Starting with the first pick, the Vikings selected one of the best (if not the best) receivers in the draft in Laquon Treadwell. Truth be told I wanted them to take Myles Jack because he was the actual best player on most boards regardless of the concerns about his knee. He is just too dynamic of a player to let go by. When reviewing this draft I will always wonder if Spielman had an offer from another team for the #23 pick getting back a late first and third. Obviously, they then still could have had Jack. But alas, it was not meant to be. I will say I would have been OK with trading a future 1st plus whatever to try and get Jack after taking Treadwell.
But Treadwell was the pick and the analysis on him has past the paralysis point so there is no need to go into that arena. I will say something that I have always thought about 40 times since I have been following the draft. I think timing players without their helmets and shoulder pads (since that is all they basically wear) does not really tell how fast a player is on the football field. Some of these players who are faster probably slow down more than Treadwell IMHO. As big and strong as Treadwell is, and after reviewing the tape (I don't have access to tape but it does make me seem like I know what I am talking about when I type that no?), Treadwell does look fast enough.
So why did the Vikings take him instead of Jack? I think there are several factors with the need at WR being higher than LB being most prominent. But I am not a fan of this drafting strategy because the Vikings would probably have never drafted Randy Moss or Adrian Peterson if they believed in this totally.
I think you have to look at upcoming free agents as well and contract situations. Next year, you have Cordarelle Patterson, Charles Johnson, and Adam Thielen all free agents. I have very little confidence that CP84 would want to sign an extension here after next season. I do believe he is going to do his best next year since it is a contract season. But I think he is going to test free agency to see if he may be able to get more snaps elsewhere. I have no idea about Johnson and Thielen.
Jack would have been a luxury pick for certain considering the linebackers already on the roster, the fact that the team will probably be in the nickel over half the time (although Jack surely would have been on the field), and the situation with Jack's knee.
The Treadwell pick gets a very solid A.
In round 2, they come up with the #54 pick. According to Arif's big board which I like the best player available was Mackensie Alexander.
Other players available were Andrew Billings, Cody Whitehair, Tyler Boyd, Vonn Bell, Connor Cook, Kendall Fuller, Shilique Calhoun, Braxton Miller, & Darian Thompson to name a few.
I think the best argument could be made for Whitehair who many scouts believe will kick inside in the NFL and could even possibly play center or Billings who is only 20 years old but a player that many feel cannot be on the field on passing downs (yet). If you want to make an argument then the best one would be for Whitehair unless the Vikings took Jack with the first pick then you could argue Boyd very reasonably.
But Mackensie Alexander was the pick. There is nothing to argue here when you consider that Terence Newman is probably in his last year and Munnerlyn will be a free agent that could be a little pricier than the Vikings want to consider. Also, Rhodes needs a new deal too.
In the prism of upcoming contract, not much proven depth behind the top 3, and best player available ...
The Alexander pick gets an A+.
In round 3, the Vikings came up with the #86 pick. The top players available were Andrew Billings, Kenneth Dixon, Joshua Perry, Devontae Booker, Jeremy Cash, Christian Westerman, Kentrell Brothers, Javon Hargrave, Sheldon Day, Pharok Cooper, Leonte Carroo, & Justin Simmons.
At this point you could reasonably make an argument for Billings, Hargrave, Westerman, or Simmons IMO.
But the Vikings decided to 86 themselves out of that spot and got back a future 3rd, future 4th, and a 6th round pick.
This move gets an A++ from me since I love trades.
In round 4, the Vikings come up with the #121 pick. The top players available were Andrew Billings, Kenneth Dixon, Devontae Booker, Jeremy Cash, Christian Westerman, & Kentrell Brothers.
The Vikings decided to take Willie Beavers an offensive tackle who had 40 starts at left tackle. He has things he needs to work on which at this point in the draft most of the players will, but there really was maybe only one tackle they could have selected otherwise and that would be Jerald Hawkins from LSU. Some could argue for Kyle Murphy, Joe Haeg, or someone else and that is OK. But with Billings on the board it was tough to see them pass.
