I took to Twitter on Tuesday night to pose a vital question to my followers.
Should I do a fanspeak mock draft
— Drew Mahowald (@DrewMahowald) April 6, 2017
I thought, “Hey, only nine percent said no, so why not give it a shot?”
Fanspeak’s On The Clock feature allows fans to simulate the 2017 NFL Draft by acting as general manager of any team. It brings together several different variables that NFL front offices consider when selecting — and it allows the user to choose which reputable big board to use for the simulation.
For this simulation, I used the Dan Brugler big board from CBS Sports. And, I stuck with Fanspeak’s free On The Clock feature instead of paying for the Premium feature, which allows users to make trades in the draft.
You can view the full results of my simulation HERE.
Here are some interesting non-Vikings tidbits from the simulation:
- Controversial running back Joe Mixon fell to the middle of the third round to the Denver Broncos at 82nd overall. Meanwhile, Stanford stud Christian McCaffrey was the first running back off the board to the Eagles at No. 14 overall (the pick they received in the Sam Bradford trade).
- Questions about Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell’s motor persist and continue to hurt his draft stock. While he’s arguably a top-five talent in the class, McDowell fell to No. 24 overall to Oakland.
- Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk was chosen 12th overall by Cleveland, setting up the Browns for another decade of potential Hall-of-Fame left tackle play from a Badger. Yeah, Ramczyk is that talented.
- Texas Tech quarterback prospect Patrick Mahomes’s stock exploded this draft season. He was the second quarterback selected in the draft, going 13th overall to the Arizona Cardinals. The New York Jets made the first quarterback selection with DeShaun Watson at No. 6.
- Green Bay addressed its extreme secondary needs by selecting Florida Gators prospect Teez Tabor. Despite possessing excellent quickness and instincts, Tabor’s 40-yard dash time of 4.62 puts him in the “wild card” category among defensive backs.
- I found it odd that Chicago selected zero quarterbacks in the simulation, despite the lucrative addition of Mike Glennon in free agency. The Bears instead spent their first three picks on defense (LSU safety Jamal Adams, Wisconsin EDGE T.J. Watt and Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis), adding to a unit already full of individual defensive talent.
Round 2, Pick 16: Temple OL Dion Dawkins
Dawkins improved his stock tremendously during the 2017 Senior Bowl. The 6’4″, 314-pound mauler possesses an explosive lower body that allowed him to dominate on the ground at the college level. He played left tackle during his time at Temple, but his traits make an easier transition to guard at the NFL level with the possibility of providing depth at right tackle. That versatility and his touted mean streak make him a solid candidate for the Vikings with their 48th overall pick.
Round 3, Pick 15: Ohio State C Pat Elflein
I told myself I was going to take a chance on Joe Mixon here if he was still on the board, and he was. But I didn’t anticipate Elfelin would also be available. At 6’3″ and a little over 300 pounds, Elflein brings excellent size as a center in combination with the ability to get to the second level. He gained experience playing both center and guard at Ohio State, again bringing that versatility that seems to be a theme with Minnesota’s recent acquisitions.
The additions of both Dawkins and Elflein would create a training camp battle for a starting job. Mike Zimmer has mentioned before that right guard is the one position he isn’t comfortable with yet. If Dawkins wins the battle, he can slide into right guard. If Elflein wins, he would likely slide into the center spot and Joe Berger would move to right guard.
Round 3, Pick 22: Iowa DT Jaleel Johnson
Sharrif Floyd‘s latest injury news opened a hole at the 3-tech position, and Johnson is a solid candidate to fill that role. Johnson’s biggest strength is the use of his hands, swiping at offensive linemen to sneak into the backfield with consistency. The 6’3″, 310-pound former Hawkeye brings good size and length to the position as well. The transition from college to the pros for defensive linemen is much easier than most spots, so there’s a real chance Johnson could earn a starting job if brought into Minnesota.
