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Stock Market Report: NFL Draft, rounds 1-3

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The Vikings continued to address needs without trading for Trent Williams

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Mississippi State Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings entered the 2020 NFL Draft with a ton of needs and 12 draft picks. The Vikings had to address wide receiver, the offensive line, and the secondary, but they also needed to shore up depth on the defensive line, and address some other needs as well.

After their first four picks were finished, they not only addressed their primary needs, they somehow ended up with...carry the one..13 more picks awaiting them in the final four rounds. Wait, what? No, that’s not a misprint. They started the draft with 12 picks, and after the third round, they had made four picks...and still had 13 more picks to go.

Conversely, the New Orleans Saints have no remaining picks left in this draft.

And the Saints gave the Vikings all these picks:

so they could draft a tight end out of Dayton, so YOLO I guess. It’s like a mini Ricky WIlliams trade, except it’s for a backup tight end. From the MAC. Spielman would have been stupid not to make that trade.

I mean if you’re gonna go, Go Big or Go Home, isn’t that right American Authors?

I gave the dice a roll

And then we lost control

You know we’re lucky that we survived

Cause when we jumped the ship

Oh, man, that boat, it flipped

But we should do it all again tonight

I’m thinking life’s too short; it’s passing by

So if we’re gonna go at all

Go big or go

(Go! Go!)Go big or go home

(Go! Go!)Go big or go home

(Go! Go!)Go big or go home

(Go! Go!)Go big or go home

(Go! Go!)Go big or go home

The Stock Market Report that’s feeling pretty good about itself follows.

Blue Chip Stocks

Justin Jefferson, WR, and Jeff Gladney, CB: I really liked the first two picks the Vikings made. Like I mentioned in my day one recap, it’s premature to say that Jefferson will replace Stefon Diggs and Gladney will replace a combination of Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander, and Trae Waynes. But the Vikings realized that these two positions were the ones that needed to be addressed first, and they got two players that will have a chance to step in and produce right away. It’s no guarantee that they will, but they are both talented enough to give you optimism that they can.

Solid Investments

Ezra Cleveland, OT: Rumors were swirling that the Vikings were closing in on a deal with the Washington Redskins for LT Trent Williams. I had kind of thought that if the Vikes were going to pull the trigger, it had to be before they picked in the second round, so they would have the option to draft an offensive lineman if a Williams trade fell through. When it came to light that Williams didn’t want to be traded to Minnesota, the potential trade was over, and the Vikings looked to the draft to bolster the offensive line. The second round fell out perfectly for the Vikings to do just that, as Ezra Cleveland was there for the taking, and the Vikings now have their potential LT of the future.

Cameron ‘Hold Me Closer Tiny’ Danzler, CB: About the only thing I can see as to why this guy fell into the third round was because he ran a 4.6 40 at the NFL Combine. At his Pro Day (virtual, because of the ‘rona), he was clocked at 4.38, and he’s probably somewhere in between. The guy is still a heck of a good football player, and will help bolster what has to be one of the youngest secondaries in the NFL. Both Gladney and Danzler are strong man-press corners, the type Mike Zimmer likes, so you get the feeling both guys will come in and compete for significant playing time right away. For as much potential and youth the secondary has, they are short on experience, and the learning curve could be steep:

Junk Bonds

None. As has become my tradition with the draft edition of the SMR, hundreds of young men have been or will be given a chance of realizing their boyhood dream of playing in the NFL this weekend. Congratulations to each and every player, even the guys that get picked by Green Bay. May your NFL journey end in the Hall of Fame.

Buy/Sell

Buy: Trading a day three pick for Trent Williams. Obviously, if the guy doesn’t want to come to Minnesota, don’t make the trade. But before that information was made public, trading a day 3 pick for a guy that’s one of the top tackles in the NFL was a no-brainer good deal.

Sell: Not trading for Trent Williams. Besides the ‘yeah I don’t want to play in Minnesota’ angle, Williams is going to be 32, hasn’t played in a year, has an injury history, and wants a big contract. You’re probably not going to get a whole lot of years out of him, and the Vikings would have needed to draft his eventual replacement sooner rather than later, anyway.

Buy: Drafting Ezra Cleveland. So yeah, drafting Cleveland now makes sense. They don’t take on another big veteran contract, they have a cost controlled player at a key position, and assuming he takes over for Riley Reiff in 2021, they’ll get two seasons to evaluate him to see if they got the right guy moving forward.

Sell: Not getting an interior offensive lineman yet. As promising as Cleveland is, Minnesota still needs to find a couple of interior offensive linemen over these last four rounds to come in and compete with Pat Elflein and Dru Samia, the presumed starter on the right side. I don’t know that there was an interior lineman worth taking over a guy that can potentially be your franchise left tackle, but with 13 picks left I’d like to see the Vikings get aggressive and go after a guy early in the fourth round.

Buy: Having enough draft picks to address any more needs. Fortunately, Minnesota has the draft capital to do just that. They have three picks each in rounds 4-6, and four picks in the seventh round. They should be able to move up and get whoever they want, and I hope they will.

Sell: Trading down. That said, Rick Spielman loves trading down in later rounds, and I think he feels that if he can somehow acquire every seventh round pick, he will reach GM Nirvana and be reborn as a Mr. Irrelevant pick that ends up going into the Hall of Fame. In his press conference at the end of the third round, Spielman hinted he might use a lot of those picks to draft players that they might normally pursue as undrafted free agents:

With the unique situation the COVID-19 pandemic has put all of us under, it affects the pursuing of undrafted free agents, too. Instead of getting aggressive and getting some possible gems in the fourth and fifth rounds, we could see the Vikes use most of those remaining picks to fill out the roster, and sign a smaller class of UFDA’s.

Stay tuned, because Saturday is going to be wild.