So with Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and a bevvy of other popular picks still on the board, the Minnesota Vikings selected Anthony Barr with the 9th overall pick.
Raise your hand if you saw that one coming. PUT YOUR HAND DOWN, YOU LIAR.
Vikings GM Rick Spielman said in yesterday's press conference that we were "missing some names on the mock drafts", and boy was he right. The Barr pick was definitely a shock to most Vikings fans, and not a good surprise for many of them.
But before you get your pitchforks out, perhaps you'd like to listen to Spielman's reasoning behind choosing the UCLA linebacker in the top 10? There were questions about how Barr would fit in the Vikings defense, but Spielman sounded fairly confident about where he'll play. He explained he anticipated Barr to be a 3-down Sam Linebacker that can rush the passer on the edge and be a mismatch against running backs in the run blitz. It doesn't sound like he'll be in the rotation at defensive end, but could still rush the passer often in passing situations on third down.
The Vikings fell in love with Barr's athleticism and character according to Spielman. He acknowledged that Barr has a few technical things to work on but was very confident that Head Coach Mike Zimmer could coach him up.
The question on nearly every Vikings fan's mind was asked early in the press conference: why not pick a quarterback here? Spielman explained that there was enough depth in the draft to get a quarterback at a later point. The Vikings wanted an "impact player" on the defensive side of the ball and believes that Barr fits that role.
Barr's size was a concern for some draft scouts, but not for Spielman. "He's big enough right now," Spielman explained. The Vikings did get offers to move down further in Round 1, but apparently Barr was their guy and they didn't want to miss out on picking him. Spielman said "he was pretty coveted...you can't coach what he has."
Of course Rick Spielman has a reputation of trading back into the first round, which he was asked about. "You never know," he coyly replied. Stay tuned, folks.