Friday, October 20, 2017

O.J. Howard

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What if Tampa Bay had Selected Cook No. 19 Overall?

Vikings Rookie Dalvin Cook Barely Escaped First Round
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Dalvin Cook was nearly a first-round pick.

According to an article on WalterFootball.com, Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook barely escaped the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. The former Florida State speedster was nearly selected by—take a deep breath—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who selected Alabama tight end OJ Howard with the No. 19 overall pick.

Per Walter Football, a source with the Buccaneers explained: “[Mitchell] Trubisky going 2 and then the other two QBs going in the top 12 pushed guys down. There wasn’t as much need for tight ends with teams ahead of us, and typically tight ends don’t go that high. We were lucky. If O.J. had been taken right before us, Dalvin [Cook] would’ve been the pick.”

The Vikings could thank the Bucs for not selecting Cook, but both teams appear to have benefitted from the early run on quarterbacks during the first round of the draft.

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is a restless man during the NFL Draft. When he’s not on the clock, he’s frantically making calls with other teams to improve Minnesota’s draft position. He has operated that way since he took over full reigns as general manager in 2012.

In his first three NFL Drafts, Spielman either moved Minnesota’s place in the draft or added a selection in the first round. He swooped an extra couple of picks from Cleveland in 2012 to move down one spot and was still able to get the guy he wanted in Matt Kalil. In 2013, Spielman selected three times in the first round, making trades with Seattle (before the draft) and New England to acquire picks that turned into Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson.

Spielman then pulled the trigger on a trade that moved the Vikings back into the last slot of the first round in 2014 to select Teddy Bridgewater.

“Slick Rick” didn’t make any such moves in the previous two drafts, but his track record indicates that type of maneuver is on his mind a week before the draft. It’s important to keep in mind that Spielman would likely need to give up the 48th overall pick and the 79th overall pick to move up into the bottom of the first. Depending on the prospects available, it might require more than that.

With all of this in mind, the question must be asked: If Spielman does pull the trigger on a trade into the first round, which prospects should he target?

The fundamental answer is easy: trade up for a guy with top-tier first round talent who has slipped through the cracks. Several candidates fit that bill in this year’s draft class.

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