The Beavers pick gets a C+.
In round 5, the Vikings come up with the 160 pick. At that point Christian Westerman, Kentrell Brothers, & Vadal Alexander were still on the board.
The Vikings went with Brothers.
The Brothers pick gets a B+.
I liked Scooby Wright better in that spot but his injuries may have been too much of a concern. But make no mistake, Scooby Wright was a stud prior to getting hurt. You do not win the Nagurski, Lombardi, and Butkus awards in the same year if you are chopped liver. His production in 2014 was astronomical!
In round 6, the Vikings come up with the 180 pick. This is where they threw caution to the wind and went for a lottery ticket player and select a man who goes by the nickname Schweigen (Silence in English), Moritz Boehringer. I liked several other players at that spot and two other receivers in Keyarris Garrett (who led the NCAA in receiving yards) and overcame a compound fracture of his lower left leg (similar to Treadwell overcoming his injury) and Mike Thomas.
The Boehringer pick gets an INC.
I cannot grade this pick because I have only seen the youtube highlights of his Pop Warner career (or what looks like it). There is just no way to give any reasonable opinion unless you see him play on this level against top competition.
The Vikings had another pick in round 6 which was #186 which they traded to the Dolphins for #196 & 227. Tthey then trade from #196 back up to #188 using #196 & 240.
They took David Morgan TE from the University of Texas San Antonio with the #188 pick. I did not see him play this year but he is considered the best blocking TE in this draft. Considering Ellison is likely to start the season on the PUP list, this pick was really expected. Maybe not the player but a TE/HB pick was expected by me.
The Morgan pick gets a B.
In round 7, the Vikings come up with the #227 pick. They selected Stephen Weatherly. His athleticism fits what the Vikings look for in a pass rusher. Once again, if you consider Robison will be 34 next year and entering the last year of his deal, this pick makes a lot of sense. Weatherly is going to have to battle hard to make the final 53 though.
The Weatherly pick gets an A.
The Vikings had another pick in round 7 which was #244. They selected Jayvon Kearse. I love this pick and I am biased but he is just the kind of safety Zimmer likes. He is eerily similar to George Iloka and we say what Zimmer did with him. This is one of my favorite picks in this draft!
The Kearse pick gets and A+.
I suppose if you average out the grades it is somewhere between B+ and A overall.
But I am not really grading this draft. I am just reviewing it. I think it is a very fine draft and the grades can be thrown in the garbage or wherever you want.
I do not attempt to give final roster predictions (I did once or twice before) because that is just something that none of us could possibly have any clue. I suppose it is fun but not for me.
One thing also cannot do is put any of the rookies automatically into the starting lineup. I am hoping that the Vikings will make everyone compete for their position. I will say that Treadwell probably has the best chance to play a lot of snaps.
It is going to be an exciting season!
Now for the fun part. You know that I cannot leave you with out a sneak peak at next year's draft! :)
The Vikings have picks in round 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, & 7. 9 picks total.
I am going to take the liberty of assuming the Vikings win at least one playoff game. I will use the 26th pick for the Vikings. I do not see the Dolphins winning more than 8 games and that is assuming they win more than one division game. I will use the 16th pick in each round for the picks the Vikings get from the Dolphins.
1.26 Mike Williams WR Clemson 6'3" 220
2.58 Samaje Perine RB Oklahoma 5'10" 230
3.80 Chad Wheeler OT USC 6'6" 290 (from Dolphins)
3.90 Daeshon Hall DE Texas A&M 6'6" 260
4.112 Stacy Coley WR Miami 6'0.5" 187 (from Dolphins)
4.122 Charles Walker DT Oklahoma 6'2" 299
5.154 Chidobe Awuzie CB Colorado 6'0" 195
6.186 Isaac Asiata OG Utah 6'3.2" 315
7.218 Cooper Kupp WR Eastern Washington 6'1" 195
I anticipate needed MOAR receivers and a back. A couple of offensive linemen will be needed depending on free agency. I always like to add to the defensive line.
The mocks will be fun!
You see, I can be positive. Now ...