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Vikings 2016 Draft: Consensus Rankings v1.0

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The Daily Norseman calculates the average big board rankings of college prospects at the Vikings biggest areas of need.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The NFL Combine begins today!  And therefore, it's time to present the first version of the 2016 Consensus Draft Rankings.  This has become something of a yearly tradition for me here at the Daily Norseman, and putting it together is part of my overall process to better understand each year's draft prospects.  If you're new to the Consensus Rankings, then allow me to explain what it is.  In a nutshell, I have averaged together positional and overall rankings of draft prospects from seven big board sources on the web: NFL.com, ESPN, CBS Sports, Walter Football (now part of Fox Sports ENGAGE), Drafttek, Draft Countdown, and Scout.com.  Eventually other sources like SB Nation and National Football Post will be added when they finally publish a big board.

The first task was to identify the team's biggest areas of need.  We've been dissecting that topic a lot over the last month and a half here at the Daily Norseman, and I've narrowed the list down to four positions to focus on (in no particular order): offensive tackle, offensive guard, wide receiver and safety.  Obviously these needs may change after the free agency period, but for now those seem to be the biggest needs of the team, at least to me.

So, to be included in the positional rankings, a draft prospect simply had to appear in the top 5 of a source's rankings for that position.  So think of each list as an average ranking which includes players that were ranked in the top 5 at their position in at least one of the seven sources I consulted.  One thing to keep in mind about these rankings is that they are all done primarily based on film.  The combine, pro days and individual interviews have not taken place yet, and players will move up and down all of these rankings as the pre-draft process continues to play out.  But every year version 1.0 of the Consensus Big Board tends to hold a lot of value, because these rankings are all done before the "silly season" has gotten under-way.  In any case, I've decided to start with the wide receiver group.

Consensus Wide Receiver Rankings

Name

School

Average Position Rank

Standard Deviation Position

Average Overall Rank

Standard Deviation Overall

1. Treadwell, Laquon

Mississippi

1.4

1.0

16.1

10.2

2. Coleman, Corey

Baylor

2.7

0.7

30.0

7.8

3. Doctson, Josh

TCU

3.7

1.6

37.7

11.4

4. Fuller, Will

Notre Dame

3.9

1.8

36.1

8.9

5. Thomas, Michael

Ohio State

4.0

1.6

41.0

14.0

6. Boyd, Tyler

Pittsburgh

5.8

0.9

52.8

8.4

7. Miller, Braxton

Ohio State

6.3

2.3

55.2

19.1

8. Peake, Charone

Clemson

25.4

13.5

201.8

106.5

This is a pretty short-list of names, but what stands out to me is that only two wide receivers are ranked as a top 32 pick: Laquon Treadwell and Corey Coleman.  There have been two names discussed a lot around here: Josh Doctson and Michael Thomas, but neither player would have much value for the Vikings in the 1st round at pick #23.  In fact, based on the overall average rank, there really isn't a receiver that has great value for the Vikings with the 23rd pick, unless Laquon Treadwell falls to us.  And speaking of Michael Thomas, he has the highest standard deviation in the positional rankings, meaning that there is the least amount of consensus among his sources.  One source ranked him as the #1 wide receiver on the board (Walter Football), while another has him as the #74 receiver (ESPN).  Most have him as the #4-6 ranked receiver, but again there is high variability there.  Charone Peak is another interesting name.  He appears on the list above, because NFL.com has him as their #5 graded wide receiver.  But his next highest ranking is as the 19th receiver by Draft Countdown, so his inclusion on the list might be suspect.

If we wanted to wait until the second round there are a couple of names that could be waiting for the Vikings at pick #54: Tyler Boyd and Braxton Miller.  Both would be intriguing names to consider and would represent excellent value.  Or, if a player like Josh Doctson or Michael Thomas fell to pick #54, it would be a no-brainer to snag either of them for immense value.

UPDATE (2/23/16 5:30pm CST): Michael Thomas of Pittsburgh does not seem to be included in any ESPN rankings right now, and I mistakenly included Michael Thomas of Southern Mississippi in his place.  After removing the ESPN numbers from the equation, the resulting consensus moves Michael Thomas up the rankings quite a bit.  But he is still probably in the "dead zone" of value between the Vikings 1st and 2nd round picks (making him either a reach in the 1st round, or an unlikely fall candidate in the 2nd).

