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Can Mock Drafts Aid Free Agency Decisions? The Vikings Do Them & So Do We!

In this episode of The Real Forno Show, let’s mock! We delve into the critical decisions the Minnesota Vikings face for their future, including exploring the potential of mock drafts guiding free-agent choices. With 28 players set to hit the free-agent market, we discuss which players might be re-signed or let go based on the mock drafts. We also consider the team’s potential strategies, from the quarterback’s future to prioritizing defense. Join us as we run our first mock draft simulation of the 2024 NFL draft cycle. SKOL!

Welcome to another episode of “The Real Forno Show,” where hosts Tyler Forness and Dave delve into the intricate world of the NFL draft. Our hosts provide listeners with a deep exploration of mock drafts and their complex relationship with free agency decisions. They unpack the strategies behind mock drafts, evaluate draft prospects, and discuss how free agency can shape a team’s draft approach. This episode offers a wealth of insights into the nuances of the draft process, player potential, and crucial strategic decisions.

The Significance of Mock Drafts

Tyler and Dave kick off the show by delving deep into the intriguing world of mock drafts. The hosts share their perspectives and strategies around mock drafts, discussing the unpredictability and the constantly shifting dynamics. The conversation is a stark reminder that in the realm of mock drafts, nothing is set in stone.

Mock drafts, often dismissed as mere guesswork, are a topic of discussion at the start of the episode. Tyler Forness, the host of The Real Forno Show, points out that these drafts are not just about predicting the outcome. Instead, they serve as crucial exercises for exploring possible outcomes of the draft.

The essence of a mock draft lies in its ability to simulate various scenarios, providing teams with a chance to prepare for different situations that might occur during the actual draft. Despite the uncertainty and unpredictability of the NFL draft, these mock drafts allow teams to anticipate potential challenges and outcomes, making them an essential part of every organization’s preparation for the draft season.

The Role of Free Agency in Shaping Draft Strategy

The conversation then shifts to the role of free agency in influencing a team’s approach to the draft. Free agency, which allows teams to contract players, plays a significant role in shaping the dynamics of the draft.

The decisions made during free agency, such as which players are re-signed, can drastically shift a team’s approach to the draft. For instance, if a team decides to sign its quarterback to a long-term deal during free agency, it’s highly unlikely that they will draft a quarterback. Thus, free agency helps address the team’s immediate needs, allowing the draft to focus on acquiring long-term talent. Each team will conduct hundreds of mock drafts and player evaluations to understand where targeted players can be accessed. Just as free agency influences draft strategy, this knowledge can also impact free agency strategy. It helps teams concentrate on players they want to either re-sign or acquire in free agency.

Evaluating Draft Prospects: More Than Just Skills

Tyler and his producer, Dave, delve into the evaluation of draft prospects. They highlight that assessing a prospect’s potential fit with the team goes beyond evaluating their skills and performance. It includes understanding their potential role in the team and how they could align with the team’s overall strategy.

The hosts also discuss the implications of prospects’ performances in different settings, like the Senior Bowl, on their draft stock. They highlight that strong performances in such settings could significantly increase a player’s value, influencing their position in the draft.

Trading Back in the Draft: A Strategic Move

An interesting strategy discussed in this episode is the idea of trading back in the draft. This strategic move allows a team to acquire more picks, thereby increasing their chances of bolstering the team with talented players.

The hosts explore potential trade scenarios, weighing the benefits and possible outcomes of such decisions. They discuss how trading back could provide a team with an opportunity to draft promising players who could contribute significantly to the team’s success.

The Unexpected Fall of Jaden Daniels

The spotlight shifts to Jaden Daniels and his surprising position in the draft. Tyler’s surprise is palpable as he notes that he’s never seen Daniels fall this low. He draws a comparison to the 2021 draft, where Justin Fields fell to 11, a move that no one saw coming. In this version of the mock draft, the hosts secure the quarterback of the future at 11, without having to move up. It’s a reminder that in the draft, the unexpected is the norm.

