We’re getting ready for Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft, which will get underway from Dallas at around 6:00 PM Central time. With the first round over and done with, there are several sites that have put together Mock Drafts for the second (and, in some cases, even the third) round of the selection process. Let’s take a spin around the internet and see what some of the experts have the Minnesota Vikings doing.
Round 2 - Uchenna Nwosu, DE/LB, USC. The Vikings could pick up Nwosu and apprentice him under Anthony Barr if they keep packing talent onto their defense.
Round 3 - Geron Christian, OT, Louisville. The Vikings pick up a new right tackle, and if he proves capable of starting, they can kick Mike Remmers in to guard.
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma Brown’s fate is unpredictable. And I was tempted by Michigan’s Maurice Hurst, whose heart issue has scared most teams off.
Round 2 - Nwosu - Nwosu gives the Vikings roster flexibility thanks to his ability to handle linebacker and pass-rush duties.
Round 3 - P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State
Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh
Round 2 - Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
Round 3 - Daurice Fountain, WR, Northern Iowa
Round 2 - O’Neill - At 6-7, 297 pounds and with a hoops background, he’s got many of the attributes NFL teams want in a tackle. If O’Neill proves he’s got the strength to play immediately, he could push Mike Remmers to guard.
Round 2 - Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State - There have been reports indicating that Sharrif Floyd may never play again, which is a shame. Sheldon Richardson was signed, but for just one year. Here’s a long-term plan at the position.
Round 3 - Nyheim Hines, RB, North Carolina State - The Vikings lost Jerick McKinnon this offseason, so they’ll need to find someone new to pair with Dalvin Cook.
Round 2 - Connor Williams, OT, Texas - The Vikings grab some tackle/guard depth and competition. Minnesota has shown interest in Williams as well.
Williams returned to play in the final couple of games of 2017 before shutting it down to prepare for the 2018 NFL Draft rather than play in his bowl game. He missed seven games during the 2017 season. After some bad performances to start the year, he went down with a torn knee meniscus and strained ligaments. Williams (6-5, 296) started at left tackle as a freshman and sophomore for the Longhorns. He was a steady pass protector in those seasons.
As we reported in the Hot Press, Williams was receiving some mid-round grades from evaluators this season. The main issue that sources said was hurting Williams is a lack of strength. One AFC team in need of tackle help said they gave him a late third-round, early fourth-round grade.
I spoke with a NFC general manager who scouted Williams in person during 2017, and they were disappointed in Williams overall. They felt Williams lacked strength and believed him overhyped. This NFC general manager said they thought Williams was a fourth-rounder. Williams had a disappointing 2017 season opener against Maryland, getting flagged for numerous holds, including some that canceled out big plays for his team. He allowed some pressures and hits, too. Williams has some athletic ability, and some evaluators feel he should move inside to guard. That was given further credence at the combine, where Williams checked in with extremely short arms for an NFL offensive tackle.
Round 3 - Jaylen Samuels, RB, North Carolina State - This pick would thrill my good friend Thor Nystrom of Rotoworld. Samuels would be a perfect rotational back and receiving threat to pair with Dalvin Cook. If you haven’t checked out Thor’s work on Rotoworld, you’re missing out. He does an awesome job of covering college football, handicapping college games, and covering the NFL Draft. Read his work and you won’t be disappointed!
Samuels totaled 76 receptions for 597 yards and four touchdowns in 2017. On the ground, he averaged 5.2 yards per carry for 403 yards and 12 touchdowns. For the NFL, the 5-foot-11, 223-pounder is a unique prospect. He was listed as a tight end, played some H-back, and also played wide receiver. In speaking with scouts, they like Samuels, and some feel that his best fit would come as a third-down running back. They think Samuels has really good hands, is a nice receiver, and could also run the ball as a tailback. Samuels could be tried as a fullback as well.
That’s a collection of the second (and third) round Mock Drafts from across the interwebs, ladies and gentlemen. Things, as we mentioned, will get underway at around 6:00 PM Central time today for Round 2 and 3, and we’ll be here for all of it!