Consensus Offensive Tackle Rankings

Name

School

Average Position Rank

Standard Deviation Position

Average Overall Rank

Standard Deviation Overall

1. Tunsil, Laremy

Mississippi

1.0

0.0

1.6

0.7

2. Stanley, Ronnie

Notre Dame

2.0

0.0

7.9

3.4

3. Conklin, Jack

Michigan State

3.4

0.5

25.1

7.8

4. Decker, Taylor

Ohio State

3.9

1.0

27.9

13.2

5. Coleman, Shon

Auburn

6.1

1.4

45.0

7.0

6. Spriggs, Jason

Indiana

6.2

1.1

59.7

23.1

7. Ifedi, Germain

Texas A&M

6.4

1.0

50.2

6.6

8. Clark, Le'Raven

Texas Tech

9.2

3.6

91.4

40.1

There are a lot of questions about the offensive tackle position for the Vikings.  Will we keep Matt Kalil?  Will Phil Loadholt recover from his injury and return to form?  Can T.J. Clemmings be an adequate backup/replacement for either of those players?  Rather than play the "wait and see" game, the Vikings might be looking to fix this position in the draft.  There are two names on the list that could be realistic options for the Vikings in the 1st round: Jack Conklin and Taylor Decker.  Both represent low-end,  1st round value, although both are ranked slightly below the 23rd selection for the Vikings.  Still, Conklin is the higher ranked player with the lower standard deviation (meaning greater consensus) and could be a viable draft target for the Vikings.  The Vikings could also wait until the second round for a player like Jason Spriggs or maybe Ifedi Germain too.  There are multiple options for the Vikings and it will depend on what kind of player they want to get.  Sadly, Laremy Tunsil, the Consensus #1 overall player will likely not be there for the Vikings at pick #23, barring an epic free-fall/trade-up scenario.  If there was a true plug-and-play, blue-chip prospect at the OT position in this draft, Tunsil (and maybe Ronnie Stanley) is it.

Consensus Offensive Guard Rankings

Name and Position

School

Average Position Rank

Standard Deviation Position

Average  Overall Rank

Standard Deviation Overall

Whitehair, Cody

Kansas State

1.6

1.0

38.2

14.4

Ifedi, Germain OT/OG

Texas A&M

2.7

1.5

50.2

6.6

Alexandar, Vadal

LSU

4.0

2.8

76.0

29.6

Garnett, Joshua

Stanford

4.2

2.3

70.2

18.6

Martin, Nick OG/C

Notre Dame

4.4

1.9

74.4

13.9

Tretola, Sebastian

Arkansas

7.5

3.7

105.3

32.5

Turner, Landon

North Carolina

7.7

4.9

72.8

16.0

Westerman, Christian

Arizona State

7.8

3.4

103.6

25.8

Kirkland, Denver OT/OG

Arkansas

11.8

6.1

182.0

56.1

Odhiambo, Rees

Boise State

12.0

6.9

131.3

49.6

Unfortunately there is not a 1st round talent at guard in this draft, unless the team is considering converting a tackle on the previous list.  But as far as pure guard talent goes, this is a pretty weak draft.  The team would have to select someone expecting them to sit a year or two and develop.  With Brandon Fusco and Mike Harris as starters, this would make drafting a mid-round guard a smart strategy.  There are numerous 3rd and 4th round talents on the list above the Vikings could select.

Consensus Safety Rankings

Name and Position

School

Average Position Rank

Standard Deviation Position

Average Overall Rank

Standard Deviation Overall

Ramsey, Jalen S/CB

Florida State

1.0

0.0

5.7

4.3

Cravens, Su'a S/OLB

USC

3.7

1.3

43.6

7.9

Cash, Jeremy

Duke

4.9

1.9

56.5

13.6

Thompson, Darian

Boise State

5.0

3.2

56.8

31.0

Vonn, Bell

Ohio State

5.2

2.1

53.6

20.0

Neal, Keanu

Florida

5.8

3.0

66.8

34.5

Joseph, Karl

West Virginia

6.5

2.4

70.8

23.8

Killebrew, Miles

Southern Utah

8.2

2.4

75.6

16.5

Mills, Jalen S/CB

LSU

9.0

3.8

79.4

35.0

Lomax, Jordan

Iowa

19.0

8.5

197.3

91.1

Like the guard position, this is a pretty weak draft class for safeties.  There is Jalen Ramsey (who could play cornerback or safety) and then everyone else.  And Ramsey will more than likely be gone by pick #23, regardless of which position he ends up playing.  That said, there are several interesting prospects that should be available in the second round including Vonn Bell, Jeremy Cash and Darian Thompson.  The Vikings could also wait until the 3rd round and hope one of these guys falls to pick #84: Karl Joseph or Miles Killebrew.  Even Jalen Mills is an option too.

The following is the overall consensus ranking which I took all the way out to the 23rd ranked player on each source.  In other words, every player on this list was ranked 23rd or higher on at least one source I consulted.

