Monday, July 6, 2015

2014 NFL Draft

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The Vikings selected Oregon State’s Scott Crichton with their third pick, 72nd player selected overall. By going back to the defensive front seven so quickly, Vikings brass provided a glimpse into how the defense will be built.

Crichton has an interesting story for how he got where he is today. He declared for the draft in January despite having a year of eligibility remaining. Crichton did so without seeking an evaluation from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, having already planned to make the NFL jump in order to help his family, letting his parents retire specifically.

At 6’2⅞” 273 pounds according to NFL.com, Crichton is an end on the shorter and thicker end of the size spectrum as a defensive end. His arm measures 32¾ inches at length, which is rather short for ends. He’s not a spectacular athlete either.

Crichton looks like an average player on the surface. His production tells a different story. He totaled 165 tackles, 51 tackles for loss, 22.5 sacks, 9 pass deflections, and 10 forced fumbles over his three seasons with the Beavers.

Let’s go beyond box score statistics and size measurements to find the real meat of Scott Crichton as a prospect and as a schematic fit for the Vikings.

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According to a recent post by Star Tribune, new Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer saw some “flags” in conjunction with Johnny Manziel.

The Texas A&M quarterback had his Pro Day on Thursday, and it was definitely one of a kind. More than one critic has described Manziel’s performance as more of a performance than an evaluation, and the event proved that the QB is more than readyat least in his own opinion—to transition into the pro lifestyle. Manziel’s Pro Day “routine” was complete with music and pre-arranged plays to showcase the QB’s talent.

Glitter aside, Manziel did perform well from a football standpoint. Jackson head coach Gus Bradley said, “it was good. It was a really competitive atmosphere. They had different drills set up for him, and that showcases what Johnny is all about. You knew it was going to be spirited, you knew it was going to be competitive-type throws that he had to make. And he really did a nice job.”

So what were the stats?

Manziel completed 61-of-64 passes.

He threw several deep passes of 40 yards and more to his targets… including a 55-yard deep post touchdown to fellow prospect Mike Evans.

Solid numbers or not, though, Zimmer didn’t seem impressed. In fact, he quickly called the performance a “sideshow.”  “This [workout] was a little different in how it was choreographed. People like that or they don’t like that, I don’t know,” Zimmer commented.

On Friday, Zimmer and the Vikings had a meeting with Manziel, their second of the offseason.

In a radio interview in Austin Monday morning, Zimmer said the following:

“I guess it maybe brings a few questions marks in. Is he going to conform to typically what the NFL is or what everyone else has done before him including what the great players in the game have done before him, or is he going to try to be the celebrity man guy that he was maybe a year-and-a-half ago?

[…] The position of quarterback in the NFL is such an important position and the reason these guys need to be a totally football-minded guy is the pressure of the position and being the face of an NFL team and doing everything right. That’s the thing you want to know about him: Will he be into work early every single day? Will be the last to leave? Will he be the guy that is working the hardest to get better?”

Whoever drafts Manziel will certainly draft the limelight right along with him.

Johnny Football may very well be off the table by the time the Vikings pick at No. 8. But if he’s not, will Zimmer want to take the leap?

 

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According to ESPN.com, the Vikings reportedly took their QB search to the west coast last week. On Thursday, offensive coordinator Norv Turner and general manager Rick Spielman visited Fresno State for Derek Carr‘s Pro Day.  The following day, the two met with San Jose State QB David Fales.

Despite suffering from the flu on Thursday, Carr delivered an above-average performance on Thursday, throwing 43 consecutive completions. He was intentional about the types of passes he made, offering a range of professional-level scenarios. “He wanted to prove he looked very comfortable under center and in the pocket today,” NFL Network’s Paul Burmeister said. “That’s exactly what his workout was setup to do.”

Thus far, Carr has not been expected to go in the first roundafter all, this year’s draft class is being called the deepest in several years. However, Carr has apparently received feedback from a variety of sources that lead him to believe he will break into Round One.

Carr worked through his illness to prove that he will have a strong presence in the Draft. In an interview with Burmeister, Carr said the following:

“From what I’ve heard from the Senior Bowl, the combine, meeting with teams in-between then, talking to teams, I think we’re going to surprise some people come May 8.”

Don’t expect the Vikings to use their No. 8 pick on Carr. At this point, several draft experts are placing Carr as a favorite to land in Oakland.  However, if Carr falls to No. 40 and the Vikes are still without a QB, he could be an option at the helm.

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On Friday, Turner and Spielman met with Fales at San Jose State.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the Vikings arranged a private workout with Fales. Two days prior, Fales hit 52 of his 53 passes at Pro Day. It is unclear whether or not Spielman had arranged the meeting before or after the QB’s solid Pro Day performance, but he certainly is an interesting prospect for Minny.

ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer, who was at Fales’ pro day on Wednesday, called him a Trent Green clone.”

ESPN reports that Fales is projected to go as a mid-round pick, but his level of accuracy may raise him a bit in the draft. If Fales stays in the pool until the middle rounds and the Vikings have not yet taken a QB, he could be a strong option as a young QB who can develop under Matt Cassel for a season or two.

Considering Spielman has stated that Minnesota will likely get face time with at least 10 QB’s prior to May 8, a lot of mystery remains around which option will be the best fit and how early the Vikes will go for the QB position.

 

 

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