It seems like the NFL Draft should be just a week or two away. At the very most a month… But May 8th? The agony! It feels like it’s a lifetime away. So, to pass the time, we speculate. We try and predict the decisions of32 NFL franchises when they are on the clock. Of course, we’re always far, far off from what actually transpires. In fact, I went back and looked at my mock from last year… Want to know how many selections I got correct?

Not a single one.

That’s okay, though. I was in good company… Well known draft expert Mel Kiper didn’t have one correct pick in the first round either. (Technically, Kiper did mock Patterson to the Vikings, just at the wrong spot. He also mocked Eddie Lacy to the Packers but, again, at the wrong spot.)

Mike Mayock? We all know Mayock is one of the best in the biz. How many picks did he get right? Well, he hit on like five or six. But, I mean… This is what this guy dedicates his entire year to.

Truth is, there are just far too many variables to consider, things that change, trades, smoke screens, etc. to get anywhere near accurate with these kind of draft predictions. Nevertheless, they are incredibly entertaining because they simulate the possibilities of what could be come May 8th. The young stars who could potentially take your favorite team to the next level.

I have the honor of getting things started this offseason here at VT with my first mock of the year. While it was fun, I’m sure there will be a bunch of changes in the following months. As you’ll see, I have the Houston Texans selecting quarterback Blake Bortles with the first overall pick. This may come as a disappointment to some as it seems Bortles has become a favorite amongst Vikings fans at the eighth overall pick. Bortles to the Texans just seems like a good possibility, though. Although raw, I think Bortles athleticism, size and raw talent is probably intriguing to Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien. O’Brien also got to see what Bortles is capable of first hand when Penn State was beat at home by the Bortles-lead UCF Knights 34-31. Bortles has the potential to be the prototypical quarterback quite a few franchises will be looking for. Franchises that are drafting¬†ahead of the Minnesota Vikings.

Continue on for the rest of the picks in the draft along with some analysis of how and why selections were made. Of course, would love to hear your thoughts on the Vikings selection and your own predictions on how everything will transpire. Enjoy!

