[Ed note--This mock draft was completed before the severity of Shariff Floyd's injury was reported late yesterday. I might have changed things up had I had that info. I'll take it into consideration for 3.0. Thanks, Ted]
Hi kids. Welcome to almost the weekend, and to my second Vikings mock draft. Please keep in mind a couple things before we start:
1. Sequels are rarely better than the original.
2. I am by no means a draft expert or self-proclaimed Internet scout, so use this accordingly.
3. This will be so horribly wrong when compared to who the Vikings actually draft. I'll be surprised if I get one player, in any round, correct. Just like damn near every mock draft out there.
Okay, with that out of the way, as I look at the Vikings roster the biggest needs I see are almost exclusively offense. Yes, the team addressed offensive line and running back in free agency, but not enough, and those are still priorities. There might be answers at center with Nick Easton and guard with Jeremiah Sirles, but with Joe Berger long in the tooth, the Vikings need to create depth and competition for starting jobs, so that's my high priority. Landing Latavius Murray to pair with Jerick McKinnon was a big signing, but is he a long term answer? Depth is also an issue, so I'm potentially looking for both there as well. With the loss of Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver is also a need, at least at depth. Depending on whether or not you think Laquon Treadwell is a bust will probably determine whether or not you think WR is more of a need than RB. I'm putting RB at a higher priority, but I think a good argument could persuade me to WR. I'm really on the fence with this one.
On defense, depending on how serious Shariff Floyd's knee is, defensive line could be an issue, although you could argue the Datone Jones signing solved short term depth issues. Linebacker depth is an issue, too, with the retirement of Chad Greenway, as is safety behind Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo. I'm not sold on Jayron Kearse or Antone Exum, Jr. yet, and Sendejo is still iffy as a starter. Here's how I'm prioritizing my needs:
1. Interior offensive line
2. Running back
2a. Wide receiver (and I could be talked in to putting WR above RB in terms of need)
Mike Zimmer rightly prioritized a defensive rebuild when he became head coach, and he's largely succeeded. On that side of the ball, depth is a concern, but the starting 11 is pretty much set, even when you account for Floyd's injury on the defensive line. I'm uneasy about the nickel back position, but you're not going to draft a CB to roll right in to that starting job on day one, especially in the second round, so that answer is going to come from guys already on the roster. No, I need offense, and that's where I'm looking early, and often.
For this draft, I'm using the Fanspeak simulator, and because my father failed in his attempts to teach me about fiscal responsibility, I dropped the seven bucks for the deluxe GM package that allows trades. I'm not looking to make a trade up into the first round, or even higher in to the second round, but just like 1.0, if a player drops that I really have my eye on, I'll make a move. If I move up, I'll probably move back down in later rounds to get some picks back, or better my pick position in later rounds.
As a review, here are the picks in each round the Vikings have entering draft weekend:
I'm using the composite player rankings list, because that's the most current Fanspeak had to offer, and it's an average of all the player rankings. So, let's get to it:
Sam Brad---just kidding. No pick because of the Sammy trade.
Like I said, I was willing to look into trading up if there was an opportunity to get a player that had dropped. Here's the big board as round opened:
I don't think trading up is a prudent move right now, as there hasn't been an 'oh, wow' moment with a guy falling unexpectedly. So I don't offer any trades to move up, but I do receive two trade offers. The first was from Houston:
The other trade offer was from the Oak Vegas Raiders:
The Raiders offer didn't impress me, but I gotta say I ALMOST pulled the trigger with Houston. Had there been a player I really wanted, I would have accepted that trade, and with four picks in the fourth round I think I would have had the flexibility to move as far up as I needed to without sacrificing a third round pick. Well, more than likely, anyway. But without a marquee player on the board I thought it was too far a drop for a guy I thought I could get without making a trade. I'm hoping either Dan Feeney or Forrest Lamp will be on the board if I stay put, but if I move down into the 20's, I think they'll both be gone. So, I hold tight. When it gets to me, this is what I see:
Selection: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky.
Rationale: Really happy with this pick, as Lamp is one of the two top guards in this draft along with Dan Feeney. Lamp is a guy that can be a fixture on the offensive line for a long time, I'm penciling him in at the top of the RG depth chart, and we'll see what happens in training camp. Mike Zimmer himself said in a press conference on Wednesday that they only had four starters on their o-line right now, and this would go a long way in solving who the fifth starter would be.
As the third round opened, I had two trade offers. They were:
And the Jaguars also put a trade in front of me:
I turned both of them down, because I'd rather have two third round picks and two fourth round picks as opposed to one third rounder and three fourth rounders. I could've pulled the trigger on one of those deals and then tried to move up, but just like the second round, there wasn't a guy that was jumping out at me. So I held my ground, and this was my big board when I went on the clock:
I can go with a few guys here, fill a need in one of two areas with really solid options at WR or on the offensive line, and call the pick a success. But...there's a controversial guy out there who would fit well into the Vikings offense, and were it not for off the field issues would be long gone already.