Chop Robinson: A Prospect with Potential

The hosts delve into an in-depth discussion about Chop Robinson. Tyler is vocal about Robinson’s raw talent, his incredible get off the ball, and the potential he holds. He suggests that with the right coaching, Robinson could be a major asset. This discussion emphasizes the importance of proper coaching and player development.

While Waiting on the Board to Fall - Decoding Justin Jefferson’s Future

Tyler and Dave turn their attention to a quote from Justin Jefferson about his contract and his future with the Minnesota Vikings. They dissect Jefferson’s words, agreeing that despite his comments about wanting to get paid, there is no immediate concern. This segment is a reflection of the hosts’ ability to cut through the noise and understand the implications of players’ statements.

In-depth Player Analysis

Tyler and Dave take listeners on a deep dive into an extensive list of player prospects, including Bucky Irving, RB Washington, Mason Smith, DT/ED LSU, Malik Washington, WR UVA, and many others. The hosts meticulously dissect each player’s strengths, potential fit, and what they could bring to a team. This analysis provides listeners with a comprehensive understanding of these players and their potential impact.

Valuing a Good Backup

Tyler underscores the importance of having a capable backup quarterback, using Josh Dobbs as an example. He proposes signing Dobbs to an incentive-laden deal, where bonuses would be awarded to him if he starts a significant number of games. Could Dobbs become a good backup player after a full offseason of coaching and learning the Kevin O’Connell offensive system? This segment highlights the critical role that backup players play in a team.

The Quest for a Wide Receiver

The hosts turn their focus to the search for a depth receiver. Tyler singles out David White Jr., a tall (6’4”) and explosive player with real athleticism and potential from Western Carolina. The segment emphasizes the need for teams to focus not just on the starting lineup but also on providing depth to the team.

The Tight End Dilemma

Tyler responds to a viewer’s query about the tight end position, suggesting that the spot would probably be better suited for a veteran. He suggests the Vikings will bring back both Johnny Mundt and Nick Muse in free agency. He believes the tight end room is competent enough until Hockenson comes back. This advice demonstrates the hosts’ understanding of team dynamics and the importance of balancing player roles.

The Results of Vikings 1st & SKOL’s First Mock Draft:

Vikings 1st & SKOL’s 7 round mock draft version 1.0

PFF’s mock draft simulator was used. Would you be happy with it?

Wrapping Up: The Intricate Strategies Behind the NFL Draft

In conclusion, The Real Forno Show emphasizes the complex strategies that underpin the NFL draft. The hosts highlight that while mock drafts might seem like mere guesswork, they are, in fact, a critical tool for teams to prepare for various scenarios.

They also underline the pivotal role of free agency in altering the draft dynamics. By filling immediate needs, free agency allows the draft to focus on acquiring long-term talent.

The hosts remind listeners to keep an open mind when evaluating draft prospects, as performances in different settings can significantly impact a player’s draft stock. Lastly, they discuss the potential strategy of trading back in the draft to acquire more picks, thereby increasing the chances of strengthening the team.

The episode provides valuable insights into the NFL draft, highlighting the thought and strategy that goes into building a successful team. It underscores that the NFL draft isn’t just about picking the best players but about making strategic decisions that will contribute to the team’s long-term success.



As the show wraps up, Tyler and Dave have traversed a myriad of topics, from the intricacies of mock drafts, the potential impact of free agency decisions, and vice versa, to a thorough analysis of various player prospects. Their discussions are a rich tapestry of insights, analysis, and informed opinions, making “The Real Forno Show” a must-listen for every football enthusiast. Don’t miss out on the next episode for more detailed discussions on the fascinating world of football.


Tyler Forness @TheRealForno of Vikings 1st & SKOL @Vikings1stSKOL and the Vikings Wire @TheVikingsWire and Dave Stefano @Luft_Krigare producing this Vikings 1st & SKOL production, on the @RealFornoShow. Podcasts partnered with Fans First Sports Network @FansFirstSN and Fans First Sports Network’s NFL feed @FFSN_NFL.