Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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A lot has happened in the last month or so since I’ve updated my 2016 NFL Mock Draft (such as, you know, free agency) and I am feeling less comfortable with the 23rd pick each time I look at how the first round plays out in various simulations… including mine.

In my two previous versions I mocked the Vikings tight end Hunter Henry and linebacker Darron Lee. I would still be satisfied with either of these prospects joining the Vikings, and both are available when I selected this time around, but I really want to see that grand slam of a pick fall into Spielman’s lap in 2016. I feel like this nearly happened in my mock, but the Houston Texans prevented Laquon Treadwell from sliding all the way to the Vikings.

Treadwell would have been a tremendous value (and might be worth moving up for), but I was still able to add a wide out to Norv Turner’s arsenal in this version of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

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image courtesy of vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings began welcoming players to Winter Park on Tuesday for their “Top-30” annual draft prospect event, which uses many of their allotted 30 pre-draft visits that each NFL team is allowed to conduct. It’s a good opportunity to bring the players in all at once to meet the coaches and team personnel, and go out to dinner and see how they interact as a group.

It is no secret the Vikings have invested some time and interest in finding a wide receiver this draft season, and Laquon Treadwell of Mississippi and Josh Doctson of TCU seem to be the top two targets getting most of the Vikings attention. Typically the Vikings have not been a heavy smoke screen team that wastes time on players they are not genuinely high on, that’s good news for Treadwell and Doctson. However, at the same time they’re also very good at not showing their hand on other players they covet enough to draft.

So, with a grain of salt, here is a partial list of names rumored to be invited to the event.

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Tough decisions are a hallmark of the NFL Draft. Teams have a position of need and two comparable players on their draft boards available for selection. Manning or Leaf, Luck or RG3, Jameis or Mariota. These watershed moments can change franchises forever.

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings aren’t selecting at the top of the draft, but the decisions will still weigh the same. We brought out man Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) in to walk through some of these potential Sophie’s Choices.

WHO YA GOT? Situations Include:
• 1st Tier Wide Receiver: Laquon Treadwell or Josh Doctson
• 2nd Tier Wide Receiver: Michael Thomas or Tyler Boyd
• 2nd Tier Wide Receiver: Will Fuller or Sterling Shepard
• Linebacker: Darron Lee or Jaylon Smith
• Late 1st Tackle: Jack Conklin or Taylor Decker
• Defensive Tackle Manna From Heaven: Sheldon Rankins or Andrew Billings
• Defensive Tackle Diet Manna From Heaven: Vernon Butler or DJ Reader
• 1st Tier Safety: Karl Joseph, Darien Thompson or Jeremy Cash
• 2nd Tier Safety: Miles Killebrew or Kevin Byard
• Random Late Wide Receiver: Pharoh Cooper or KJ Maye
• Developmental Quarterback: Vernon Adams or Cardale Jones
• Punter: Peter Mortell or Tom Hackett

All that and other “All. Of the Draft Picks. You Have.” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

Will Spielman break his first-round tendencies?

Spielman trading up
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, more often called “Trader Rick” this time of the year, is a genius at the negotiating table. When it comes to the NFL Draft and accumulating picks, no one does it better.

Between 2012 and 2014, Spielman selected a league-recorded seven players, and between 2011 and 2014, he successfully executed 15 trades involving 39 picks and the exchange of five veterans, per Mark Craig.

The general manager famously fleeced the Cleveland Browns in 2012, swapping the third overall pick for the fourth overall pick and three additional selections that year. The result? Minnesota ended up with current left tackle Matt Kalil and the Browns landed one of the draft’s biggest running back busts in Trent Richardson. And in 2013, the Vikings drafted three players in the first round, even after giving up four selections to acquire Cordarrelle Patterson.

Rick Spielman’s NFL Draft Tendencies, by Ryan Boser 

Some may argue that trade was a flop, but Patterson’s had his moments in Minnesota and will get one more chance to prove himself in 2016. Even with that massive transaction, Spielman has been conservative, especially over the last two drafts. In 2014, he selected Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater in the first round, and the following year, came away with just one selection in Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes.

Spielman doesn’t always stick to the script, though. According to Vikings Journal, Sharrif Floyd was only one of seven first round draft picks taken in Minnesota’s original slot. It’s clear that Spielman will move down and trade his way out of picks, but he rarely trades up. When Spielman does move up, it’s almost always to get back into the first round, as he did in 2012, 2013, and most recently in 2014 with Bridgewater.

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