Yesterday, I put together what is likely going to be the final version of our 2018 Mock Draft Database for the Minnesota Vikings. This is the fifth year that we’ve put the Mock Draft Database together, as it started back in 2013. We had to take the 2017 season off because, well, the Vikings didn’t have a first round pick that year, but we brought it back this season.
Now, mock drafts are largely viewed as an exercise in futility. Many mock drafts don’t project any sort of trades, and therefore are generally useless before the first hour has elapsed on Thursday night of draft weekend. But how have the Mock Drafts, and our Mock Draft Database, done over the course of recent years?
Thankfully, we can go back and have a look at what the mocks were projecting for the Vikings for each year we have a Database for and determine if they were even close. So, let’s go ahead and have a look back at past versions of the Mock Draft Database and how they did for our favorite team.
The first version of the Database had one notable hiccup. We got through the first eight versions of the Database for that season, and then Rick “We are absolutely not trading Percy Harvin” Spielman decided that he was, in fact, going to trade Percy Harvin and gave the Vikings an extra first round pick in the process. So, we took a week off to re-calibrate things a bit, but we still wound up with the final total of 100 Mock Drafts from across the internet in our 2013 final version.
The Vikings went into Round 1 that year with their own first round pick, which was at #23 overall, and the pick they received from the Seattle Seahawks in the Harvin deal, which was #25. So, when it came to figuring percentages, we did it based on 200 potential first round selections rather than the usual 100. (And the actual number wound up being 197 because a few drafts had us trading those picks. Why? I don’t know.) I probably could have done a couple of separate breakdowns based on who was being taken at #23 and who was being taken at #25, but I just went and combined them to make things a little easier on myself.
So, who did the experts have the Vikings taking in Round 1 that season? Here was the final breakdown of everyone that got at least 5% of the final pie:
- Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame (22.8%) - Went to San Diego at #38 overall
- Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina (14.2%) - Went to Denver at #28 overall
- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee (8.6%) - Went to Minnesota at #29 overall
- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington (7.1%) - Went to Atlanta at #22 overall
- Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee (6.6%) - Went to Tennessee at #34 overall
- Keenan Allen, WR, California (5.1%) - Went to San Diego at #76 overall
As far as the two guys that the Vikings did wind up selecting with those original two first-round picks? Well, Xavier Rhodes appeared at just seven of the 197 selections on that year’s final Database, or right around 3.6%.
Sharrif Floyd, on the other hand? He had a total of one selection in our final Database that season, which gave him approximately one-half of one percent of the final “Donut.” People forget that Floyd was almost universally mocked to be the #3 overall pick that season, and he certainly wasn’t expected to be on the board when the Vikings came up at #23, but there he was. Just a damn shame what happened to Floyd, because he really could have been something if he could have stayed healthy.
The Vikings went into the 2014 NFL Draft with the #8 overall pick. We know that they wound up with two first-round picks that season, but we obviously didn’t know that was going to be the case at the time the Database was being put together. We wound up with 103 first-round picks in our Database that season, because just leaving it at a round number for the final tally would have been too easy, I guess.
Who was mocked to go to the Vikings at #8 that season? Well, as we did with the 2013 Database, let’s look at everyone that was over 5% in the final tally.
- Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida (32%) - Went to Jacksonville at #3 overall
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (18.4%) - Went to Minnesota at #32 overall
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (12.6%) - Went to Cleveland at #22 overall
- Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State (9.7%) - Went to Oakland at #36 overall
- Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA (7.8%) - Went to Minnesota at #9 overall
- C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (5.6%) - Went to Baltimore at #17 overall
Gee. . .you reckon people thought the Vikings needed a quarterback that year? In our 2014 Database, quarterbacks were what the offensive line was this year. The four quarterbacks listed took up nearly 75% of the mock draft selections, but there were just eight folks (out of 103) that correctly mocked Anthony Barr to Minnesota. There were a bunch of people, as you can see, that were mocking Teddy Bridgewater to the Vikings with that #8 pick, and they were somewhat vindicated when the Vikings jumped back into the first round to take him at #32.
The Vikings came into the 2015 NFL Draft with the 11th overall selection, and I’ll be honest. . .our 2015 Database had about as little intrigue and drama as any version we’ve had.
How little? Well, once again, here is the full list of players that wound up with over 5% of the final tally in 2015’s final installment of the Database.
- Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State (46%) - Went to Minnesota at #11 overall
- DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville (19%) - Went to Miami at #14 overall
- Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa (10%) - Went to Washington at #5 overall
Yeah. . .that was everybody. Nobody else could crack the 5% barrier. The Vikings needed a cornerback. Waynes was the consensus top cornerback in the Draft that season. When Waynes fell to the Vikings at #11. . .they took him. The Vikings didn’t trade back into Round 1 that year, so that basically sums up the 2015 version of our Database.
There was significantly more drama, at least as far as our Database was concerned, for the Vikings in 2016. They were selecting down at #23 in the first round, and that obviously makes for more variance and more potential selections. Granted, there was one overwhelming position of need once again, but at least there were a couple of different players vying for that spot.
So, who managed to hit the 5% barrier among all the players in the Database for that season? Well, here’s what the final numbers showed:
- Josh Doctson, WR, Texas Christian (41%) - Went to Washington at #22 overall
- Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi (24%) - Went to Minnesota at #23 overall
- Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame (13%) - Went to Houston at #21 overall
- Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (6%) - Went to New Orleans at #47 overall
Only four players made it, and all four played the same position. There was a bit of a mini-run on wide receivers at the tail end of the first round, which is likely why the Vikings pounced on Treadwell when they did, but most of the Mock Drafts that year were targeting the right position for the Vikings.
As dominant as the quarterbacks were in 2014 and the offensive linemen were in this year’s Database, the wide receivers in 2016 were even more ridiculously so. Of the 100 mock drafts we had in our final 2016 Mock Draft Database, 87 of them projected the Vikings to select a wide receiver at #23 overall.
The one thing that you can gather from our Mock Draft Database, as is the case with Mock Drafts in general, is that the later in the first round a team is selecting, the less accurate you’re likely to be. In our 2018 Mock Draft Database, we’ve had 41 different players mocked to the Vikings at #30 overall over the course of the nine weeks we had put it together, and even the final version had 18 different players going to Minnesota at that spot. So, the odds are pretty good that somebody is going to get it right.
Some years, however, the team has one glaring need. In 2014, it was quarterback. In 2015, it was cornerback, and in 2016 it was wide receiver. This year, everyone and their dog can tell you what the Vikings’ biggest need is, and that’s reflected in offensive linemen receiving nearly 80% of the selections in the Mock Drafts across the internet. Of course, in 2014 when the Vikings did need a quarterback, they took a linebacker in the Top 10 and wound up having to trade back into the first round to take their quarterback of the future. . .or, at least, he was at that point.
The most important thing to know about the draft process and the mock draft process or whatever else is that we really don’t know a damn thing about a damn thing. The speculation is fun, but ultimately we have no idea what Rick Spielman and company are going to do on Thursday night. . .or Friday night. . .or Saturday afternoon. That’s what makes the Draft so damn much fun.
We’re going to be here for every minute of it, and we hope that you’ll be here with us as well.