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NFL.com ranks Rick Spielman among league’s best drafters

Or the best at using his “draft capital”

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We are now a mere two weeks away from the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland, and that means we’re two weeks away from the time where Minnesota Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman makes us celebrate and then turns around and trades down eighteen times in an effort to acquire the entire seventh round of the draft.

It’s gonna be great!

Over at NFL.com, Gregg Rosenthal has put together a set of “General Manager Power Rankings” going into this year’s selection meeting, and I think that we can safely say that Mr. Rosenthal thinks pretty highly of the king of Rickspeak. Spielman slots in at #6 in Rosenthal’s rankings.

Here’s Rosenthal’s commentary on Spielman’s recent draft prowess:

Spielman has quietly been with the Vikings since 2006 and received the general manager title in 2012. Selecting Justin Jefferson last year was the latest in a string of big draft hits (Stefon Diggs, Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks and Dalvin Cook). Plucking five Pro Bowlers over the past six drafts is impressive, though Spielman’s getting further removed from the 2015 bounty that landed Diggs, Hunter and Hendricks. The Vikings GM would rank even higher if not for a few first-round misfires (Laquon Treadwell, Mike Hughes, Garrett Bradbury) and a general struggle to solve the offensive line despite investing a lot of draft capital.

Rosenthal says that Spielman’s best pick for his ranking period (which goes back to 2015) was Jefferson, while his biggest misfire was the selection of Laquon Treadwell in 2016).

I know that a lot of people have their issues with Rick Spielman, and I have my issues with some of the things he’s done, too. But he has had significantly more hits than misses over the years, and some of the guys that you’d classify as “misses” weren’t even necessarily his fault. I mean, I’m not going to hold Sharrif Floyd’s doctor screwing up a routine surgery or Teddy Bridgewater’s leg almost falling off against Rick Spielman. Those things weren’t his fault.

The criticism of not being able to fix the offensive line is significant, though, and very accurate. It’s not like the Vikings haven’t tried to fix the offensive line with guys like Bradbury, and they did get Brian O’Neill a few years ago, who has been solid. But that just seems to be Spielman’s biggest blind spot and I’m not sure how he can go about fixing it.

The five GMs that Rosenthal ranked ahead of Spielman were

  1. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts)
  2. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  3. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  4. Brandon Beane/Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills)
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints)

It would be pretty difficult to justify putting Spielman ahead of any of those guys, to be sure.

What do you think of Rosenthal’s GM Power Rankings, folks?