PickTeamPlayer SelectedAnalysis
1Houston
QB / OT / S
Blake Bortles
QB / Central Florida
I would be surprised if Houston does not go with a QB here. Clowney is an option, but I think the closer we get to the draft, the further he will fall.
2St. Louis (from Washington)
OL / WR / S
Jake Matthews
OT / Texas A&M
Strong offensive line class this year headed up by Jake Matthews.
3Jacksonville
QB / DE / OT
Johnny Manziel
QB / Texas A&M
Obviously, Jacksonville has a big need at QB. But I think this pick goes further than that. Jaguars need someone who can ignite the fan base and fill EverBank Field. Manziel could definitely be that guy. Whether or not he can be a successful franchise QB at the next level? That's another question... But I have my doubts.
4Cleveland
QB / RB / OG
Teddy Bridgewater
QB / Louisville
Another QB gone. Saying things were blown up this offseason in Cleveland would be an understatement. They need a guy at the helm that can attempt to set the ship straight. Bridgewater could be the #1 overall pick, but I think his decision to not participate at the combine is going to hurt his draft stock. Maybe even enough to have him fall further.
5Oakland
QB / WR / OT
Jadeveon Clowney
DE / South Carolina
Lamarr Houston is likely to be franchised but there is still a need on the other side for a DE. Clowney obviously has the potential to be the #1 pick, but his fall off this past season and questions regarding his work ethic will hurt his draft stock.
6Atlanta
DE / OL / TE
Anthony Barr
OLB / UCLA
The Falcons could use a dynamic pass-rusher and Anthony Barr is arguably the best player available here. You could also slot Khalil Mack here as both are good fits, but Barr rates out slightly higher.
7Tampa Bay
DE / TE / OT
Sammy Watkins
WR / Clemson
I really wanted to put Khalil Mack here as I think it fills a bigger need... But if Watkins falls this far, it's going to be very hard for ANY team to pass. If he was there for the Vikings at 8, I would slot him there and feel great about it. Watkins is an amazing talent who could go #2 overall to the Rams even.
8Minnesota
QB / LB / CB / OG
Khalil Mack
LB / Buffalo
Mack has become my new infatuation and I may have been somewhat biased by having him bypass a couple of the teams above. With the three big QBs off the board, I think the Vikings will definitely go defense here if they can't move back. (Again, I also think Watkins could be a possibility. Can you imagine Patterson, Jennings and Watkins? Throw Rudolph and AD into the mix and I don't care who's throwing the ball!) Khalil Mack is a beast and the Vikings are going to need a pass rusher as they are likely to lose #69 to free agency. Robison, Griffen (or another DE) with Mack could cause problems for opposing offensive lines. Mack also does well in coverage which the Vikings have seemed to always struggle with at LB.
9Buffalo
LB / TE / RT
Greg Robinson
OT / Auburn
Best player available although it does not fit a pressing hole. Could also see a big wide receiver like Mike Evans here too.
10Detriot
CB / WR / S
Mike Evans
WR / Texas A&M
A wide receiver to Detroit? No way! A Johnson / Evans tandem would torture NFC North secondaries for a long time. Rhodes does not approve of this pick!
11Tennessee
S / DE / QB
Taylor Lewan
OT / Michigan
12New York Giants
LB / CB / OG
Ra'shede Hageman
DT / Minnesota
13St. Louis
OL / WR / S
Darqueze Dennard
CB / Michigan State
Consensus #1 CB on the board goes to St. Louis who uses their second pick in the first round to shore up a secondary which will likely not have Cortland Finnegan next season.
14Chicago
DL / S / OL
HaHa Clinton-Dix
S / Alabama
Major Wright is a free agent so the Bears may be looking to add a Safety. HaHa is the best safety in the class and will bring some intensity to the Bears' secondary.
15Pittsburgh
OT / S / CB
Justin Gilbert
CB / Oklahoma State
While I think the Steelers really need to add a playmaker at WR, I think this draft is deep enough to allow them to do that later. Their secondary was pretty bad last season and could definitely use an upgrade.
16Dallas
DE / CB / S
Timmy Jernigan
DT / Florida State
17Baltimore
OT / C / WR
Kelvin Benjamin
WR / Florida State
The Ravens need a big possession receiver for Flacco as they struggled mightily in this department with the departure of Anquan Boldin.
18New York Jets
WR / OG / CB
CJ Mosley
LB / Alabama
I have Mosley too low. I know it. The Jets know it. That's why they would jump at the opportunity if things were to play out this way.
19Miami
OT / OG / RB
Zack Martin
OT / Notre Dame
The Dolphins offensive line is an absolute mess. They should probably spend the entire draft focusing on OL solely. Zack Martin is a start.
20Arizona
OT / CB / OLB
Derek Carr
QB / Fresno State
Derek Carr will be able to sit back for a year or two while Palmer finishes his career. The Cardinals have to start thinking about adding a franchise QB. A mid-round selection on the possibility will be well worth it if Derek Carr pans out.
21Green Bay
TE / S / LB
Louis Nix
DT / Notre Dame
B.J. Raji out. Louis Nix in. Could also see the Packers going Eric Ebron here to replace Finley who isn't expected to return.
22Philadelphia
OLB / S / CB
Brandin Cooks
WR / Oregon State
Cooks really showed off at the combine putting his speed, agility and ball catching skills on display. Chip Kelly loves speed and could use another wideout with two of their current WRs becoming free agents (Cooper, Maclin).
23Kansas City
WR / DL / ILB
Marqise Lee
WR / USC
Alex Smith has nobody to throw the ball to. Yes, that is including Dwayne Bowe.
24Cincinnati
CB / OLB / S
Kony Ealy
DE / Missouri
With Michael Johnson gone (and very likely a Viking), the Bengals will likely look for a replacement. The athletic Kony Ealy from Missouri could be that guy.
25San Diego
CB / OG / OLB
Lamarcus Joyner
CB / Florida State
San Diego is hurting for an upgrade at cornerback.
26Cleveland (from Indy)
QB / RB / OG
Odell Beckham Jr.
WR / LSU
Backham was another WR who had an impressive day at the combine. The addition of Bridgewater and Beckham coupled with Josh Gordon could cause some problems for defenses.
27New Orleans
OT / OLB / CB
Stephon Tuitt
DE / Notre Dame
28Carolina
WR / CB / OL
Cyrus Kouandjio
OT / Alabama
The Panthers could be forced to go tackle with the possible retirement of Jordan Gross.
29New England
OL / DL / CB
Eric Ebron
TE / North Carolina
Gronk can't stay healthy and the offense obviously struggled without the strong TE duo of Hernandez and Gronkowski. The Patriots could revisit a similar tandem by drafting Ebron and hoping Gronkowski can stay on the field.
30San Francisco
WR / DL / CB
Bradley Roby
CB / Ohio State
The otherwise very strong 49ers defense could use help in their secondary and will likely spend a first round pick attempting to do so (whether it be CB or Safety).
31Denver
OT / CB / DL
Jason Verrett
CB / TCU
The Broncos have some serious concerns at cornerback that they will need to look at addressing if they have any chance at winning a Championship next season.
32Seattle
WR / TE / OL
Cyril Richardson
OG / Baylor
An offense built around a strong run attack and protecting Russel Wilson could use an interior blocker.
40Minnesota
QB / LB / CB / OG
These are players that may still be available (based on the above and what happens between 33-39) for the Vikings at #40. Options I like are underlined.QB:
Aaron Murray
Zach Mettenberger
Jimmy Garrapolos
AJ Mcarron

OG:
Gabe Jackson
Xavier Su'a-filo
David Yankey

CB:
Marcus Roberson
Kyle Fuller

S:
Calvin Pryor

LB
Ryan Shazier