It’s April 28, the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft begins, and prospects start flying off of the board. Three quarterbacks are taken in the first 15 picks, a handful of offensive linemen are gone, and suddenly, the Minnesota Vikings are on the clock. Surprisingly, the top two wide receivers — Ole Miss’s Laquon Treadwell and TCU’s Josh Doctson — are still available.
Who’s the better wide receiver, and more importantly, who’s the better wide receiver for the Vikings? It’s a position of need in Minnesota, and many, many mock drafts have the Vikings selecting one of the two prospects. In an alternate universe where both are available and the Vikings do want to draft either of the two, Rick Spielman will have to make a very difficult decision. Fortunately, the Vikings Territory team is here to pull the trigger.
Would you rather have Doctson or Treadwell in the first round and why?
Adam W.: Laquon Treadwell
I still can’t believe that the Vikings are in the conversation to possibly land Treadwell. My, how a few months can change things. In a way that is reminiscent of Teddy Bridgewater and Trae Waynes in recent years, the negativity is following Treadwell right into Draft Weekend. Count me among those that hope this is a good thing for the Vikings and they can somehow have the clear-cut best prospect at a position of need fall into their laps.
Brent: Josh Doctson
This one is easy for me, and the logic is fairly simple. I just think Doctson is a better red zone threat who will high point the football when needed. The Vikings haven’t really had a wide receiver who could do that well since Sidney Rice. Treadwell has his strengths, but I think he’s better after the catch than anything else.
Ultimately, the Vikings have two receivers who can make plays after the catch in Diggs and Wright, and at this point, I think the greatest support we can offer quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is someone who will take the top off the defense and open up the intermediary for Diggs and crew. Doctson isn’t a complete wide out just yet and there are plenty who are concerned about his age, but I think he’s the best fit for the Vikings to make an impact on day one and help this football team.
Carl: Laquon Treadwell
I like the outstanding work ethic and leadership intangibles that Treadwell offers over the faster and more athletic Josh Doctson. Both receivers are highly talented playmakers who have exceptional ball skills and great body control to haul in tough catches. Treadwell’s aggressive arms and consistent effort against press coverage sets him apart from Doctson.
His ability to move the chains as a big bodied underneath possession target with good burst and elusiveness after the catch is the missing skill set Teddy Bridgewater is lacking from the wideout position. Treadwell’s relentless toughness that helped him return from a broken fibula and a dislocated ankle in 2014 screams great fit in Mike Zimmer’s culture of high-character players.
Sam: Laquon Treadwell
I’ve heard it a thousand times over the last month: the Vikings need a long, athletic wide receiver with a big catch radius. Fans read these things and regurgitate them ad nauseam, and soon they become conventional wisdom, on par with “Cordarrelle Patterson needs to improve his route running.”
Personally, I think the Vikings need a GOOD receiver much more than one with predefined physical traits, and while both Doctson and Treadwell may end up with good careers, I believe Treadwell is the better prospect. The reason for this is simply game film; I think Treadwell’s career body of work is better than Doctson’s, even before you consider that 2015 was basically an injury recovery year for the Ole Miss product.
Treadwell was unilaterally considered the top receiver in the draft before the combine, when he ran a “disappointing” 4.65 while Doctson excelled. Here, we’re seeing non-football workouts being greatly overvalued, as they are most years. You can have the cone drill and 40 time, I’ll take the game tape. You can have the production against the swiss-cheese Big 12 defenses, I’ll take the production against the SEC. Did you know Jerry Rice never ran a 40-yard dash faster than 4.6 seconds? For some reason, no one seems to mind much at this point.
Brett: Laquon Treadwell
In the case of Treadwell v. Doctson, I don’t think the Vikings could go wrong either way. Both players fill an obvious positional need and are exceptional prospects that could help bolster the Vikings’ offense. However, if you held a gun to my head today and forced me to pick, I’d have to go with Laquon Treadwell. Once the consensus number one receiver in this year’s class, Treadwell has been losing ground since questions surrounding his speed began to surface.
Treadwell is not a burner and will not beat defensive backs with a blazing forty time. He will however overpower defenders at the catch point. He will find the open spots in a defense because he understands them schematically. He will beat corners at the line of scrimmage by using a grab bag of quick, deliberate moves. He runs great routes, has exceptional hands and is the best blocking receiver in this draft. I think once you step back and stop focusing on what Treadwell can’t do any pay closer attention to what he can, he becomes the obvious choice if still available when the Vikings are on the clock.
Adam P.: Josh Doctson
Thinking of how each receiver would fit into the Vikings offense is what ultimately led to deciding on Doctson. While either player would more than likely improve Minnesota’s passing attack, Doctson is the player that could have more of an immediate impact. As the quicker of the two receivers, Doctson is able to do more after the catch, and that could fit in well with a quarterback that likes to throw short passes as Teddy Bridgewater does. Plus, everyone knows that Doctson already looks good in purple so there is no need to mess that up.
Matt Falk, Draft Season: Laquon Treadwell
I see Doctson topping out as a solid #2 receiver in the NFL, which isn’t a bad thing, but the Vikings aren’t exactly looking for a #2 receiver. We all know Minnesota has goal of walking away from the 2016 NFL Draft with a shiny new #1 receiver, something I think the Ole Miss receiver can become early in his career.
Everyone knocks him for his “slow” 40 times, but his tape speaks for itself. He has the ability to make plays and the smarts that will only continue to help grow his game. When it comes to size, they both have the height, but Treadwell has about 15 pounds on Doctson, giving him the advantage to get off the line and make some of those tougher catches in traffic. So while Doctson would be a nice consolation prize if Treadwell is off the board at #23, if given the chance, I take Treadwell 10 times out of 10.
Nik Edlund, Draft Season: Laquon Treadwell
First of all, let me be clear, I’d be very happy with either one of these guys. Both could have a huge impact on the Vikings’ passing game in 2016 and help Teddy Bridgewater take the next step in his development. If I had to choose between the two, I’m taking Treadwell. Why? Well, for the most part, Treadwell’s frame just makes me a bit more comfortable. He and Doctson are similar in size, both measuring in at 6’2.
Doctson weighs in at 202 pounds, and Treadwell at 221. While this just seems a slight difference, it really shows up on tape. Doctson looks a bit skinny and I worry how his body will hold up over a 16-game NFL season. I’ve wanted a big physical receiver on this team for years now, and Laquon Treadwell fits that bill. He is a bit more thick in his limbs, with nice wide shoulders, and uses his frame to fend off would be defenders. Treadwell is also an excellent run blocking receiver and that can’t be overstated in the Vikings run heavy offense. So again, I would gladly take either one of these guys, but if I had the choice, I would take Treadwell.
Austin: Laquon Treadwell
I love Doctson, but I think Treadwell is the pick for the Vikings. Read my take in my latest mock draft!
It looks like the team loves Treadwell, but who do you like? Answer the poll and let us know!