Overall Consensus Ranking

Name

School

Avg Overall

SD Overall

1. Tunsil, Laremy OT

Mississippi

1.6

0.7

2. Bosa, Joey DE

Ohio State

3.1

2.5

3. Buckner, DeForest DE

Oregon

5.0

1.9

4. Ramsey, Jalen CB

Florida State

5.3

4.0

5. Jack, Myles OLB

UCLA

5.4

3.1

6. Stanley, Ronnie OT

Notre Dame

7.9

3.4

7. Goff, Jared QB

California

8.4

3.6

8. Elliot, Ezekiel RB

Ohio State

9.6

4.1

9. Hargreaves, Vernon CB

Florida

9.6

4.4

10. Robinson, A'Shawn DT

Alabama

10.9

3.6

11. Smith, Jaylon ILB/OLB

Notre Dame

11.6

6.0

12. Wentz, Carson QB

North Dakota State

12.7

5.6

13. Ragland, Reggie ILB

Alabama

14.4

3.8

14. Treadwell, Laquon WR

Mississippi

16.1

10.2

15. Nkemdiche, Robert DT

Mississippi

18.0

3.7

16. Lynch, Paxton QB

Memphis

18.1

7.8

17. Alexander, Mckensie CB

Clemson

18.5

5.7

18. Lawson, Shaq DE

Clemson

20.9

7.1

19. Billings, Andrew NT

Baylor

22.4

5.5

20. Reed, Jarran DT

Alabama

23.4

4.2

21. Floyd, Leonard OLB

Georgia

25.0

11.7

22. Conklin, Jack OT

Michigan State

25.1

7.8

23. Ogbah, Emmanuel DE

Oklahoma State

25.4

8.6

24. Lee, Darron OLB

Ohio State

26.2

7.4

25. Spence, Noah DE

Eastern Kentucky

26.9

7.2

26. Decker, Taylor OT

Ohio State

27.9

13.2

27. Dodd, Kevin DE

Clemson

28.3

7.1

28. Rankins, Sheldon DT

Louisville

29.6

14.2

29. Coleman, Corey WR

Baylor

30.0

7.8

30. Apple, Eli CB

Ohio State

33.0

18.4

31. Henry, Derrick RB

Alabama

35.0

8.7

32. Johnson, Austin DT

Penn State

36.4

8.3

33. Henry, Hunter TE

Arkansas

36.9

17.6

34. Fuller, Will WR

Notre Dame

36.9

8.5

35. Docston, Josh WR

TCU

37.7

11.4

36. Whitehair, Cody OG

Kansas State

38.2

14.4

37. Butler, Vernon DT

Louisiana Tech

40.3

18.6

38. Thomas, Michael WR

Ohio State

41.0

14.1

39. Fuller, Kendall CB

Virginia Tech

44.0

19.7

40. Washington, Adolphus DT

Ohio State

49.0

22.4

41. Bell, Vonn S

Ohio State

53.6

20.0

42. Thompson, Darian S

Boise State

56.8

31.0

43. Redmond, Will CB

Mississippi State

68.0

29.7

There are a massive 43 names on the list above that could be in play for the Vikings at pick #23, depending on how their own big board is constructed and the rest of the draft falls.  Never-the-less, if every team in the NFL used this Overall Consensus Big Board and didn't trade any of their picks, then that would leave the Vikings with DE Emmanuel Ogbah from Oklahoma State at pick #23.  He isn't a name too many of us have been considering with the 23rd selection, but here is what Dane Brugler over at CBS Sports has to say about him:

STRENGTHS: Already has the look of an NFL player with a well-proportioned build and the grown-man strength to bully blockers off the edge. A disruptive presence whether lining up on the right or left side, sporting an exciting combination of speed, length and power. A power defender who plays a physical brand of football, but also looks comfortable in space when asked to drop and cover.

WEAKNESSES: Still learning the nuances of the position. While highly thought of in the scouting community, Ogbah is battling the history of high-round picks from Oklahoma State who have failed to live up to expectations in the NFL.

COMPARES TO: Vinny Curry, Philadelphia Eagles - Ogbah is a balanced athlete with the physicality and coachable mentality that can be molded in the NFL, similar to Curry when he entered the league.

IN OUR VIEW: Ogbah is still learning the complexities of the position and lacks elite explosiveness, but he's a balanced athlete for his size and never shuts it down, exhibiting the effort needed to collapse the pocket. He will be a favorite in the building due to his work ethic and make-up.

I'm still in the process of learning about various draft prospects, but here is a very quick "Mini-Mock Draft" that uses the consensus rankings above to try to find value at positions of need.

Round 1, Pick #23: OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
Round 2, Pick #54: WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
Round 3, Pick #86: S/CB Jalen Mills, LSU
Round 4, Pick #118: OG Rees Odhiambo, Boise State

Sometime after the combine and free agency, I'll update this consensus ranking, tweaking it to address updated team needs and such.  Then I'll probably do one last update right before the draft.  But in the meantime, feel free to use this to help construct and build your own mock drafts!