Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gambling on Jaylon Smith
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The War Room is a lot like the Roulette table at a casino. Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has all of the power to place his chips where he pleases, but he’s not guaranteed to hit on any of those black and red numbers. If chips are draft picks and the table numbers are prospects, then Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith is the riskiest bet Spielman can make in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Widely considered the draft’s safest prospect during the 2015 college football season, Smith was a near-lock to come off the board within the first five picks of the first round. But a terrifying knee injury ended both his junior season and collegiate career with the Fighting Irish. Smith disappeared from the national spotlight to rehabilitate his knee, making a brief appearance on social media before this year’s Scouting Combine.

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A Will Fuller scouting report with a Minnesota Vikings focus.

[This Will Fuller Scouting Report, with a Vikings slant, has been provided to Vikings Territory by Draft Season. Be sure to check back for more and also be sure to visit Draft Season to quench your NFL Draft thirst. All previously published scouting reports can be found by clicking here.]

Will Fuller | WR, Notre Dame

Measurements

Height – 6’0″
Weight – 186 lbs.
Age – 21 yrs.

At First Glance

Second-team AP All-American

Projected Round:

1st – 2nd Round

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Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

It seems as though the stream of Minnesota Vikings news has reached its slow period at this point in the NFL offseason. Soon enough, the NFL Draft will be taking place and the first sessions of offseason workouts will begin.

Even with the lack of news, there still seems to be plenty of topics to explore within the Vikings world.

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I tend to favor production over potential, but that’s not the case with Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones. Jones exploded onto the scene in 2014 winning a National Championship with solid performances in his first three starts to end the season in place of injured starter T.J. Barrett. Jones choose not to enter the NFL Draft but opted to return to Columbus as a junior in 2015. After five inconsistent performances, Jones lost the starting job to Barrett. Jones finished his college career as a backup but boasts all the tools to someday burst onto the scene in the NFL the same way he did in the Big Ten.

Cardale Jones | Quarterback, Ohio State

Measurements

Height – 6′ 5″
Weight – 253 pounds
Year – Junior

At First Glance

BCS National Championship 2014

Projected Round:

3rd Round

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Vikings LB Emmanuel Lamur
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer covets versatility, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Sure, the Vikings have swiss army knives like Rhett Ellison and Jerick McKinnon, but it’s on defense where that malleability really shines.

There’s Anthony Barr, former UCLA defensive end, who entered the league two years ago and quickly became one of the NFL’s best outside linebackers. There’s Danielle Hunter, a raw prospect out of LSU who transformed himself into a forceful edge rusher last season. Oh, and don’t forget about Harrison Smith, a hybrid strong/free safety who truly does it all for Zimmer’s defense.

Players at every level can switch positions, move inside or out,  and even stand up or put a hand in the ground; the possibilities are endless in a Zimmer system. Think back to Sharrif Floyd sliding to nose tackle last season, or Brian Robison moving inside on third-and-long situations. Zimmer’s players are expected to adapt to the changing landscape of the NFL, where teams are throwing the football more than ever and consistently lining up with three to five receivers.

With such a desire for scheme flexibility, the signing of former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur in free agency makes perfect sense. Though Lamur’s started just 15 games since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012, he has the varied experience and athleticism that Zimmer loves. When training camp begins in July, he’ll have a chance to start opposite Barr as the Vikings’ weak side linebacker, potentially adding another dimension to Minnesota’s already excellent unit.

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