ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr put out another mock draft today, this one a two round version. Since it's behind a paywall, I can't give you the whole thing, but I can tell you he picked Blake Bortles to the Vikings at number eight. For the record, he had Khalil Mack and Johnny Manziel off the board, but Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr were available. Says Kiper:
The combination of Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder will provide a bridge to Bortles, a player I believe would benefit from not starting early as he develops a familiarity with an offense that requires more downfield reads. I don't have Bortles rated as high as I do Bridgewater, but again, this is a projection of where players will be chosen, not my prospect rankings. What I will say is that I do believe Bortles has a high ceiling because he's a pretty special athlete with some really good instincts for the position; his pocket movement in particular is really impressive. When you consider his development trajectory, there's a lot to be excited about.
Okay, this just doesn't pass the smell test for me. Here's my thinking: If Bridgewater is the better quarterback, you draft him. I agree with Kiper in that Cassel and Ponder give the Vikings short term flexibility at the position, and regardless of who you draft, they won't have to step in and play right away.
Kiper's argument, I guess, is that Bortles isn't as good right now, but could be better than Bridgewater some day. Well, okay, but why pick a guy you think might someday be better than another guy who is also available? Take the better player and don't look back. Just for the record, Kiper has Manziel, Bortles, and Carr going in the first round. Teddy Bridgewater is the first pick off the board in the second round.
Speaking of the second round, since he did a two round mock, he projects BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy to Minnesota with the 40th pick. Says Kiper:
One of my favorite players in the draft, the instinctive and explosive linebacker goes to a team that needs to add at least one in the draft.
Can't disagree with any of that. I would prefer Wisconsin's Chris Borland here, but he is off of Kiper's board by this point. That said, the Vikings still really need linebacker help, and with the way he projects the draft, Van Noy is without question the best guy available here.
So, Blake Bortles (Bridgewater/Carr available) and Kyle Van Noy. Yay or nay?