Now that we’re less than one month away from the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, there are places that are still taking a look back at the 2018 version and projecting what teams should have done. Our friends at the SB Nation mothership are among that crowd, as they posted their 2018 re-draft yesterday. Not surprisingly, they had the Minnesota Vikings addressing the offensive line first rather than waiting until Round 2.
The selection was not guard Will Hernandez, who many. . .including our 2018 Mock Draft Database. . .were projecting the Vikings to select at #30 overall. In this re-draft scenario, he was already off the board when the Vikings selected. Instead, the Vikings select a versatile interior lineman, as they grab Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels with their first-round pick.
Daniels ultimately went to the Chicago Bears with their second-round selection, #39 overall. Here’s the commentary on the Daniels selection and how he would have fit in with the Vikings.
Daniels can play any position across the interior of the Vikings’ offensive line, which would buy a little extra time for Kirk Cousins as he transitions out of Washington and into the NFC North. Minnesota was 1-4 when he was sacked four or more times last fall, and the only win came over hapless Arizona. Adding Daniels, who helped Mitchell Trubisky blossom in Chicago in 2018, would give the Vikes a potent blocker who developed significantly as his rookie year wore on.
Daniels likely would have been an upgrade at either of the guard spots from what the Vikings ran out there last year, to be honest. He also would have given them a fallback option at center in the event that Pat Elflein doesn’t quite develop the way that the Vikings are hoping that he will.
With the Vikings still having serious questions along the interior of their offensive line, Elflein included, it will be interesting to see if the Vikings will use their first-round selection this year to address their deficiencies in that area or if they’ll roll the dice like they did last year and attempt to address the offensive line in Round 2. They got burned by attempting to do that last year, and unless a real difference-maker at another position happens to fall to #18, I think they almost have to do it this time around.
Of course, I’m not Rick Spielman. . .though I have played him on this site on several occasions. . .so who knows what he’s going to do. I think I know what we’re all hoping for, though.