Sunday, April 26, 2015
Blog Page 203

[Note:  Want to see a list of every player featured in our “Draft Target” segment?  Click here to visit the Offseason Tracker where there will be a list of all these players.  Check back often as there are plenty more to come!]

Despite nine starts as a true freshman, N.C. State cornerback David Amerson was very quiet and his only real notable stats was one lone pass breakup, 57 tackles, and a forced fumble.  In 2011, however, Amerson had one of the most prolific seasons of any corner in the history of college football.

As a sophomore, Amerson amassed a ridiculous interception total of 13, which was the second highest total in FBS history.  He also had 59 tackles and five defended passes.  He proved to be a true game changer in multiple 2011 contests and it was fully expected that he would be a sure-fire top ten pick when he entered the Draft.

Then his junior season happened.

His final numbers weren’t really too awful.  He had 54 tackles, five interception, and 11 defended passes.  Those don’t tell the whole story, however, as Amerson was constantly abused by opponents.  His fundamentals were terrible, he bit on double moves, and just constantly looked like he was trying to force similar production as was experienced in the previous season.

In one game, against Miami, Amerson was beat on four passing plays that led to touchdowns and contributed greatly to his team’s loss.  His junior season was plagued by him getting duped by double moves, failing to recover lost ground against his man, and just overall being a liability in the defense.

With one mediocre season, one fantastic season, and one horrible season of game tape to his name Amerson has become one of this class’s most talked about prospects.  A lot of people were curious to see which game tape his Combine performance would confirm and for the most part he showed great athleticism, including a 4.44 second forty time.

I think Amerson is a great prospect for the Vikings to consider.  He is at his best when he is allowed to roam in zone coverage, and he displays great instincts when it comes to jumping routes or keeping the play in front of him, while also proving capable of roughing his man up a bit at the line of scrimmage.  He plays the position like a receiver, seldom missing an opportunity to pick off an errant pass, and has solid return skills once he secures the football.

At 6′ 1″ and 205 pounds, he could also end up transitioning to safety at the next level, and rumor has it some teams are projecting him as an NFL safety.  I don’t think moving him to safety will be a necessity if he can get some high quality NFL coaching early in his career, as his flat footed play and slow hip turn are correctable issues.  If he can become more refined at his craft then he might just become a turnover machine, which the Vikings haven’t really had since the earlier days of Darren Sharper.

Teams that like to man-up there corners, and leave them on an island, are not going to be too keen on Amerson unless they view him as a safety.  A team like the Vikings, however, may benefit from his scheme-specific skill set by scooping up a game changing talent with a second or third round pick.  He has all of the attributes and skills to be very successful at the next level, and the Vikings might just be the right fit for him to once again fulfill his potential like he did in 2011.

Despite being on vacation, 1500 ESPN writer Tom Pelissero is still scooping everyone else.

Pelissero reports that former Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield is scheduled to meet with the Seattle Seahawks, where all former Vikings seem to end up, on Wednesday.  Winfield has also been on vacation, which has played a part in the delay of him signing with any team.  Winfield previously met with the Washington Redskins’ brass, but no deal was reached and the have since re-signed DeAngelo Hall.

Winfield was surprisingly released by the Vikings do to a salary that exceeded $7 million, but even at age 35 can provide an NFL team with great veteran leadership and some of the best overall play at his position.

The Vikings have reportedly maintained contact with Winfield’s representatives and a return to Minnesota is not totally out of the question.

To shake things up a little this weekend I decided to solicit questions from the audience for the first time in a long time.  As the Draft approaches, there is always an increase in questions from those that for some reason find this hack blogger’s opinion to be relevant, and I wanted to give the opportunity to ask as many as possible before the pre-Draft craziness fully sets in.  Below are the results.

There have been some recent questions about our tradition of our Draft Weekend Live Chat and whether it will live on in 2013.

Our normal software avenue has decided to start charging for their services.  They are now charging by the number of readers that use the live chat services and VT has really started to take off recently, which is a great problem to have, and we expect thousands of people to visit our site on Draft Weekend.  This means it could be a pretty expensive proposition for this little blog to consider.

Still, Brett and I are currently evaluating alternatives, and we are sure to come up with something.

One of our loyal readers very generously offered to set up a chat room for us here at VT free-of-charge and we’ve been testing it out.  There are some pros and cons to it, and it won’t look as slick as what you’ve grown used to, but I think it will get the job done.  Stay tuned!

A number of people asked about us updating our mock drafts and releasing some sort of positional rankings prior to the Draft.

Yes, my mock will be updated at least once (probably more) prior to the draft taking place.  I’m hoping to find the time to add a second round fairly soon, as well.