Selection: Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
Rationale: When the actual draft goes down, I don't realistically see Mixon on the board here. As controversial as he is, someone will probably pull the trigger on him late second round. And even if he's still radioactive at the end of 2 rounds, he won't make it out of the third. Look, I need a running back, and if he's here now I take him, because he won't be around with my second pick in this round. He's a three down back that can run, catch, and block, and if he can steer clear of trouble off the field, the guy is going to have a long and productive career in the NFL. When you add in the amount of time the Vikings spent with Mixon at Oklahoma's pro day, this pick isn't at all out of the question.
I still have another selection in this round, pick 22. When it comes around to me again, this is what I'm seeing on my big board:
The top rated guy still available is the guy I want, making this pick a no-brainer for me.
Selection: Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State.
Rationale: By taking Lamp and Elflein, the Vikings rebuild on the offensive line appears to be complete, or well on it's way. Joe Berger can start this year, probably retire at the end of 2017, and Elflein can slide into the starting job next year. In the meantime, he can be a solid backup, and provide quality depth. Add in guys like Nick Easton and Jeremiah Sirles, the level of quality and depth appears to be a lot better than it was at the end of the season.
I didn't have any trade offers to open the round or when I came on the clock, and I'm not looking to make any. In real life, Rick Spielman wheels and deals in these later rounds, so on draft weekend, don't expect the Vikings to stay put. I did, though, and this was the big board when it was my turn to pick:
Selection: Anthony Walker, Jr., LB, Northwestern
Rationale: Walker was a productive Mike in a P5 conference, and along with Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr could be a heck of a linebacking trio for awhile. He's a good tackler and I think he could compete for the starting Mike job in training camp, and kick Kendricks back outside when the Vikings are in the base 4-3.
As my second pick in this round came around, my big board wasn't much different, and Carlos Henderson was still on the board. Pretty simple choice.
Selection: Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
Rationale: Henderson can be a 4th of 5th WR, but he's also a really good return guy. With Cordarrelle Patterson gone, he can step up and compete for the kick return job right away. And if he is selected, Vikings fans world wide will once again proclaim the demise of Marcus Sherels, because every time the Vikings have a guy they think can return kicks or punts that's what Vikings fans do.
And all Marcus Sherels does is survive, and he will in 2017, too. We've said it on this page before, but when the world ends the only thing left will be cockroaches, Twinkies, and Marcus Sherels (copyright Fearless Leader).
I'm looking for a combination of best player available and a position of need I'd like to fill. I'd still like a safety to throw in for some competition at training camp, and that's what I'm on the lookout for if they're high enough on the board. I forgot to take a screen grab of the big board, my apologies for that. Luckily for me, there was a safety sitting there that was one of the five best remaining players. Boom, done. Put him on the board.
Selection: Josh Jones, S, NC State
Rationale: Like I mentioned earlier, I'm still not sold on Exum or Kearse, and I want to bring in some competition to see how things shake out.
At this point, I'm just looking to fill out depth on the roster. This is the big board as I get to my selection:
Selection: Jalen Myrick, CB, Minnesota
Rationale: Had I not already nabbed a linebacker, I was leaning towards Ben Boulware or Jacob Pugh, but Myrick is a U of M guy that will really turn up the 'Marcus Sherels is doomed' talk in training camp. And because I want to watch the world burn, I will do whatever I can to fuel that fire. Because watching Sherels make the final 53 every year is just damned entertaining. But Myrick has some skill, and could compete for the nickel or dime job, I suppose. At this point I'm thinking he's a guy that either contributes on special teams or a guy they can develop on the practice squad for a year.
At the end of the draft. Eeny-meeny-miney-MoBo, catch a sleeper by the ToeBo...
Selection: Kyle Kalis, G, Michigan.
Rationale: Kalis is a really intriguing pick here, and a bit of a sleeper. He badly underperformed early in his Michigan career, but really improved as a player once Jim Harbaugh got to Michigan, which coincided with a more NFL-like offense than Michigan operated under Rich Rodriguez. He's the son of former Vikings lineman Todd Kalis, so he's got NFL genes, and I think he's better right now than Willie Beavers is.
So, to recap. Here is the Ted 2.0 2017 Draft Class:
Strengths: I like the offensive linemen, and I know I have two guys that should be long time contributors in Lamp and Elflein. With Kalis, I think he can compete for a roster spot and be a decent backup, or at least make it to the practice squad and develop with the goal of being a decent depth guy. Joe Mixon is going to stir a lot of talk and controversy, but if he keeps his act clean he can be an elite, every down back in the NFL and the steal of the draft.
Weaknesses: Depending on what you think Teddy Bridgewater's status will eventually be, not getting a developmental QB in the later rounds could be a mistake. The same could be said for Shariff Floyd, who's cryptic social media post the other day might have been hinting at serious trouble.A defensive tackle wouldn't have been a bad idea, but my thought was that for at least 2017, Datone Jones can be a decent rotational guy behind Linval Joseph and Tom Johnson if Floyd is out again.
If you're interested in how the whole mock draft played out, click on the link below and have a look for yourself, and in the comments tell me what you would have done differently.