122, we are back on the clock...
With the 122nd pick in the NFL Draft... the Minnesota Vikings select Craig Loston, S from LSU!
At 5'11" and 217 lbs. this kid is a tank! He is known for being fearless and punishes those coming across the middle on him, which I love! Let Loston come in and be our enforcer while (Harrison) Smith finds the ball in the air.
The knock on Loston is he is sometimes "too aggressive" in hitting and doesn't wrap up, but Zimmer will fix that issue. Once he gets in that habit he is a steal at this point in the draft.
Finally, our final two picks (who I'll skip the big introductions for):
168th: Brent Urban, DE from Virginia.
200th: Aaron Lynch, DE from South Florida.
It is pretty simple with both of these guys- they have incredible frames and athletic upside but need some coaching up (especially Lynch). These guys possess enough athleticism that they could both be in the DE rotation out of the gate, hopefully playing behind Robison and either a re-signed Griffen or a big FA acquisition.
Tonight we grabbed a first-round QB who seems to fit seamlessly into Norv Turner's system, an OG to move Johnson back to the bench, and we drafted a total of SIX defensive players: including a LB, CB, DT, SS and 2 DE's.
We've given Norv his QB and Zimmer plenty of young talent to work his magic with. Sounds like a good start to me... what do you think?