With the start of the offseason also comes the start of mock draft season. We’re going to get the Mock Draft Database (coming off of a one-year hiatus) fired up in a week or two, but for now we have a two-round projection from the folks at the mothership.
With their first pick in this scenario, Dan Kadar from Mocking the Draft has the Vikings continuing their offensive line rebuild with one of the best in this year’s draft, center Billy Price out of The. . .dramatic pause. . .Ohio State University.
With all the best defensive linemen gone, the Vikings could address the offensive line with their first-round pick. Price can play all three interior positions, and he has NFL-ready power and smarts. He has to smooth out his technique a little bit, but he should make a big impact early in his career.
I don’t want to oversell Price’s talent or anything, but here’s how good he is. In 2016, he started at guard for the Buckeyes, playing next to center Pat Elflein, who the Vikings drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. During that 2016 season, Elflein won the Rimington Award, which is the trophy given to the best center in college football. After Elflein graduated, the Buckeyes decided to slide Price over to the center spot to replace Elflein. The result?
Price won the Rimington Award for 2017, the first time in the history of the award that it’s been won by players from the same school in back-to-back years.
The addition of Price would allow the Vikings to put Mike Remmers back at right tackle (where he really belongs), and give them another huge piece towards putting together a very good offensive line. He and Elflein have worked together in the past, obviously, and that certainly couldn’t hurt things, either.
In the second round of this mock, the Vikings move to the defensive side with the selection of Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who sounds like a character from Knots Landing or Dynasty or something. I’m not terribly familiar with him, so here’s a quick scouting report from our friends at Hogs Haven.
Vander Esch would move to the inside linebacker position hopefully beside Zach Brown if drafted by the Redskins. Not only do I think Vander Esch is a better athlete than Spaight, Compton, Vigil, and arguably Mason Foster I think his floor is above the abilities of those players. There seems to be an endless call for the Redskins to have two ultra-athletic inside linebackers to help protect the team from seam busting TEs and running backs. Don’t get me wrong - linebackers need to have athleticism in today’s NFL. However, Zach Brown is ultra-athletic for the position and having another guy beside him that can some the same things athletically is squarely in the nice to have category and ultimately speak to bigger problems the Redskins have at the safety position and overall chemistry in the secondary.
While the scouting report is obviously Redskins-centric, it sounds like Vander Esch would be someone that would slot in as a middle linebacker, which could give the Vikings the impetus they would need to move Eric Kendricks to the outside. I’m not sure how he’d fit schematically until I watch him a little more, but that’s what it sounds like to me.
That’s a look at the first of what I’m sure will be approximately half a million mock draft pieces we’re going to have over the next couple of months. It’s officially draft season, folks, and we hope to bring you the best coverage of what the Minnesota Vikings intend to do leading up to this April’s selection meeting.