Thursday, July 2, 2015

riley reiff

A quick look at what our NFC North foes did on Day One of the NFL Draft:

CHICAGO BEARS

The Bears owned the 19th pick and, despite the presence of Julius Peppers, decided that pass rusher Shea McClellin was their guy.  With the incredible offensive line talent that was available at that time, I was a bit surprised to see Chicago choose a defensive end that many argue wasn’t even the best guy available at his position.  Meanwhile Chicago’s miserable offensive line is still, well, miserable.  Even so, it is hard to argue with a pass rusher considering that they too have to play Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford multiple times each year.

DETROIT LIONS

After years of harping from the media and some fans, the Lions may have finally invested into Stafford’s health by investing significantly into the tackle position.  Iowa tackle Riley Reiff was an incredible value for the Lions and Jeff Backus should finally be replaced for good with this addition.  Great pick for the Lions who just seem to get better and better under their new regime.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

By taking USC pass rusher Nick Perry, the Packers may have finally found a consistent compliment to Clay Matthews, and NFC North quarterbacks are surely taking note.  Perry was not widely regarded as a 3-4 type of player, but I think he has all the tools to be just fine no matter what the scheme.  It will be interesting, as the years to go by, to see the Pack ends up regretting their decision to pass on Harrison Smith and allow the Vikings to move up and snag him with the next pick.

Pick five is in the books in our Vikings Territory Community Mock Draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made an unsurprising pick and took Morris Claiborne, the stud cornerback from LSU. It wasn’t even a contest with Claiborne receiving 82% of the votes.

Now, the St. Louis Rams are back on the clock after moving down and trading their #2 pick to the Washington Redskins (who selected Robert Griffin III). The Rams primary needs are offensive tackle and wide receiver. Do they reach a little bit and take Riley Reiff or Michael Floyd? Do they trade again and attempt to move down further in the draft? You decide in our poll below.

After making your pick, make sure to tell us the reasoning behind your choice in the comments section and we may include your analysis in our draft table.

You’re on the clock!

Speculation surrounding the Vikings first round pick has been mostly centered around USC left tackle Matt Kalil ever since it became obvious their 2011 season was going nowhere.

Fans tuning into the combine this weekend were treated to a display of strength and athleticism that should confirm Kalil’s status as the top left tackle of this Draft prospect, ahead of Iowa’s Riley Reiff and Stanford’s Jonathan Martin.

Kalil had the second fastest 40-time of all the offensive linemen with a 4.99 official time.  He had 30 reps on the bench press, which is plenty respectable for an outside lineman.  He (and guard David DeCastro) blazed through the 3-cone drill posting a time of 7.33 seconds. 

He did post some disappointing results on the high jump and broad jump, which could lead to some worries about his burst off the line, but overall Kalil should have solidified his status as the top tackle in Indy.

It remains to be seen if the Vikings will draft Kalil, somebody else, or trade out of the three spot, but it is comforting to know that there will be such a talented option available in the top three this April.

The widely accepted theory revolving around this offseason plan for the Minnesota Vikings is that the left tackle position will be one of the highest (if not the highest) priority for Rick Spielman and company.

As things stand now, many fans believe Spielman will attempt to solve this particular problem by draft USC tackle Matt Kalil or Iowa tackle Riley Reiff.

Those beliefs are likely to stay intact until the Vikings make their first selection in April, or until another option suddenly surfaces that is too good to pass up.

One of those opportunities could come in the form of two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeil.  According to a report from Kevin Acee, the San Diego Chargers are expected to clear $10 million in cap space by waiving McNeil in March.

In 2010 McNeil, regarded at the time as one of the top three left tackles in the game, signed a six year deal worth $48.98 million.  According to Acee, however, the $24.5 million in guarantees McNeil receive apply only to skill and not to injury.  Thus, if McNeil can’t pass a physical by March 15th then his contract is not guaranteed and the Chargers can cut him loose with minimal losses.

Since signing the big deal, McNeil has struggled with serious neck and back injuries and has played in only 20 of the last 32 games.  Acee reports that McNeil is expected to fail his physicals prior to March 15th, and thus it appears likely McNeil hits the free market.

The Vikings will likely continue to perform due diligence on this year’s top rookie tackles, but if they end up deciding that a 28 year old injury risk veteran is less risky than what they see in these rookie prospects, it is a possibility that the Vikings show sincere interest in McNeil.  He will undoubtedly be the top left tackle free agent available.

Of course, the most likely course of action remains the one that involves the Vikings using their first round draft pick on a stellar left tackle prospect this April.

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