I know CC is planning on doing a summary of our picks at some point, but I hate waiting for a summary, so I thought I would write one on my own! I write this report mostly for those people who don't know as much about the players we took after Teddy Bridgewater, because let me tell you, before I wrote this I had no clue how Kyle Van Noy, Cyril Richardson, or Jaylen Watkins would fit into our system, much less what their skills were.This thing is damn long, so if you manage to make it all the way through, congrats to you. Here we go!
8. Teddy Bridgewater
The Vikings nearly didn't have this pick, as Mark, using his mocking Force powers, attempted to sell the DN on a trade out of the 8th pick with a bevy of picks from the Rams, including their 1.13, 3.11, 7.11, and a 2015 4th round draft pick. It was a close decision between those voting, but Mark eventually pulled the trade out of consideration, and to keep the Texans from drafting Bridgewater at pick 9 (trade w/Bills), we at the DN selected Mr. Teddy Bridgewater with the 8th overall pick.
While Bridgewater has been dropping like a stone in many mockers circles, I still fully believe that if he is available to the Vikings at #8, they better damn well take him as the best QB in the draft. Sure, his hands are a little small, and he hasn't played much in colder temperatures but by God if Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner can't make both of those a non-issue, then I don't know if the Vikings will ever win a Super Bowl. Teddy Bridgewater is not only the most accurate QB to come out of this draft, but he is also a commanding field general and reads defenses like a pro. Not only that, but he has made some plays that Johnny Scramblin' Manziel would be proud of! So I think this is a wonderful pick for the Vikings, and if they do nothing else on Thursday, just picking Teddy would make that day a win for the Vikings.
40. Kyle Van Noy, OLB
No trades were proposed to the Vikings, and Kyle Van Noy was taken with relative little fuss. He was a near-unanimous pick for the Vikings at #40, and multiple voters expressed surprise that Van Noy managed to drop this far in the draft (though I honestly believe he could drop this far for the Vikings again on Friday).
I have to admit, I didn't know much about Kyle Van Noy, so I went to the experts for some info. I'll do my best to summarize their points, and will link to them at the end of the summary.
- Good pass-rushing ability. He is a constant source of pass pressure, and has an extremely effective spin move that he uses on inside rushes while also being effective on stunts and twists. When rushing, he often goes for the QB's arm to cause fumbles if he can't quite reach the QB in time. He never gives up on a play and keeps working towards the QB.
- He is very good at knifing through gaps to make tackles in the backfield, is quick off the ball, and flows well into the backfield.
- He bats down passes extraordinarily well with a knack for getting game-changing INT's.
- He has above average coverage skills, and is able to cover running backs, tight ends and the vertical routes they are often asked to run, and shallow WR routs.
- He is extremely "football smart." He is an instinctive linebacker who has excellent reaction and play-recognition skills.
- He has a steady motor. He provides effort in pursuit of the ball carrier. He produces a lot of splash plays with his effort and closes quickly on the ball carrier with a deceptive level of closing speed.
- Van Noy could stand to improve his run defense abilities. He needs to improve his upper-body strength as well as his ability to shed blocks. His run defense relies on him beating the blockers to the hole.
- He needs a larger set of pass-rushing moves, as he relies too often on a simple bull rush when rushing in off the edge.
- He is not an elite athlete. He has good, but not elite speed. He has limited explosiveness, ability to change directions cleanly in space or ability to change speeds. This lack of elite athletic ability brings some to question what system he might fit in best.
- Wasn't as disruptive as a senior as he was as a junior, mostly because opponents were game-planning against him.
All in all, I say he is a good pick for the Vikings at the 40th overall pick, and he would slot in well as the Vikings Will linebacker (assuming that's how Zimmer would utilize him). An interesting thing from the BR article that I looked at was that the NFL player that Van Noy most closely matched up with in their opinion was Chad Greenway! So that should be an interesting tidbit, and who knows, maybe if Van Noy is a Viking by the end of the draft, we could have drafted Greenway's heir apparent!
72. Cyril Richardson, G
This pick generated a fair bit more discussion as well as negative emotions when it was announced. I was all for Richardson being our selection, but it had to do more with hearing a fair bit about him in mocks and for him in my mind being the best available guard at that point over knowing all about him (though someone can feel free to correct me if that isn't the case). And I will now do the same thing for Richardson that I did for Van Noy.
- He is one big-ass motherf**ker. He has legitimate NFL strength (he can bench 660), and carries his weight well for being in the 330-340 pound range using his light feet to pull, seal and get to the second level to spring big rungs. He is capable of swallowing up smaller blockers and pancaking them to the ground (had nearly 100 pancake blocks in 2013).
- Conditioned in an up-tempo, no-huddle offense
- He is dependable in pass protection. When playing with an aggressive nature, he can easily control pass-rushers and take them out of play. He anchors well against bull rushers and sustains his blocks with strong hands. He has shown great instincts in picking up stunts and twists inside from opposing defensive ends and his eyes moves him from one defender to another as he sees rushers.
