With the National Football League now done with the biggest parts of free agency and shifting into full-on NFL Draft mode, it’s time for another run at a seven-round Minnesota Vikings mock draft, featuring the FanSpeak On the Clock draft simulator. We should start seeing big boards everywhere falling into more of a post-Combine mode at this point, so hopefully we can get more of an idea what things could look like when the 2019 NFL Draft gets underway in about a month.
Here are the parameters that I’m using for this seven-round mock:
- Big board - Matt Miller from Bleacher Report, updated 20 March
- Computer using random big boards
- Classic difficulty
- FanSpeak team needs (G, OT, EDGE, WR, TE, C, CB, RB, S)
And awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay we go!
A reminder that these are the picks that we’re starting out with:
As we get started, nobody proposes a to me before the selections start flying, nor does anyone propose one when #18 comes onto the board. Here is what the big board looks like for our first selection:
Now, to this point, there has been one offensive linemen taken, as Jonah Williams went to the New York Jets at #3 overall. Other than that, every offensive lineman in the draft is available. Honestly, it’s taking a hell of a lot of willpower not to pull the trigger on Hockenson with this pick, but unlike what’s happened in previous drafts, I’m going to make an effort to address the offensive line situation early here. Since the Vikings seem determined. . .for whatever reason. . .to move Riley Reiff to guard, I’m going to grab the offensive linemen that I think would be the best fit for the new Kevin Stefanski/Gary Kubiak offense.
Round 1, Pick 18 - Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Dillard is the best pass-blocking offensive tackle in this class, and if the Vikings are going to move Reiff, then they better replace him with someone that can step right into the starting role at left tackle. The pairing of Dillard and Brian O’Neill would give the Vikings one of the most athletic pairs of offensive tackles in the National Football League, and that’s something that seems to be emphasized in an outside zone blocking scheme like the one the Vikings want to implement. You could make an argument for Cody Ford or Jawaan Taylor here, but if we want someone that can step right in and make an impact, I think Dillard is the guy.
So, now we move on to Round 2. No trade offers come in before the start of the round, and we don’t get any offers as pick #50 overall hits the board. Here’s what our new big board looks like:
I don’t see a need to double up on offensive linemen at this point, and not even virtual Mike Zimmer can get me to pull the trigger on a defensive back at this point. So, let’s get another guy that can potentially help the offense out.
Round 2, Pick 50 - Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
With the Vikings having two receivers that can do great things out of the slot, they could use a big outside threat to help free those two up and also be a threat in the red zone. At 6’5” and about 230 pounds, Hakeem Butler is a physical freak who should be able to help stretch opposing defenses and immediately become a guy that Kirk Cousins can target inside the 20. He probably should have been off the board by now, but if he’s just going to get handed to me, I’ll take him.
On to the third round, and once again there are no trades offered to me before the round gets underway. However, as my selection comes up at #81, a couple of trade offers do flow in.
The offer from the Lions isn’t great or anything, but you know. . .that offer from the Bills sounds like exactly the sort of thing Rick Spielman would do given the opportunity. I get two fourth-round selections (in addition to the one I already have), I recoup the fifth-rounder we lost in the Trevor Siemian trade, and there’s also an all-important seventh-rounder. So, let’s take the Bills’ offer and drop out of the third round.
As the fourth round gets ready to begin, a couple of NFC East teams send trade offers my way.
I accept the offer from Dallas, because hey. . .why not? While the fifth-round pick we get in compensation is lower, it also requires less of a drop from where we currently sit.
Let’s do something a little crazy, shall we?
Round 4, Pick 112 (from Buffalo) - Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo
In my perfect world. . .or in this scenario, anyway. . .the Vikings stop fooling around with “veteran” quarterbacks and decide that they’re going to give Kyle Sloter the #2 spot behind Kirk Cousins. Jackson is another physical monster, coming in at 6’7” and weighing about 250 pounds. He has an embarrassment of physical skills, and if the Vikings can give him the time he needs to develop, they could have an answer for when Cousins’ contract expires in a couple of seasons. A backup quarterback is a luxury at this point, sure, but I think someone with Jackson’s physical ability is worth the pick here.
