Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman held a pre-Draft press conference Tuesday and he touched on a number of hot topics.
The whole thing can be viewed by clicking here.
I have watched it a few times now, and here are my notes:
Well, with only a little more than 48 hours until the 2012 NFL Draft is underway, I decided to pull the plug on any last minute changes to my 2012 Mock Draft a little early and call for a final version right now.
My final mock draft of the year is two rounds deep and can be viewed right here.
My top three picks have stayed exactly the same since I posted my first version on January 10th. Andrew Luck, RGIII, and then Matt Kalil to the Vikings. I still think there is a very good chance that Rick Spielman attempts a coup and trades back from the three spot, but the mock does not account for trades… or else things would get way too messy.
In the second round, I eschewed the stereotypical need based pick of a receiver or secondary talent and instead went with a guy I felt was clearly the best player available. Here is a hint: It’s a defensive tackle.
I know defensive tackle isn’t the biggest need on this roster, but it also isn’t the most solid position on this team either, and I just couldn’t pass up this particular prospect when the mock worked out the way it did.
Anyways, here is the link again, check it out… scrutinize it… and then come back on Thursday and Friday to laugh at how horribly wrong my mock was.
Let’s assume for a second that Rick Spielman is full of you-know-what and has had his sights on Matt Kalil since December. So, why not just come out and say so?
If this is the case, then Spielman deserves a lot of credit for successfully generating a trade market for the third overall selection despite the presumed absence of the two premier passers in this class. If he manages to finagle a trade back and still land Kalil, then the guy is going to look like a freaking genius and many of us are going to have a whole ton of crow to eat after doubting the guy all offseason long.
So, with Andrew Luck and RGIII already off the board, what kind of trade interest might the Vikings get when they pick up their phones in the war room? Let’s take a look.
The Vikings are, for a lack of a better phrase, blitzing the media with the contention that they are undecided as to whom they will select if they keep the third overall selection.
After weeks of Rick Spielman using the media to confuse anyone that knows how to read Head Coach Leslie Frazier has jumped into the action and is also putting forth the notion that the Vikings can justify passing on USC left tackle Matt Kalil.
“You’ve got to really weigh your options,” Frazier said in a recent interview. “Because the philosophy [in the NFL] has always been to get the game-changer. And left tackle is not necessarily the game-changer. Usually game-changers are the guys who can score you points. Receivers. Quarterbacks. So what are we measuring that left tackle against? It’s a loaded debate.”
See, and here is where I either imply that I think this is either all “smoke” or imply that I think the regime running this team is full of idiots.
It is not a loaded debate.
This is not about positional importance. It never should have been, and it certainly shouldn’t be now. This is about selecting the best player for your team, the prospect that your thousands of scouting hours, that you have bought and paid for, tells you is the best football player for your team.
It is that damn simple.
Spielman wants to insist that Matt Kalil, Justin Blackmon, and Morris Claiborne all have been given the exact same grades by the Vikings front office. As someone that has seen what real scouting reports (not the kind you find on the internet) look like, I find it very, very hard to believe that these three players have the exact same grade.
The reports are far too detailed, far too personalized to get me to believe the process has identified no differences between three very different individuals.
If you read our comments section and have done so recently, you have surely noticed that a new Vikings site called Vikings Draft Card has a very staunch supporter (highly unlikely to be the writer of the site, right? Right.) that loves dumping links from that site onto ours.
The site appears to have just been started this month and, by all appearances, has a main purpose of persuading Vikings fans that Matt Kalil is not worth being drafted in the three spot that the Vikings currently hold and should instead draft Morris Claiborne. I am all about opposing views and going against the grain, so I really do recommend checking out the site. However, we won’t be adding them to our blogroll until/unless the site owner decides to put his or her name (or any name) to the words they write.
Still, I have to give that site credit (and the person posting links in our comments section) for pointing us towards a report coming out of Green Bay that essentially leaks Wonderlic scores of a number of top prospects in this Draft class.
Much has been made of the reports that Claiborne scored an astonishingly low Wonderlic grade of “4” which would assuredly rank him amongst the lowest scores ever. Even Vince Young did better.
However, the latest leaks suggest that maybe Kalil isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree either.
The score is lowest amongst the reported scores for offensive tackles, and second lowest of all offensive linemen reported on. He scored 11 points less than the average score for offensive tackles, but is still 11 points ahead of Claiborne’s score which can allegedly be written off to a learning disability.
So, there you have it, some evidence that might suggest the Vikings should pass on the USC left tackle that yours truly rates as the second best player (yes, including quarterbacks) in this class. For me, this just more evidence that the Vikings instead should take any trade offers very seriously.
A Wonderlic score may or may not be any sort of indicator of a prospect’s future as a football player, but I still think the Vikings must take Kalil if they remain at the three spot.
I can’t help but notice a trend.
Today, the trend that is glaringly obvious if you are bouncing around Vikings sites and looking at the “Twitter Thing” at the bottom of our page involves the Vikings passing on USC left tackle Matt Kalil.
Morris Claiborne is at the center of the speculation, despite weeks of media types labeling this as “smoke” and dismissing it as gamesmanship. I, myself, still find it hard to believe that this is anything but “smoke” and still believe that Kalil is the obvious choice if the Vikings stay at the three spot.
I do, however, fully buy into the idea that Rick Spielman wants to trade down. He wants that right deal to present itself so that he can load up on picks to help expedite his plan to rebuild the roster. Of late, it seems a trade partner might be more interested in jumping up to snag Trent Richardson at the three spot, and I would recommend keeping an eye on the Bengals who have a clear need at running back and are armed with two first round picks.
In our debate last week, it was clear that most of you sided with Brett’s judgment that staying at three and selecting Kalil was far better than my feeling that trading back for as big of a ransom as possible is the best route to take. For better or worse, I think Spielman’s thinking is more in line with mine and he will be eager to trade back on Thursday, if even just a few spots.
Regardless, something that has seemed like a “sure thing” since February is no looking iffy. With local beat writers and connected insiders starting to doubt Kalil as the Vikings prospect of choice, the drama for Thursday night should be through the roof.
Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard once looked like a possible first round pick. With the possible ability to switch over to safety at the next level, he was often connected to the Vikings second round pick in many mock drafts a few months back.
His draft stock has been on a slide ever since he had an unremarkable Senior Bowl week and NFL Scouting Combine. Now, however, it seems that he could slide clear out of the Draft all together.
Dennard was reportedly arrested, now just days before the NFL Draft takes place, in Nebraska for allegedly assaulting a police officer. Police say that a 2:00 a.m. bar fight resulted in police intervention which ended up seeing Dennard shove an officer and then punching the officer in the face. It took four officers to restrain and arrest Dennard.
While Dennard and defensive end Everson Griffen could surely have fun comparing stories, he is clearly not of the character that one should purposely seek out in the NFL Draft until the prospect falls far enough to make the risk potentially worthwhile.
Speaking of prospects that could be on the Vikings radar getting into trouble, Ohio State tackle Mike Adams reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine. Keep in mind that the Vikings are the same franchise that drafted Percy Harvin despite the same pre-Draft reports coming out about him and they are the same organization that brought drug trafficking felon Jerome Simpson in for a visit on 4/20. Still, the report will not help Adams’ chances of being drafted in the first round, by the Vikings at 35, and could even help the case for seeing the Vikes draft Matt Kalil at the three spot.
Oh, and just to continue the theme of this post: Vontaze Burfict is still an idiot.