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

25 COMMENTS

  1. KM is great, but I disagree with your explanation / assessment of overloading the offense with superstars. Watkins would be a bad choice because not only are we for all intents and purposes STACKED in the WR department, but a bad arm CAN tank a great receiving corps. Look at Ponder with Percy. Percy was a legitimate choice for MVP until he got hurt–but even with Percy and AP and Kyle Rudolph, we were not heavily favored to win a lot of games.
    Depth is great, but without breadth, the Vikings could find themselves in a $#!% hurricane. I would like to see KM on the team, but I really hope we don’t reach for Watkins–I’d much rather we trade down to DET or some other team that wants a high caliber WR.

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    • Watkins would not be a reach at pick 8. He would most likely represent the best player available if he were to fall to the Vikings.

      I think the Rams will select Watkins at #2 and they will think about trading up from 13 to 8 with the Vikings to get Greg Robinson or Jake Mathews.

      Regardless of who the Rams pick at #2, I see them as a possible trade partner for Spielman.

      I think The Vikings will select Derek Carr with the 13th pick after trading back with the Rams.

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      • Carl, I wanted to give you a like and a dislike. Won’t let me do it so, I gave you a thumbs up for dropping back and drafting Carr.
        Watkins would not be a reach at 8 though I would rather fall back for more picks and grab Carr, Mosley, Dennard, Gilbert, Nix or anyone else that can help.

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    • Sammy Watkins could go as high as 2, so I dont think that it would be a reach for him to be drafted at 8 at all. He could be the best player on the board at that point, regardless of holes in other areas he will improve the team. Last thing I want to see is Detroit lineup with Calvin Johnson and Sammy Watkins on the opposite side. Could easily be the best wide reviever core in the league. I do agree that regardless of the amount of talent you have on an offense a bad quarterback is not going to get the most out of the unit.

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    • Another WR? Why not? Watkins at 8 or trade back a few and grab Evans? Jennings is getting up there in age. Can this be another great WR combo a la Carter, Moss and Reed or White and Rashad? Can these guys be that good? Maybe. Only one way to find out.
      Can’t wait. Hopefully we won’t be disappointed (Williamson).

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  2. I really think Houston takes Clowney. And Johnny football drops to some where in the 20’s in the first round.

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      • I really doubt the Vikings will draft Johnny football. He doesn’t fit Turners system. And I don’t the Zimmer would want to deal with his antics. Plus one hit in the knees and he is done.

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        • Turner does a good job of working with the players he has, so I do think he could work with Manziel, but I’m not sold on him to the Vikings. I don’t think people realize how elite a prospect Watkins is. He is the best receiver to come out since the Green/Jones draft. If he slipped to 8 it would be hard not to take him, but I’m guessing there would be some decent trade offers to take advantage of if that ends up being the case. Good first mock, the biggest omission in my eyes is Aaron Donald. I think that guy is going to be the best interior pass rusher in the league in a very short amount of time. I almost wish the Vikings hadn’t drafted Floyd last year so we could take him…I see a lot of John Randle in that guy.

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          • I agree with a lot of your post Dan. If by some chance Watkins does slide to 8, I think the phone will be ringing off the hook in the Vikes war room. Spielman knows how to leverage teams (see the Browns trade of 2012) Vikes could get a boat load of picks.

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        • Yeah Johnny Manziel doesn’t have an attitude problem. So he partied a lot when he was 19, who didn’t. He matured very quickly when needed I think that shows a lot more than a kid who liked to drink.

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          • From Barry Switzer……………..I’m gonna tell you. I said Johnny Manziel is … I don’t like his antics. I think he’s an arrogant little prick,” Switzer said. “I’ve said that and I’ll say it again. He’s a privileged kid, he’s embarrassed himself, he’s embarrassed his teammates, his program. He’s embarrassed his coach. And they’ll all have to defend him because they have to coach. I know that. I spent 40 years in the damn game so I know how it works.”

            And yes I read the whole article.

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        • Not a huge JF fan but he could fit a version of Norvelle’s offense. Rivers sits in the gun like JF surveys and throws a ton. Playaction requires some footwork training (footwork is easily learned) but the reads are easy. Look deep 1st if room throw – If not the space created between LBers filling for run fake and the deep 1st look creates huge windows for slot rec and TEs in the intermediate areas. Makes QB play easier especially for young QBs.

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  3. Hey Brett, We should have a mock draft contest at VT. Everyone could submit their mocks and they could all be posted somewhere on the site.The person who is gets the picks most correct gets 10 empty Colt 45 beer cans and bragging rights.

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  4. My thoughts about what the Vikes should do are as follows:

    1. If Mack is available at 8, then the Vikes better sprint to the podium.

    2. If Mack is gone and the QB’s are also gone (top3), I would get Justin Gilbert.

    3. If some how Watkins falls to them, trade down to the highest bidder. Should get a lot of picks for
    that trade.

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      • I was tempted to draft a punter there Johnny but that is a deep position is this years draft also. My above (opinion) did not reflect trades. I figure we can trade back into the 1st round using our 2nd and 3rd round picks to get one. I thought that was obvious. :0

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    • Norseman66 – Sounds like a plan.

      I would go as far as to say if Bortles is not there, trade back and grab as many picks as you can. I would not drop back past 18-20. There are a lot of really good football players that will be available. They fit the Vikings needs too. That is kind of a bad thing because there are a lot of holes to fill. Hopefully a few get plugged via free agency.

      They did a nice job of trading back and the up again last year. Hopefully the brain trust can do this again. I always wondered why more teams did not do this.
      Mack would be great and so would Gilbert.

      I personally like Mosley because of his play and leadership. I hear Zimm likes smart players. I think Mosely may be the pick. According to mock drafts, Mosely may be available a few slots down form 8. He will be our best LB since Scott Studwell.

      Trade back a few and grab the best guy sounds like a plan.

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  5. Love Mack at 8. Calvin Pryor in the second round, That would be great for our defense. Maybe get Baptiste in the fourth. That would be great for our secondary. Could McCarron be available with one of our third round picks?

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    • McCarron will likely go somewhere in the second/third round. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him available when the Vikings select in the third.

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      • I think Pryor may be gone by the 2nd round (40th pick). Either McCarron, Mettenberger or Garoppolo should be available with our 2nd 3rd (96) rounder and maybe our 4th (104).

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