Saturday, April 2, 2011

Don't Mock Me

I've had the pleasure of acting as the Minnesota Vikings' GM in a full 7-round Mock Draft made up of NFL writers and bloggers. Upon completion of the draft, all 32 teams will be graded by Evan Silva of and Aaron Aloysius of

1.02 (via Denver) — Blaine Gabbert, QB; Missouri
The Vikings have traded picks 1.12, 2.11, and their 2012 2nd rounder to the Denver Broncos for pick 1.02.

Coming into the draft, we’d put a strong emphasis on the quarterback position, and we identified Blaine as the top quarterback prospect early on in the process. Knowing that he’d be in high demand for any of the teams drafting in the 3-8 range, we moved quickly and confidently when Denver made the No. 2 selection available. We are absolutely thrilled to be adding a player of his caliber at such an important position.

We view Blaine as the complete package — he has the tools and athleticism to excel at the next level, and he has the leadership and character that you look for in a franchise quarterback. Our new offensive coordinator, Bill Musgrave, was instrumental in Matt Ryan’s development in Atlanta, and we’re expecting similar results here. We feel that Blaine has the ability to step in and deliver the ball to our offensive playmakers from day one, and we look forward to seeing him in purple.

4.09 (106) — Joseph Barksdale, OT; LSU
Joseph is a very talented prospect with first round potential. He needs to be coached up, and our staff is up to the challenge. At 6’5″, 325 lbs., he has prototypical size for a tackle, and has experience on both the left and right sides. Ideally, we’d like him to start immediately on the right side of our line next to Phil Loadholt, with the two competing for the right tackle position. We feel that either Phil or Joseph could slide inside to right guard, giving Adrian Peterson 670 pounds of beef to run behind.

4.17 (114, via Jacksonville) — Tyler Sash, S; Iowa
The Vikings have acquired pick 4.17 from Jacksonville in exchange for picks 5.08, 5.19, and 7.12.

Tyler will be able to play either safety position in our Cover-2, and he brings several outstanding qualities to our secondary that we’ve been lacking. First and foremost, Tyler’s a flat out playmaker — he’s a violent hitter, and as his 13 career interceptions suggest, he has a nose for the ball. Tyler’s a gamer who displays tremendous instincts, energy, fundamentals, and football I.Q.. He’s a maximum effort player who brings the kind of leadership we’re looking for, and we expect him to make an immediate impact in our secondary. We coveted Tyler, and when he was still available midway through the fourth round, we had to move. With Blaine Gabbert, Joseph Barksdale, and Tyler Sash, we believe we’ve addressed our three biggest areas of weakness with three Week 1 starters.

6.07 (172) — Kris O'Dowd, C; USC
The selection of Kris O'Dowd will go a long way in our continued effort to bolster our offensive line. A four-year starter at USC, Kris became the first true freshman starter at center in school history. He's a very intelligent, passionate player, and his impressive 31 bench press reps at the Combine represent the kind of raw power that we're currently lacking at the position. At 6'4", 304 lbs., Kris grades out as a 3rd-4th round prospect whose history of knee and shoulder injuries affected his draft stock. Still, we strongly considered him with one of our 4th round selections, and we expect him to compete immediately with incumbent John Sullivan.

6.35 (200) — DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB; Miami

Last year we took a flier on a prospect with rare athleticism at pick No. 199 (Joe Webb), and we think it's turned out very well. In many ways, we're taking a similar approach here. It's hard not to be enamored with DeMarcus' raw potential. His 4.25 40-yard dash was the fastest at the Combine, and the third fastest in the past decade. In addition to his blazing speed, he has excellent height for a cornerback (6'1"). We felt that DeMarcus' freakish height/speed combination were worth a shot at this point in the draft. At 175 lbs., he'll clearly need to spend some time in the weight room. Moreover, his actual football skills are incredibly raw. Minnesota is the perfect fit for DeMarcus. He won't be pressured to play immediately, new coach Leslie Frazier is a defensive backs guru, and veteran Antoine Winfield provides second-to-none tutelage. Our goal is to turn this amazing athlete into a football player.

7.33 (236) — Jonas Mouton, OLB; Michigan
We're thrilled to be adding a player of Jonas' caliber this late in the draft. Nicknamed "The Assassin," he was highly productive last season, leading the Big Ten with 111 tackles (including 8.5 for loss), two sacks, two interceptions, and a forced fumble. A former safety, Mouton plays faster than his Combine numbers would suggest. He's a big hitter who plays with a lot of intensity, and if he can harness some of his aggression and become more disciplined, he'll develop into a very solid player at the next level.


  1. I love the ideas of trading up for Gabbert and taking Sash in the 4th, but if you think Loadholt can shift inside and be effective, I think you're mistaken. His run blocking abilities are severely lacking and I have no doubt that he'll struggle with the footwork. Barksdale is still a decent option. I just don't agree on Loadholt.

  2. Regarding Loadholt, I'm just relaying what's been widely speculated -- many have said that the Viking may target a LT in round one, move McKinnie to RT, and slide Loadholt to RG. Admittedly, I'm no expert on breaking down offensive guard footwork, though, so you could very well be right. Either way, I like bringing in a talent like Barksdale to, at the very least, provide great depth and push McKinnie to give more effort and Loadholt to give more consistency.

    It would be weird seeing a safety (Sash) around the ball. Most Sundays I wonder if we're playing with nine on defense.