Friday, December 9, 2016

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If you would have told me the Vikings would pass on Andrew Billings in favor of Willie Beavers, I would have thought you were half nuts. Nonetheless, Beavers is an offensive tackle with the upside to someday win a starting job. He needs a year in the weight room to get stronger in his upper body, but he does have the feet to play left tackle in the NFL. Beavers also has nice traits to play anywhere on the offensive line. My guess is the Vikings will groom him to compete with Matt Kalil at left tackle and hopefully have him ready to start by 2017 if needed.

The Vikings land another highly competitive guy in this fluid left tackle. According to his NFL.com profile Beavers is an easy mover who can excel in space.

Beavers can get off the ball quickly and can slide in pass protection allowing him to stay in front and mirror defenders. The 324 pound left tackle from Western Michigan is a three-year starter who earned first-team All-MAC honors as a senior.

Heading into the draft, I felt the Vikings were one offensive lineman away from finalizing the revamping process up front. My heart may have been set on Jack Conklin, but Willie Beavers is pretty good too.

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So far, the Vikings Territory readers have largely assigned Laquon Treadwell and Mackensie Alexander a combined draft grade of “A” via our polls. If you haven’t cast your vote for either of those two selections yet you still can by clicking here and here. We’ll compile them for a cumulative draft grade when the weekend is complete.

In the fourth round, the New Orleans Saints successfully traded one spot ahead of Minnesota only to let time expire. The drama surrounding this may amount to nothing, but it will be interesting once the full details emerge.

The Vikings used the 121st pick to select Willie Beavers, an offensive lineman from Western Michigan.

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Vikings sign two
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

1. Plenty of talent in the pool.

We can get wrapped up in the first round of the draft and diminish the importance of days two and three, but as I looked at the players available coming into Friday night, I was thoroughly impressed by the number of quality prospects still available. There was more than a handful of guys still around that seemed like viable options for the Vikings in round one: A’Shawn Robinson, Reggie Ragland, Su’a Cravens, Cody Whitehair, Vonn Bell, and more. That’s not even mentioning Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith, two of the most talented players in the draft that fell due to injury concerns.

The takeaway: this stuff matters. The first round is flashy, but rounds two through five are where you can get quality starters and build a team. As the picks came in, it became apparent (much like on Thursday) that the Vikings were going to be able to get a very good player in the second round. So…

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Miami traded a sixth round pick this year and a third and fourth round pick in 2017 in return for the Vikings third round pick on Friday Night. Rick Spielman certainly got good value in the deal, but what did the Vikings actually give up?

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