Hi kids! Boy, what a difference a week makes. This time last Thursday, I was higher than a hypoxic mountain climber on Mt. Everest, with my arm in a sling and unable to move. Needless to say, I was in no condition to do a mock draft...although if I had it wouldn’t have been any worse than any other ones I’ve done, amirite?
Even though I’m feeling a lot better, these mocks will still blow chunks, but let’s get back on this mock draft horse, anyway. We’re up to four, if the title didn’t give it away and you’re not keeping score at home. The first three are here, if you want to point and laugh:
If you’re just tuning in to this...ridiculous...exercise, a fair word of warning. Consider these the ground rules:
I’m not a professional scout, coach, or GM. I am, however, an idiot.
If you EVER get to the point where you think ‘man this guy is pretty sharp about drafting and stuff’ go back and read the previous sentence. Then talk to any member of my family, immediate or extended, and they’ll set you straight.
My methodology is fairly straightforward. I’m using Fanspeak’s On The Clock deluxe, high falutin’ draft simulator, that allows me to make and receive trade offers.
In formulating and/or accepting trades, I’m using the 2019 Drafttek Trade Value Chart. I know most teams don’t follow it to the number, and other trades include players, like the Percy Harvin trade a few years back. Trading players in this simulation isn’t an option, and you have to have some kind of baseline, so this is mine:
To determine my needs besides offensive line, for now I’m going to go with the assumption that between Anthony Barr, Sheldon Richardson, and Everson Griffen, two of these players will be elsewhere come draft day. Based on the news of this last week regarding Barr and Griffen, it feels like those two are definitely gone. And unless the Vikings make some serious cap space, Richardson is, too. With the news also coming out that TE Kyle Rudolph doesn’t want to re-do his deal, there’s a chance HE could be gone as well. So for today’s mock, let’s assume all three defensive players are gone. I’m still on the fence about Rudolph but I’m adding tight end as a new position of need, though. Based on those variables, my needs are:
My draft strategy is to try and mimic GM Rick Spielman as much as possible—controlled aggression to get players that are dropping (see Dalvin Cook) or the best players available at a real position of need (see Pat Elflein). I know Spielman likes to have 10 picks heading into draft weekend, and if he doesn’t have them he’ll make trades get to that magic number, if possible. However, my ultimate goal is to get the best players I can assemble, not assemble 10 players.
To help me out, now that the combine is over, I’m going to use a little guidance from a couple of posts by our old friend Arif Hasan, now with The Athletic. He looked at all the players the Vikings would probably be interested in on both offense and defense, based on past draft picks and how they performed at the NFL Combine. The Vikings looks for specific scores in certain drills, so I’m going to use this information when making selections. It’s not absolute, but it helps when deciding between two or more players at the same position.
In setting up the draft variables, I chose to use Bleacher Report for my big board, the computer is using multiple boards, as it would be in the actual draft, and the difficulty level is set to difficult, just to change things up. Team needs are set to Fanspeak.
Heading into round one, these are the picks the Vikings have:
Let’s light this candle.
When the first round opened, I had no trade offers. If anything, I’m looking to trade down, not trade up, so I let the draft play out. When I came on the clock, I had no offers, and this is what the big board looks like:
In using Arif’s combine charts, the top defensive guys are gone, so I’m down to two picks, basically. I need offensive line, and I plan to address it, but there’s a guy available that I just can’t pass up on.
Selection: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Rationale: There are only a few tight ends that are equally good at catching and blocking, and Hockenson is one of those guys. I can still get great value and talent at the o-line position in the next two rounds, but an impact player like Hockenson will be long gone. I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth over not picking an offensive lineman here, but I’ll make it up to you, I promise.
As the second round unfolds, the Minneapolis fire department is probably battling a three alarm blaze at the site of the Vikings draft party after the Hockenson pick, so we wish them well, and that they all return to the firehouse safe and sound. I received no trade offers to start the round, but when I came on the clock, I got two:
I get more picks if I take the Browns trade, but I end up with no second round pick. I like the Patriots offer, though. I only drop six spots and pick up an extra third round pick. I accept the trade, and now these are my remaining picks:
When I come on the clock, here is my big board:
I gambled that I would be able to pick up a solid offensive lineman, and it paid off.
Selection: Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State
Rationale: A lot of people are saying that the Vikings love Bradbury, and could take him in the first round. By all accounts he had a good combine and his stock is rising, so there’s a real possibility the Vikings take him earlier. That said, getting him here is a fantastic pick, if I do say so myself. He projects as a day one starter at guard, and if Pat Elflein turns out to be a bust, he is the team’s next starting center.
With the Patriots trade, I now have two third round picks, and I am somewhat surprised that I get no offers here, either when the round opens or when I come on the clock. That’s fine, because I really didn’t have any intention of making a move, anyway. Here’s my big board for pick 73:
I still need another o-lineman, but I also need at least one defensive lineman early, too. There’s more talent on the offensive side of the ball still remaining, though, and there’s a guy here the Vikings probably have targeted.
