The NFL Draft is funny. Every year, we go through mock draft after mock draft, and we talk ourselves into the draft unfolding a certain way, give or take a pick here and there.
And then the real thing starts, and craziness ensues.
The first round of the 2016 NFL Selection Meeting was no different, and as soon as Jared Goff and Carson Wentz went off the board, it was a wild first round. For the Minnesota Vikings, the first round unfolded about as well as could be expected, if you assume wide receiver was the position they were targeting all along. Especially when Leremy Tunsil started falling.
All the weirdness about Leremy Tunsil aside...and make no mistake...that is a really weird, borderline unbeliveably bizarre story...the first time I really thought the Vikings had a legitimate shot at either Laquon Treadwell or Josh Doctson was thanks to Cleveland.
Why? Because the Browns, picking 15th, took Corey Coleman, a guy I had ranked behind Treadwell, Doctson, Michael Thomas, and Will Fuller. Oh, Cleveland, you just keep that freak flag flying, and you keep being you. I had just assumed they would go either Treadwell or Doctson, making the Vikings pick sketchy for a WR. But never assume Cleveland will do the smart thing, because this is the same franchise that drafted Johnny Manziel because a homeless guy told them to.
My huge worry was that Minnesota was targeting Notre Dame WR Will Fuller, which was the one wide receiver I didn't really care for. When Houston traded up for him, there seemed to be some truth to that rumor, and when they took him off the board, I kind of felt the Vikings had now done two things regarding the Txans:
1) They screwed the Texans out of Teddy Bridgewater in 2014, with that trade back in to the first round with Seattle.
2) Screwed the Texans in to Will Fuller. I want to believe the Vikings put out rumors they wanted Fuller, knowing they would take Treadwell all along, hoping their subterfuge would cause a team to jump. No, I have no idea if that's true. That's just my typical 'my GM is smarter than your GM' fantasy that I choose to believe is true.
Still, when the Vikings went on the clock, taking a receiver was no given. Josh Doctson was gone, but there was another big time player out there. And he was arguably the best player in the draft, UCLA LB Myles Jack. Apparently, Jack's knee is more troublesome than was originally thought. A consensus top five pick heading in to Friday, 'Myles Jack' apparently translates to 'Chernobyl', as he is still on the board at the end of round one. He seemed like a real possibility for the Vikings, but Minnesota passed and went with Laquon Treadwell.
But let's get back to the guy the Vikings did, in fact, pick. You know my OSU partiality here, so when I tell you I like Treadwell over Michael Thomas, you know I'm not kidding. I had my WR rankings as Treadwell, a pick 'em between Josh Doctson and Thomas, and then pretty much everyone else.
Once again, the Vikings seemed to benefit from a poor pro day from what was considered to be the top player at a position group, and his knock was his slow 40 yard dash...probably due to skinny knees.*
*Not due to skinny knees
Either way, after his pro day the word on the street was that Treadwell was so slow he could be covered by a slug coated in molasses, and a top 10 pick started slipping.
And slipping. Right into the Vikings lap, and now Teddy Bridgewater has a legitimate wide receiving corps. I loved the fact that the Vikings let the board play out, and didn't make a panicky trade up to get someone. They stayed where they were, and their patience was rewarded with a guy that can immediately come in and help the Vikings offense.
Grade: Overall, I love the pick. Treadwell gives the Vikings talent at a position of desperate need, and I think his game fits the Vikings offense better than any of the other receivers available. He's a good route runner, goes after the ball on a contested catch, and will complement Stefon Diggs' speed on the outside with a Cris Carter moves the chains-type ability on the other side. Grade: A.
What I want to see for rounds 2-3: Myles Jack is one heck of an enticing prospect still on the board. Depending on what the team really think of his knee, I would love a trade up high into the second round to go get him. If the Vikings pass on Jack though, I can still see a trade up for say a Vonn Bell, Ohio State safety. Why? Because Karl Joseph (14-Raiders) and Keanu Neal (17-Falcons) were two safeties that went off the board in the first round, and safety is still a pretty big need that should be addressed.
But Myles Jack Though...if he can get healthy, along with Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. That's almost unfair.