I have been privileged to perform the role of “Vikings Analyst” by doing the mock drafts for Drafttek since December of 2019. I am going to list the different variations that I have on hand for this draft season at the end of this post for reference.
We are one week away from the 2021 NFL Draft. It is becoming abundantly clear that if the Vikings do not make a trade or sign a veteran free agent then offensive tackle is going to have to be the number one priority in the draft. An edge rusher would be really nice but it is hard to fathom that they would bypass an offensive tackle in the first round with the hope that they could trade up from the third round or stay put and find a player that would be ready on day one.
The majority of people feel that the rankings for offensive tackles go Penei Sewell, Rahshawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw, Tevin Jenkins, Samuel Cosmi, and Jalen Mayfield. Alijah Vera-Tucker could be mixed into this group but he is thought of more as a guard.
I have a contrarian viewpoint which should come as no surprise. Let us begin the mock.
1.14 ALEX LEATHERWOOD OT ALABAMA
6’5.1” 312 34.5” ARMS
Alex Leatherwood did not opt-out of the season. He won the Outland Trophy, was a unanimous first-team All-American, and was co-recipient of the SEC Jacobs Blocking Trophy. He averaged an overall blocking grade of 91.5 by the Alabama coaching staff and a 99.7 on assignments. He posted an 85 3/8-inch wingspan (98th percentile) and a 34.5-inch vertical leap (98th percentile). Leatherwood ran a 4.96 40-yard dash (94th percentile) and posted a 9-foot, 10-inch broad jump (99th percentile). He helped the team win the National Championship as a bonus.
Leatherwood started off the season as the #2 offensive tackle in the PFF rankings. Yet, somehow despite all of his accomplishments, he has fallen way down the rankings to a 2nd rounder? Really? Dudes did not even play and jumped him.
He is bonafide and it could be argued that he is the best offensive tackle in this draft IMHO.
3.78 ALIM MCNEIL DT NORTH CAROLINA STATE
McNeil is underrated as a potential pass rusher and many are penciling him in as a nose. I think he could surprise but he brings stout run defense already. He made Bruce Feldman’s College Football Freaks list too. He benches 445 pounds and squats 640 and ran a 4.96 forty.
3.90 AARON BANKS OG NOTRE DAME
Banks may not be the best fit for the zone blocking scheme but he has started 31 games in a solid program. He should be able to handle power fairly well.
4.119 DERRICK BARNES LB PURDUE
Barnes had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and has risen up draft boards. The Vikings met with him too.
4.125 JAELON DARDON WRS NORTH TEXAS
Darden would be a nice addition to the receiver group and should excel out of the slot. He does bring some return ability as well.
4.134 TREY SERMON RB OHIO STATE
Sermon is another player the Vikings met with and he proved his value in the playoffs last season. He caught the ball out of the backfield at Oklahoma and could be a solid candidate for the 3rd down back role when Cook needs a break.
4.143 PAYTON TURNER DE HOUSTON
Turner is a solid defensive end that has all the traits you look to develop. He has 35” arms which only is going to add to his value. This is probably one round too late to be able to get Turner to be honest.
5.157 ROBERT ROCHELL CB CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Another member of the Freak’s list. Rochell vertical jumped 43”, broad jumped 11’1”, ran a 4.41 forty, had a 4.08 short shuttle, and a 6.84 3-cone. He was named one of 18 finalists for the Stats Perform FCS Buck Buchanan Award and was an FCS All-American and a two-time All-Southland Conference selection.
5.168 DAVIS MILLS QB STANFORD
I suppose Davis in the 5th round would be quite a steal eh? I am not so sure. I know the pre-draft hype has him as a potential 1st round pick but I think he could go by the end of round 3. He does not have many starts.
6.199 DARRICK FORREST S CINCINNATI
Forrest would be a nice addition to the safety depth chart. He ran the 40-yard dash in an unofficial time of 4.38 seconds, had 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, a vertical jump of 39 inches, and a broad jump of 11 feet to steal the show at Cincinnati’s pro day.
I could live with this draft and I would hope that Banks would win the left guard job. If not this year then definitely by the end of the year or next year. Worst case scenario is Leatherwood goes to right guard and Cleveland goes to left tackle.
Previous mocks below ...