In the immediate aftermath of the 2015 NFL Draft, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports handed out his grades for each draft class, and he gave the Minnesota Vikings a solid “B+” for the choices they made that season. Here’s what he said about the team’s draft class at the time.
Best Pick: I love the choice of Eric Kendricks in the second round. He is a speed linebacker who will add to the already young defense. Nice pick.
Questionable move: I like third-round defensive end Danielle Hunter, but while he has talent he needs to flash it more. He could be a big-time hit or a bust.
Third-day gem: Getting tackle T.J. Clemmings in the fourth round is a major steal. I know he has some injury concerns, but this kid has a ton of raw talent. He has a chance to be a good starter down the road if healthy.
Analysis: General manager Rick Spielman had another good draft. He has done so the past couple of years and has a good, young team on the rise. This draft is littered with a lot of productive college players. First-round corner Trae Waynes will be a starter right away.
As we know, Hunter has wound up being much, much better than advertised, while Clemmings. . .well, was not. But a B+, at the time, looked like it was a pretty good grade.
Three years after the fact, however, it’s obvious that this grade was too low, and Prisco rectified that issue with his 2015 draft re-grade that he put out yesterday. In his re-do, the Vikings were the lone team in the National Football League to receive an “A+” for the players that they drafted in 2015.
Here’s the new commentary from Prisco.
The skinny: They landed four starters in this draft, which makes it a big part of why the Vikings were contenders last year. It started with first-round corner Trae Waynes, who has developed into a good starter. Second-round linebacker Eric Kendricks just got a new deal because he’s a big part of their defense. Third-round pass rusher Danielle Hunter is a rising star, and fifth-round receiver Stefon Diggs has developed into a big-play threat. That’s quite a haul from one draft.
How I did: I loved the pick of Kendricks in the second round, which has played out right. I questioned taking Hunter in the third, calling him a boom-or-bust player, and he’s become a boom player. My third-day gem was tackle. T.J. Clemmings, who did start in his first two seasons and is now in Washington.
New grade: A+
Yes, the Vikings had an outstanding 2015 Draft, and that’s pretty obvious now that we’re far enough removed from it to actually be able to grade it intelligently. Even if Clemmings didn’t work out, the Vikings got four starters from that year’s draft class. And they’re not “marginal” or “borderline” starters, either. After all, there’s a reason that Kendricks has already gotten a big extension and that Waynes, Hunter, and Diggs all appear to be in line for the same in the very near future.
For all the folks that want to hate on Rick Spielman for some of the “misses” he’s had the Vikings’ 2015 draft class might be the best that any team in the league has had over the last four or five years. If he needs to catch hell for his misses, he should probably be given credit for his hits, too.