Selection, pick 73 (3/9): Charles Omenihu, DT, Texas
Rationale: Bleacher Report has him listed as an EDGE, Arif has him projected a a 3 technique DT in his post on The Athletic, and scouting reports project him as a guy that can do both in the NFL, but will probably transition inside. My only reservation in picking Omenihu is that Spielman doesn’t pick a lot of guys from the Big XII conference, for whatever reason. But he’s firmly in the wheelhouse of what they look for in terms of combine scores, and he’s a great value pick here.
When my second pick in this round comes up, I get two offers:
I’m not too keen on dropping out of the third round. I need another offensive lineman, and with the compensatory picks beginning at the end of this round, anyone I deem as a potential day one starter or early contributor is probably long gone. I decline them both.
Here is the big board for pick 81:
I had two offensive linemen pegged here, figuring one of them would be gone. They’re both still on the board, so taking the higher ranked guy is a no-brainer.
Selection, pick 81 (3/17): Michael Deiter, OL, Wisconsin
Rationale: Although Deiter didn’t make Arif’s combine list, he did post this interesting nugget about the type of offensive linemen both the Vikings and new OL coach Rick Dennison like:
The one area where the Vikings historically have agreed with Dennison teams is the 20-yard split...Of the 13 interior linemen for which we have 20-yard split information, 11 of Dennison’s picks beat the average of 3.03 seconds...Every single tackle the Vikings acquired after 2016 — in undrafted free agency, NFL free agency or the draft — beat the NFL average in 20-yard split.
When looking at his other combine results, and the fact that he has a higher ranking overall than the other lineman I was looking at, Michael Jordan of Ohio State, who was on the Combine list Arif compiled, he seems really close to the type of guy physically the Vikings like. Add in his versatility as a guy that can play all three o-line positions well, and he’s my pick here. Added bonus: He can now visit Paul Bunyan’s axe whenever he wants, since it will permanently reside in Dinkytown now.
When the 4th round begins, I get two offers to trade up, but I’m really not interested. I have my really immediate needs taken care of, and although I need a WR, I don’t feel there’s anyone remaining worth moving up over, so I stand pat. When I come on the clock, this is the big board:
There’s a guy here I think the Vikings like, and he’s at a position of need.
Selection: Miles Sanders, RB, Penn St
Rationale: Six of the top 10 remaining picks are running backs, and with Latavius Murray probably moving on and Roc Thomas’s career now at a dance recital with Mary Jane, a RB here makes sense. Again per Arif, Sanders is only one of five RB’s that meet the Vikings Combine metrics of explosion, which is above average scores in the vertical jump and broad jump, so I took him over the more higher ranked backs that were on the board.
Trevor Siemian says hello, and no fifth round pick for you.
I’m not looking to trade, and thankfully I get no offers. I still need a WR and linebacker, and this is what I see when I come up for my first of two selections in this round:
Sutton Smith is a guy that meets all the combine metrics the Vikings are looking for, and a strong case can be made for him. I’m going in a different direction, though.
Selection, pick 190 (6/17): Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson
Rationale: Renfrow has the potential to become a good WR3 option for the Vikings, and since they currently don’t have one, it wouldn’t surprise me if he pushed to win that role in training camp, with Laquon Treadwell’s time here pretty much done, Aldrick Robinson testing the free agency waters, and no one else stepping up as of yet.
My big board changes somewhat as I come up for my next pick in this round, and Smith is gone. The guy I want isn’t in the top 20 remaining, though, so it doesn’t matter.
Selection, pick 209 (6/36): Blake Cashman, LB, Minnesota
Rationale: Cashman is a guy that had a good combine, exceeds the Vikings combine minimums, is a player at a position of need, and could be a real steal at this point in the sixth round. He’s currently ranked 239 overall, but I don’t think there’s any way he’d still be around in the seventh, so I took him here.
Two picks left. Let’s do our QB pick first.
Selection, pick 247 (7/33): Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota (tough) State University
Rationale: Trevor Siemian is Latin for ‘go away and don’t look back’, Kyle Sloter is the new backup, making Stick is the new project guy.
Next pick. No big board. You don’t care at this point, and you’re lying if you say you do.
Selection, pick 250 (7/36): Mark Fields, CB, Clemson
Rationale: He’s the top layer left, and everyone wants to trade either Trae Waynes or Xavier Rhodes. Be careful what you wish for.
Okay, let’s finish this thing up. Here is your 4.0 draft class:
To get them, I only made this one trade:
Getting that extra third rounder really allowed me to shore up both the offensive and defensive lines, and bailed me out on the Hockenson pick, which I think a lot of people would view as a surprise pick. Although I like Blake Cashman as a late round sleeper pick, I waited too long to address linebacker. Hopefully that’s something the Vikings can shore up in free agency, or it will be a potential weakness for the defense.
If you want to see how the entire draft shook out, check it out here:
Thoughts? Comment below!
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