Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Blog Page 8

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After going undrafted this past weekend, LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins is free (once officially cleared) to sign a three-year contract as an undrafted free agent with any NFL team.

On Monday, Collins met with Baton Rouge police as part of the investigation into the murder of Brittany Mills. Collins is not a suspect in the case. Mills, 29, was pregnant at the time of her death and had a past relationship with Collins. While Collins continues to work on clearing his name in the Louisiana investigation, he has now started visiting NFL teams still interested in him.

The Advocate first reported the news, that Collins had an impromptu dinner meeting with Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills on Monday night. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the Cowboys and Dolphins are also among teams showing early interest.

The Minnesota Vikings could also be one of several teams in the mix for Collins. The Vikings, Panthers, Ravens, Eagles, Colts, Bucs, Cardinals, Rams, and Lions have all been rumored as potential landing spots for the talented offensive tackle.

Collins’ salary will be capped, so his descision will largely be based on scheme, role and fit.

Update: Collins’s agent Deryk Gilmore told the Associated Press that he’s not taking any meetings with teams “at this time.”

Collins has withdrawn from LSU. NFL rules prohibit teams from visiting a player (who has withdrawn) on his campus or at his residence until after final exams are complete.

 

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Waynes, like the Vikings' new stadium, represents a bright future in Minnesota

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Wow, what a crazy weekend. Things got rolling on Thursday night and didn’t slow down until Saturday evening, but here we are, sore fingers and all. If you missed any of our draft coverage, head over to the landing page and check it out — Adam, Brett, Arif, Lindsey, Andy, Carl, Brent, and myself put out some work we know Vikings fans will love

Now that the draft has come and gone, it’s time to assess Rick Spielman’s new “toys”. In a three-day span that saw the Vikings draft 10 new players and sign nine undrafted free agents, a few of Spielman’s organizational goals became clear:

  • Protect Teddy Bridgewater
  • Give Mike Zimmer flexibility and creative freedom on defense
  • Add versatile weapons to Norv Turner’s offense

Nothing is more important than ensuring the long-term health and development of Teddy Bridgewater, who staked his claim as the face of the franchise last season. After watching his quarterback suffer behind an offensive line that gave up 30 sacks in 2014, Spielman entered the draft with a concrete plan: add depth to a depleted group of tackles.

He did just that, finding tremendous value in the fourth round by drafting Pittsburgh’s T.J. Clemmings, a first round talent who fell because of a lingering foot injury. Spielman proceeded to solidify the group later in the draft, selecting two more offensive tackles — Tyrus Thompson (sixth round) and Austin Shepherd (seventh round).

According to Chris Tomasson, the Vikings will pick up the fifth-year options for both Harrison Smith and Matt Kalil. GM Rick Spielman implied earlier that the 2012 draft picks would be re-signed for 2016, but the team made it official Monday morning.

Smith, drafted No. 29 overall, will bring in a $5.2 million paycheck; Kalil will make $11.096 million as a No. 4 overall pick.

No questions existed about Smith remaining in Minnesota, as he is arguably the top safety on the team and a no-brainer to keep around. In his first three seasons in purple, Smith tallied 192 tackles, 62 assists and 10 interceptions. He also added three sacks in 2014.

Smith played in all 16 games last season; if he stay healthy moving forward, he will continue to play a huge role for the Vikings’ secondary. Tomasson reported that the Vikings plan to work out a longer-term contract with Smith prior to the regular season. Smith has been vocal about wanting to stay with Minnesota, which is great news for fans.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Who won the draft?

In the grand scheme of football things, that generally doesn’t matter—winning the Super Bowl does. But to simplify it to that ignores the massive amounts of work and effort that goes into a playoff push, where the draft is often key.

We don’t know who “won” the draft in the context of results-based grading, because we don’t know the results. But if we’re just as willing to give prospects “round grades” or evaluate whether or not a team made a good pick, we should be able to summarize our thoughts on those teams, and the easiest way to do that is “grades.”

So in the sense that one can’t “grade” the draft until we’re three years out, I suppose that’s true but not useful information. In the same way that we can’t criticize a coach hire, a free agency move or a trade until we’re three years into the contract, we can’t criticize player acquisitions in the draft until we’re through.

But there’s no point to analysis if we’re going to defer it to an unknowable future—you wouldn’t read this blog if you weren’t willing to engage in some speculation. We predict win-loss records, argue that a team may make the playoffs or not, say that one team is destined to succeed or fail, and no one minds that. But when people “grade drafts” that’s too soon.

Anyway, so long as we have information on how people grade prospects, we have information on what people in the aggregate think about the talent a team has acquired.

To the Consensus Board!

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