I am also working on creating a VT-unique “Big Board” of about 300 players.  Last year Brett worked hard to make our Big Board update somewhat instantly as the Draft progressed, crossing off players as they were selected on Draft Weekend.  Preferably we’ll be able to get something like that together again.  That’s the goal.

Okay, now onto some more interesting questions.  SKOL12 wanted to know what type of defensive tackle the Vikings are in need of.  Do they need a big run stuffer, and athletic pass rusher, or someone a little more balanced?

I think it is clear that the Vikings don’t have a massive run stuffer and could benefit from grabbing one like John Jenkins or Jesse Williams.  Given the age, possible regression, and heavy cap hit of Kevin Williams I also can’t see the downside of drafting a very well balanced defensive tackle like Sylvester Williams.  With the Vikings defense struggling greatly against mobile quarterbacks last season, and about 10 of them on the schedule this season, getting more athletic in the middle of the defense needs to be a priority, as well, which is why a guy like Sheldon Richardson appeals to me so much.

Ideally, Letroy Guion and Christian Ballard can step up to the plate in 2013, and Kevin Williams regains some of his previous spark.  That might be a lot to bank on, however, and the Vikings need to add some competition via the Draft regardless of the type of lineman they are eyeballing.

Reader SB wants to know if trading up into the late teens to grab Sheldon Richardson would appeal to me if it only costs a fourth or fifth rounder to pull off.

Yes!  I consider Richardson to be a special talent and any team in that range will be interested in him.  It will likely cost a lot more than that to move up in the first round, but if this deal presented itself I would certainly move up and get my guy.

[Note:  Want to see a list of every player featured in our “Draft Target” segment?  Click here to visit the Offseason Tracker where there will be a list of all these players.  Check back often as there are plenty more to come!]

Last season the Vikings put Letory Guion in front of a relatively untested Jasper Brinkley, who played in front of young group of safeties.  As a result, the defense experienced their fair share of struggles in the middle of the defense.  The safety position was upgraded greatly when the Vikings selected Harrison Smith in the first round last year and it is widely believed the Vikings will find their starting middle linebacker in the Draft this year.

Still, with Kevin Williams getting older and carrying a large cap hit, the Vikings should be considered to be in the market for some help at the defensive tackle position, as well.  A large run stuffer that can conjure up memories of Pat Williams would be a nice addition and Georgia’s John Jenkins could be a nice fit.

At 6′ 4″ and 346 pounds, Jenkins is a huge and athletically gifted run stopping nose tackle that commanded double teams at Georgia.  His broad frame and good arm length provides opposing runners with a large obstacle to try and surpass, and he is not going to be moved off of the line of scrimmage, so they have to go around.  He also has the size and brute strength to disrupt the pocket on occasion,  but is unlikely to be a dependable pass rusher at the next level despite an intimidating bull rush.

Similar to Pat Williams, Jenkins is occasionally going to take offensive linemen by surprise with his agility and quickness.  Not only is he quick at the point of attack, but he can move around pretty well between the tackles for a guy of his size.

After transferring out of Gulf Coast Community College, the senior played two years in Georgia.  In 2011, he had 28 tackles, seven for a loss, and 10 quarterback pressures.  In 2012, he notched 50 tackles, 2 for a loss, and a sack.  He has played against elite talent with varying results.  He had a nice performance matching up against this year’s top guard Chance Warmack, but struggled greatly against D.J. Fluker in the SEC Championship Game.

I know that teams running a 3-4 defense will value a guy like Jenkins more than 4-3 teams (or the hack bloggers that cover them), but I honestly view Jenkins as more of a second round talent instead of the first rounder many believe him to be.  Part of that, at least for 4-3 teams like the Vikings, is because he has to be an assumed two-down player.

His positional value may indeed cause him to be drafted in the first round, but if teams aren’t overly impressed with his game tape then he could fall further than expected.  Combine stretches of being invisible on tape with questions about his work ethic and conditioning, not to mention a two game suspension for academic reasons, and he might actually slip to the middle of the second round or later.  At that point, and not really any earlier, I would consider Jenkins to be a great target for the Vikings to pursue.

UPDATE:  As soon as I posted this I came across this recent noteworthy article about Jenkins.  He is apparently working hard and has dropped his weight all the way down to 332 pounds.

 

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Hey Everyone!

So, I have noticed an increase in questions in the comments section and through all the business I fear I haven’t gotten to all of them.

I thought I’d create this post as a place for you all to feel free to drop questions into this weekend and I’ll take time this weekend to answer as many of them as possible.

Have at it!

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