FanPost

How Kwesi Pulled the 2022 Vikings Draft Out of a Nosedive




I was concerned.

I was worried.

I was a Rick Spielman supporter. I hated to see him go but wanted his successor to do as well or better.

The draft is a huge part of Kwesi's job and an even bigger factor in the Vikings future. Few teams draft poorly and do well. The Patriots are an exception because they lucked into a Hall of Fame QB in the 6th round. Was it luck? You bet. Can I prove it? You bet. If they had any hint, any clue at all, that Brady might be that good they never would have waited until the 6th round. That's it. That's proof.

Even the Seahawks, now known for bizarre and terrible drafting, were built by great drafts. Legion of Boom and Russell Wilson. But then they stopped drafting well, started drafted terrible, and now they are in the NFC basement. So they are proof of what happens both when you draft well and when you draft poorly.

I knew Rick would be hard for Kwesi to top so I was uneasy coming into the draft.

And I knew where to look. The 1st round. More than half of each team's draft value is in that one 1st round pick. It is more valuable than all their other picks combined.

As a Vikings fan since 1980, there were only three 1st round draft picks that truly dismayed me. Dimitrius Underwood was one. Derrick Alexander was another. The other was Christian Ponder. I had Ponder as a 3rd rounder. I was praying we would not consider taking him in the 2nd round. I was eyeing Robert Quinn with our pick in the first round.

They announced the pick of Ponder at #12 overall (like this year's pick....) and I remember I fell to my knees, eyes tightly closed, trying to deny it had happened. I was probably on the floor several minutes.

Of course, there were other picks over the years who, in hindsight, should have dismayed me. Darrin Nelson, Gerald Robinson, D.J. Dozier, Troy Williamson, Erasmus James, Laquon Treadwell.

Then came 2022.

I was fine with a trade-back but I was in disbelief at the compensation. I assumed we'd get #32 and #34 straight up and hoped the 3rd rounder or next year's 2nd rounder. I could not fathom a 20 spot swap back in the 1st round in return for a 12 spot swap forward in Rd 2 and a 3rd round pick.

I kept thinking the announcers had it wrong. But, finally, I realized they had it correct. Tell me something 9 times and put it on 6 different websites and I start to believe.

I felt betrayed. I was horrified at our future guided by the apparent foolishness of Kwesi.

In my perception, we were in a nosedive. I did not think there was any way to pull out of it.

And...

It probably wasn't a nosedive at all and...

Kwesi pulled it off and pulled the Vikings out of it!

First, just looking at who we may have taken at #12 and who we did take at #32 worked a lot of magic. After the first 11 picks were in, I wanted Jordan Davis. A lot of us did. That was partly based on a misunderstanding on my part (more on that later) but mostly because I think he's going to be a great player.

I do think more highly of Jordan Davis than Lewis Cine. I do. But, I agree with, I think it was Krauser, who posted he did not think the Vikings were ever going to take Davis. I agree because we took no DTs all draft. We filled lots of needs and simply did not view that as a need.

I thought of our new defense as a 3-4 with Z.Smith and Hunter as the OLBs. I thought we had two starting DL - Tomlinson and Phillips -- and needed a 3rd.

But we are implementing a hybrid scheme. From that and from Pettine's work with the Packers, it ends up looking like a 4-2-5 in base defense with the Edge players, Smith and Hunter, operating as DEs much more than OLBs. Which means we did not need a 3rd starting DL but needed another starting DB.

Preferably someone who can cover and also is tough and fast versus the run. The size of linebackers does not do much for them. They've gotten smaller and faster.

At any rate, I agree, we would not have taken Davis at #12. We would have taken, best guess, one of these players:

Kyle Hamilton

Jameson Williams

Trent McDuffie

Lewis Cine

We can go ahead and eliminate Williams, another fan favorite. Kwesi was focused on filling needs, as well he should be. That is not to say he made reaches, just that he took care of business. Filling needs is always important but even more so when installing new schemes and a new defense. McCardell, for God's sake, begged him not to take a WR in round one. He was never going to take Williams. Start off his tenure using the top pick on the team's least need? No thank you, Bob.

So, forget Davis and Williams.

Kyle Hamilton? I hope not. Cine is a better prospect.

Trent McDuffie? I hope not. We got a better prospect (and I said as much before the draft) in Round 2.