Round 4, Pick 13: Clemson RB Wayne Gallman
Sure, the Vikings acquired former Raiders running back Latavius Murray in free agency, but that doesn’t mean running back isn’t on the board of needs. This draft class is loaded at the position, and Rick Spielman must act, especially given that both Murray and McKinnon are practically on one-year deals moving into 2017. Gallman is a jack-of-all-trades player in that he was asked to do pretty much everything at Clemson. His best skill might be pass protecting, which he used to keep DeShaun Watson’s jersey clean more often than not.
At 6’0″ and 215 pounds, Gallman’s size fits right in between McKinnon and Murray and gives the Vikings a different pace that includes traits from both players. Gallman’s skill set should be a natural fit in Pat Shurmur’s offense.
Round 4, Pick 22: Miami CB Corn Elder
The loss of Captain Munnerlyn opened another hole in Minnesota’s nickel-heavy defense — slot cornerback. The Vikings drafted Mackensie Alexander to be Munnerlyn’s replacement, but he didn’t show a ton of promise in limited action last season. If Spielman feels the need to add slot cornerback depth, Elder is the best mid-round prospect to do it. The former Miami Hurricane only stands 5’9″ but possesses the necessary traits to play the nickel role — excellent instincts, lateral agility and reaction time.
In a league where size is being valued more and more at the cornerback position, Elder’s talent will likely be ‘overlooked’ because of his small stature. The Vikings will have a chance to add Elder late in the draft if that’s the route they choose.
Round 5, Pick 16: Tennessee LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
Chad Greenway‘s retirement opened yet another hole in Mike Zimmer’s defense; this time, creating a void at outside linebacker. Reeves-Maybin is an excellent mid-round prospect that could compete for the job as Minnesota’s little-used third linebacker. His playing style is similar to that of Eric Kendricks; despite a lack of size, Reeves-Maybin quickly diagnoses plays with quick burst and athleticism. He often matched up with running backs and even receivers in the slot, showing his ability to cover with the aforementioned athleticism.
Round 6, Pick 15: Colorado S Tedric Thompson
Thompson is a pure cover safety that would bring depth to the safety position for the Vikings, likely behind Andrew Sendejo. At 6’0″ and just over 200 pounds, Thompson is no Jayron Kearse but has adequate size for centerfielder tendencies. He excels at reading the quarterback’s eyes and his time as a wide receiver in high honed his ball skills. Thompson won’t scare any offenses in the box, but he would be an excellent complement to Harrison Smith.
Round 7, Pick 14: South Florida WR Rodney Adams
The Vikings lost Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson from their 2016 receiving corps this offseason, and it’s a safe bet they’ll look to revamp the position in the draft. Adams won’t ‘wow’ anyone with his size, standing 6’0″ and weighing about 190 pounds, but has a tendency to make the big play, something the Vikings offense lacked for the most part last season. His 4.44 40-yard dash and excellent route running skills would allow him to assimilate nicely into Shurmur’s offense.
- I stayed away from offensive tackles and tight ends in this mock in keeping with what the Vikings have done in their draft preparations. They have shown virtually no interest in any offensive tackle or tight end prospects to this point, and it’s something to watch moving forward.
- The Vikings currently just have these eight picks in the draft, which is not enough to satisfy Spielman. Expect him to trade down at some point to acquire an extra pick or two.
- The popular pick with the No. 48 overall selection is the best offensive lineman available. But Spielman’s tendency with second-rounders in the past has been to find a first-round talent that slipped through the cracks.
- If that’s the case, players such as McDowell, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, Miami tight end David Njoku and Michigan hybrid defender Jabril Peppers come into the equation, should they fall.
My mock is just one of probably 453 you’ve read during draft season, so please tell me if I’m surprisingly adept or woefully terrible at this in the comments. Also, be sure to keep up to date with BJ’s Vikings Prospect Tracker for all the latest updates on Minnesota’s interest in draft prospects.