Dan Kadar over at the mothership released the newest SB Nation mock draft a little while ago, and it's the most common sense mock draft we've seen in awhile. With all the talk in recent days of a quarterback free fall, mock drafts have been assembled accordingly, predicting things that I don't see as realistic, like only one QB going in the first round, and not until the 20's.
I'll re-iterate what I said when we talked about Todd McShay's mock from a few days ago: No matter what people are saying about prospects, I just don't see a mega-QB slide. One guy might slide, but not all three, and not out of the first round. Quarterback is too important a position to pass on if you think there's even a chance one of these guys can pan out, and the most recent mock reflects that.
So, who does Dan like for Minnesota? I'll let him explain:
8. Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Minnesota has one of the poorest quarterback situations in the NFL. If Bortles is there with the eighth pick -- and he may not be -- he should be the choice for the Vikings. No other position will make as much of an impact on the franchise.
This is the same pick McShay had to the Vikings, and Bortles seems to be a NORV! Turner-type guy. The reason I can live with a Bortles pick in this mock more so than McShay's is that it doesn't go off the rails with regards to quarterbacks. To set the board for this pick, Johnny Manziel is gone to Oakland at five, and Khalil Mack is also off the board. Teddy Bridgewater is still around, and Dan doesn't predict him geting drafted until Arizona with the 20th pick, so if there's a choice to be made between the two, you could probably make an argument for Bridgewater here as well.
Bortles could very well be the best QB in the draft, so him falling to eight seems a bit of a stretch, which I said in the McShay post. But that said, is it realistic to see Johnny Manziel (or Teddy Bridgewater, for that matter) get picked before Bortles? Yeah, I think it definitely is.
Either way, when you look at the first seven picks (Clowney, Robinson, Mack, Watkins, Manziel, Matthews, Evans), they all make a lot of sense for each team. I think one of Jacksonville, Oakland or Tampa Bay will go quarterback, and if that happens we could very well see some movement up in the draft by the Vikings.
Or, it will limit their choices of quarterbacks available at eight. It's really starting to feel that Teddy Bridgewater's slip and slide is real, which makes the extra long period of time the Vikings spent with him on his official visit that much more intriguing.
Regardless, the feeling is that the top defensive guys, Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack, are better bets really high up than any of the quarterbacks. And a top left tackle is almost considered a sure thing these days, so Jake Matthews and Grweg Robinson will probably be gone, too (or throw Taylor Lewan in there as well). So that's four picks that probably come off the board before a quarterback, and that helps the Vikings, at least if you think they really need to get a quarterback at eight..
One of the Big Three will go before Minnesota picks, if not two. Still, it feels more and more like the Vikings will have a top QB prospect available to them when they pick.