So then... Lewis Cine at #12 overall? Don't laugh. As a for instance, the Cowboys draft board, leaked by Jerrah flashing it defensively with senile panache at a post-draft presser, showed Lewis Cine as the player they rated 13th best in the entire draft.

So maybe we got some draft pick compensation and still got the same player we would have taken.

Or we got some draft pick compensation and got a player better than the one we would have taken at #12.

In the light of who we may have taken at #12 versus who we did take at #32, the trade, in hindsight, makes sense. More than that, impossibly, almost magically, it makes Kwesi's stupid trade look almost, dare I say it, brilliant!

I love everything about Cine. His size, his speed, how hard he hits, how smart he plays, how he can play in the box or deep, that he was the leading tackler and leading passes knocked down of the #1 defense on college football.

Harrison Smith, Bynum, and Cine can all be on the field at the same time. When we play two safeties he can vie with Bynum to be the second. When Smith's time as a Viking ends, Cine can take over.

It all makes sense now!

The 2nd round was really magical. I wanted Booth at #34 overall. We turned that pick into two 2nd rounders. By the trade value chart I refer to (I would not say "trust"), we screwed the Packers over to the tune of a 3rd round pick differential in our favor. Watson is a good player but he is a 2nd round player, not only in fact, but in assessed value.

We still got Booth. That did cost a 3rd and 4th round pick swap to move up to #42 from #53. That 4th later became two 5ths. Its hard to keep track of all the twists and turns. But you could say we gave up our #34 pick and 3rd round pick (#77) to get Andrew Booth (who I would have loved at #34 and we may well have taken him there if we hadn't made the trade), OG Ed Ingram, DE Esezi Otomewo, and RB Ty Chandler.

I view Booth as a Round 1 caliber player. In fact, I rank him higher than Cine.

So Kwesi took the 1st round trade that looked like an incompetent disaster in real time and looks great in hindsight, then screwed the Packers in Rd 2, picked up a middle 1st round player in Rd 2 (Booth), and took a Guard who may well start this year. I was watching a PFF round-table at the time of the pick and one of the four guys is a hardcore Packers fan. When the Vikings took Ingram he blinked rapidly and muttered, "Great pick. Immediate starter."

I know nothing of the criminal concern regarding Ingram other than it is in the past and the case was dropped. That's all we know for sure. He was never found guilty or even brought to trial. No other trouble, no trouble since then. So I'm not going to worry about it. He started multiple years at LSU, faced the highest level of competition, and was the #1 interior pass protector in the SEC!

Which is exactly what we need. An OG who can pass protect. He also is no slouch when run blocking.

He may start year one. It was both a need pick and a fair value pick.

Asamoah at #66? PFF had him ranked at #48. (They had Booth at #23 and Cine at #26)

Three of our first four picks were great values with Booth qualifying as a major steal. Ingram iss a perfect fit for our need and offense. OL always seem to go earlier than expected. Just look at Cole Strange and Tyler Smith.

Of our other picks the one I'm most excited about is Jalen Nailor. An interesting aspect to that pick is the involvement of WR coach Keenan McCardell urging Kwesi to draft him. And Kwesi did. That was something Rick Spielman used to do. He got the coaches involved in the draft and he listened to them. That's how we ended up with Harrison Smith, Danielle Hunter, and Stefon Diggs (and, yes, Willie Beavers).

Rick involves the coaches and so does Kwesi.

Rick made lots of trades and so does Kwesi.

Hopefully Kwesi can be as masterful as Rick was with 2nd round picks.

Kwesi has the same scouting department that Rick had. All he has to do is listen to needs like he does, maneuver with trades like he does, and listen to the scouts as per best prospects.

I endorse this draft!

I don't look at drafts based on sheer haul. If you did that the the pick stackers, the Jets of the world, or the teams with a top overall pick would always be the "winners." I look at the value of the picks at the start against the value of the players drafted against the needs that needed filling.

Kwesi started the draft with 8 picks, two extra 6th rounders and no 4th rounder. He ended the draft with 10 picks, an extra 2nd, an extra 5th, two extra 6ths, and no 7th rounder.

He started the draft with one 1st round pick and extracted two 1st round values.

3 of the first 4 picks were steals to varying degrees.

The top team needs, in hindsight, were Cornerback, Safety, Guard. All were filled early, one was filled twice.

If you look only as expected value based on actual picks to start with versus achieved value and then subtract or not depending on needs not being filled, Kwesi's first draft was an A.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.