Some Early Draft Talk: Junior Quarterbacks

The Vikings seem destined to land somewhere in the range of the second to fourth selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.

With Zygi Wilf’s recent (and unsurprising) omission that Leslie Frazier will probably get at least one more year as the head coach, it seems very likely that the team will not be in the market for another first round quarterback provided that Andrew Luck does not somehow fall to them.

With that being said, Vikings fans should pay close attention to this year’s potential crop of quarterbacks.

The Vikings will likely be faced with plenty of options at their drafting slot this year and one of those options, which will be much discussed leading up to the Draft, is that of trading down.

Last year, the Cleveland Browns got a boatload of firepower when they were willing to let the Falcons move up from the 27th spot to the 6th spot in a blockbuster deal.  The Browns received first, second, and fourth round picks in 2011 and a first and fourth round pick in 2012 in exchange for the ability to draft wide receiver Julio Jones.

With the Vikings having so many pressing needs in all phases of the game, a similar deal in 2012 would be a much welcomed way for things to play out.

In order for Rick Spielman to construct suck a coup, however, there would likely have to be a team very hungry for a quarterback… not to mention a quarterback worth taking that high.

There are three underclassmen to keep an eye on as the Draft approaches.  If they declare for 2012, each possesses the potential to rise into top five consideration this coming year, setting the Vikings up for possible success.

Here they are:

Robert Griffin, Baylor (6’-2”, 220 pounds)

Known for a strong arm and high intelligence, Griffin’s attributes have translated to extreme success on the football field.  In 2011 he completed 73% of his passes for 3,678 yards, 34 touchdowns, 612 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns, and only five interceptions.

Matt Barkley, USC (6’2”, 230 pounds)

Barkley has had a record breaking season for the Trojans, and it is unfortunate that they are ineligible for a bowl game, so we won’t see much more of him from here on out unless/until he declares for the Draft and heads to Indy for the Combine.  This season he completed 69% of his passes for 3,528 yards, 39 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.  He did all of this while running what is essentially and NFL offense.

Landry “Lance” Jones, Oklahoma (6’4”, 216 pounds)

Jones is a big, strong armed quarterback that could probably stand to stay in college for another year in an attempt to further prove himself.  In 2011 he connected on 64% of his passes for 4,052 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.  Jones has continued to show growth and improvement ever since seeing his first action as a freshman replacement for the injured Sam Bradford.  NFL coaches love to see production out of prospects, especially when that production trends towards improvement from one season to the next. 

So, while the Vikings may not be targeting a quarterback on the first day of this year’s Draft, whether or not these guys declare, and subsequently see their stock rise, could have a major impact on the Vikings drafting success in 2012.  Keep your eye out for news regarding these three.