As we move on to the next pick, things have changed a little bit:
I get that, at some point in this process, I need to start looking at the defensive side of the ball. But the board hasn’t fallen that way, so at this point I’ll just keep taking offensive value players, because I think the Vikings’ coaching staff has shown enough of an ability to coach up lower-round picks on defense. So, back to the offense we go.
Round 4, Pick 120 - Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
The tight end position might not register as an immediate need for the Vikings to most folks, but there’s a potential problem on the horizon for the team at that spot. Not only is Kyle Rudolph in the final year of his deal (at least for now, unless the Vikings extend him), but David Morgan is in the final year of his rookie contract in 2019. That means that there’s likely going to be at least one hole, and Smith is the sort of player that could fill it. He doesn’t offer a whole lot as a blocker at this point, but he does have good receiving skills already and can be developed going forward.
We’re now back on the board with our pick from Dallas, and here’s what things look like:
I’m actually going to go a bit off the board for this one and fulfill that annual Vikings’ tradition of taking an athletic edge guy in the middle rounds because, well, nobody at this point is really all that appealing to me.
Round 4, Pick 136 (from Dallas) - Maxx Crosby, Edge, Eastern Michigan
He’s not rated that highly on Matt Miller’s big board, but I think this is just about the right spot for Crosby. He’s got outstanding speed and quickness, and though he’s a little on the light side at this point, he can probably add some more bulk without sacrificing too much of his athleticism. I think he’s the sort of player that Andre Patterson would love to get an opportunity to coach up, so we’ll take him here.
Now we’re into the fifth round, where we now have two picks, which is more than the zero we had when we started. In fact, we’re going to have seven picks in the final three rounds, so I’m just going to ignore trade offers going forward.
As we get to our first pick in Round 5, here’s what the board looks like:
According to the Team Needs list, our current needs are (in order) guard, center, cornerback, running back, and safety. With those needs in mind, let’s go back to the offensive line well.
Round 5, Pick 158 (from Buffalo) - Dru Samia, G, Oklahoma
Samia would appear to be the sort of guard that would be more comfortable in the new Stefanski/Kubiak scheme as well. He doesn’t provide much in the way of power, but he is pretty athletic, which is something the Vikings will value.
Things haven’t shifted much on the board when we come up next, so let’s fill the running back spot with a guy the Vikings have already expressed interest in during the pre-draft process.
Round 5, Pick 165 (from Dallas) - Devine Ozigbo, RB, Nebraska
At 6’ and 230 pounds, Ozigbo has the build to take over the Latavius Murray role in the Vikings’ backfield. He could be a goal-line hammer to start out, but was also a solid performer in Nebraska’s zone-running scheme, so he could play a bigger role than that given the opportunity.
We’re now into the final two rounds of the draft, and at this point I want to get this up before midnight, so I’m simply going to put the Big Boards for each pick up, as well as the player I wound up taking at that spot.
Here’s the board for our first selection in the sixth round:
Round 6, Pick 190 - Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison
And for our second pick in Round 6:
Round 6, Pick 209 (Compensatory) - Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington
On to the final round, where we have three selections, including the final one we received from the Bills in our earlier trade. Here’s the board as that selection comes up:
Round 7, Pick 225 (from Buffalo) - Byron Cowart, DL, Maryland
And, finally, the board for our final two picks, both Compensatory selections:
Round 7, Pick 247 (Compensatory) - Blake Cashman, LB, Minnesota
Round 7, Pick 250 (Compensatory) - Ugo Amadi, S, Oregon
So, when the dust settles and the smoke clears, we wound up drafting 12 players in a draft that we entered with only eight selections. Here is our simulated 2019 draft class for this mock.
If you want to see how all 254 picks in this simulation went, you can check it out right here.
So, what does everyone think? Did I wait too long to start addressing defense? Were the trades a bit too much? Is it bad that I almost completely failed to address the interior of the defensive line? Let me know in the comments and in the poll here.
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