- Generates movement in the run game to say the least. He has enough balance, coordination and foot speed to pull and trap effectively. He has a terrifying amount of power in short-yardage situations. He is well-suited for a man-blocking, power-run style of offense, which I believe is the style used by NORV in the Air Coryell.
- He is extremely durable and was a three-year starter at Baylor. He has no known off the field issues, and is experienced in one of the most up-tempo offenses in the nation.
- He is somewhat lazy with his technique. Analyzers would like him to develop a mean streak and "add more glass to his diet." He lacks a killer instinct. He has some underachiever traits in his technique, and he has a questionable passion and motivation for the game.
- Has a fair amount of trouble with speed rushers (understandable with his size). Struggles against defensive linemen with reach, bend and flexibility while mauling a lower class of competition. While at the Senior Bowl, he was beat consistently by Da'Quan Jones and Aaron Donald. He has clear trouble when faced with NFL-quality, refined pass-rushing interior penetrators.
- Lacks high-level agility and doesn't maintain a solid base through plays. Losing weight would likely help him gain some additional agility while hopefully not sacrificing too much power. He is best against linemen; quicker linebackers give him a lot of trouble.
- Needs to work on blocking all the way through the play. He struggles to move laterally and can get top-heavy, resulting in him getting out of position when he gets caught reaching for his block.
- Very disappointing numbers at the Combine. Tied for the ninth-slowest 40-yard dash and 10th-slowest short shuttle among offensive linemen at the NFL combine; Put up a very disappointing25 bench repsin Indianapolis after reportedly managing 32 previously.
Most of his cons look like things a good line coach in the NFL can fix. Obviously losing some weight should help to improve his agility and speed off the snap. His footwork could use some work. Honestly, I think the Vikings are a perfect fit for a guy like Richardson because Zimmer won't accept anything less than 100%, and I think Cyril Richardson needs that in a coach to succeed in the NFL. And his road-grader style of play is perfect for the power running system that Norv Turner likely will be running with the Vikings. Though a report said he would be best at RG, I would hope that his selection would more or less mean the end of Charlie Johnson starting for the Vikings. This is another solid choice for the Vikings in this mock draft.
96. Jaylen Watkins, CB
At this point, a lot of fans had packed up and left for bed (understandable), but this pick was another one where there was a lot of discussion about who would be the best pick for the Vikings. CC ended up selecting Jaylen Watkins, a cornerback out of Florida as the Vikings last pick of the mock draft. This is definitely a need pick, but certainly not all that bad of a pick (though a few people disagreed with it when it was announced). Here's the analysis of the Vikings 2014 Mocking the Draft final player.
- Versatile defensive back with starting experience at both cornerback (outside and in the slot) and safety, and experienced in both man and zone coverage. He has the potential, size, speed and technique for playing press/man coverage at the next level. Versatile experience with 28 career starts (22 at CB, 6 at S).
- 27 passes defended during his college career. Has the ball skills and body control to be an impact player at the next level. Stays attached to the hips of receivers then using timing and head movement to break on the ball. Watkins reads the quarterback's eyes exceptionally well.
- Solid run defender, no matter whether or not it was on the perimeter at cornerback or flying into the box from safety. Can fight off blocks from receivers with above-average upper body strength. Good pursuit speed and on-field motor.
- Team player and is willing to do anything to get better and do what is necessary for the team.
- Needs to refine tackling ability. He is too willing to just throw a shoulder into the ball carrier rather than breaking down and wrapping up. He is not a physical tackler.
- Could use work on his ball skills. While he did come away with a fair number of passes defended, he needs to come away with more interceptions when he gets his hands on the ball. His instincts in coverage have improved over the years, but there is still room for him to develop as he could jump even more routes than he already does and is often a step late when mirroring off the ball. He also didn't come away with any turnovers as a safety, so he should probably stick with being a cornerback for now.
- Needs to add weight to his frame to keep from being outmuscled by more physical wide receivers, but his frame may not be able to handle too much more weight. His size also limits how well he can shed blocks against larger WRs, an issue in the NFC Central where four or five of the best WR's in the game reside. He also has somewhat short arms for a cornerback.
- Needs to cut down on his physicality. He is known for being too aggressive when the ball is in the air.
- Minor durability concerns, but no major injuries to worry about.
- Was never able to separate himself as a top CB at Florida, due mostly to the fact that he was moving back and forth between safety and cornerback. He also does not have much experience on special teams, which, as a rookie, will likely be his starting spot if the Vikings choose him.
Watkins could use some work, but he is definitely a cornerback that Zimmer could mold to his liking. He has a solid foundation; he just needs a fine coach to get him to realize his full potential. I could see the Vikings picking him, as he is the kind of team player willing to improve himself that Zimmer is looking for with this team. I think this is a solid draft for the Vikings, and if they can make some version of this happen on Thursday and Friday, we should be VERY happy with the direction of this football team.
So that's my analysis! Yes, it's Arif-length, but I wanted to put my thoughts on these picks out there for people to read and know more about. Hope to hear from readers! SKOL VIKINGS!