We’re still a week away from the start of the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine and 60 days away from the start of the 2017 NFL Draft. We’re not sure what the Minnesota Vikings (or any other team for that matter) will be doing this offseason, but people certainly aren’t going to let that stop them from putting together some mock drafts for people to chew on.
Since things are a little slow here leading up to the start of the Combine and free agency, let’s take a look at a couple of mocks that actually go out far enough to be meaningful for Vikings fans.
The folks at Walter Football have a couple of mock drafts that they update weekly throughout the year. One is done by Walter Cherepinsky, and the other one is done by Charlie Campbell. Let’s take a look at both of their mocks, starting with Walter’s (which has been update to include compensatory selections).
With their first selection, Walter has the Vikings looking exactly where they need to be looking, which is the offensive tackle spot. The selection for the Vikings is Western Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Moton.
I'm sure that if the Vikings had the cap space, they would've used this pick to trade for Joe Thomas. Alas, they do not, so they can try to remedy their awful tackle situation by picking one at this juncture.
Not much of a scouting report, so let’s see what CBS Sports has to say about Moton. Right now, CBS has Moton as their 4th-ranked offensive tackle and 53rd-ranked player overall.
Moton is a wide, well-built athlete who can move bodies in the run game due to his raw power and finishing toughness. He is an alert blocker in pass protection with adequate length, but very raw with his hand use (timing and placement), often hugging and losing balance -- can get away with choppy steps and late hands in the MAC, but will be a different story in the NFL. Moton isn't a flawless prospect, but most of his issues are fixable with technique training and a move inside to guard and a smaller area might help mask his issues.
With their picks in the third round, Cherepinsky has the Vikings taking North Carolina defensive tackle Nazair Jones at #80 and LSU offensive lineman Ethan Pocic at #86. CBS has Jones slotted as a 4th or 5th-round prospect (and doesn’t have an actual profile on him), while they have Pocic listed as their top-rated center in this year’s draft and the 64th-ranked player overall. Pocic could play either center or guard for whoever drafts him, and if he managed to fall to the third would be quite a steal.
In Round 4, Walter has the Vikings taking Clemson wide receiver Artavis Scott at #122 overall, and following that up with South Florida running back Marlon Mack at #129. Scott is a smaller receiver, listed at 5’10” and about 195 pounds. Mack is listed as CBS Sports’ 6th-ranked running back, ahead of some names that seem to have Draft Twitter pretty excited.
I’m not sure how I feel about Walter’s mock overall, to be honest. I think that Moton and Pocic would be a very nice start to fixing the offensive line issues, but I’m not as sure on the other three picks.
Over to Charlie’s mock draft, where he has the Vikings addressing the running back position with their first selection, tabbing Texas star D’Onta Foreman.
The Vikings grab their running back of the future.
Foreman was a beast in 2016, rolling over defenders while averaging 6.3 yards per carry for 2,028 yards with 15 touchdowns. He wasn't much of a receiver with seven receptions for 75 yards, but Foreman is a load as a runner who can run over the opposition. The 6-foot-1, 250-pounder is a power back for the NFL, and sources have said that Foreman really impressed them in 2016.
While having another running back named Foreman toting the rock for the Vikings would be pretty awesome. . .man, a whole lot of things would have to go right for the Vikings this offseason to justify using their second round pick on a running back, particularly with this draft class at the position.
Campbell also has the Vikings snagging Pocic in Round 3, although this time at #80 overall. With their other third-round selection, he’s got them selecting Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
The Vikings grab more receiving talent.
The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Kupp was massively productive during his collegiate career. He combines quickness, toughness, excellent route-running and great hands. The senior totaled 91 receptions for 1,297 yards with 12 touchdowns on the year. He had huge seasons as a junior (114-1,642-19), sophomore (104-1,431-16) and freshman (93-1,691-21). Kupp is a natural football player.
Again, as good a football player as Kupp is. . .and he has shown himself to be a pretty good one. . .the Vikings have needs to address other than wide receiver this early on. Obviously, if the Vikings make some serious noise in free agency they could go with a selection like this, but it’s hard to know at this point.
Moving on to the fourth round, Campbell has the Vikings going back to the offensive line, and a guy that could be a bit of a project in Bucknell offensive tackle Julie’n Davenport. To round things out, he has the Vikings taking Oklahoma State defensive lineman Vincent Taylor with the second of their fourth-round selections.
I’m not sure which of these two drafts I’d lean towards if I was told that I had to settle for one of them for the Vikings this April. What do you folks think of these mocks?