Inside Our War Room: #MockFour Begins

(Note: This is a continuation of a series where we take you inside our War Room for the #MockOne draft series. This particular version is for #MockFour. If you are unfamiliar with what it is all about, you should probably start off by reading about what we did in the previous #MockThree.)

We are at it again. I had such a blast participating in #MockThree that I decided to just keep rolling right in to #MockFour. This time, though,  I’m the General Manager. Not only that, but everyone’s favorite Vikings writer, Adam,  is a member of the War Room. We’ve also added a new manager to the team: Ryan Broser, a great writer for Bruno Boys, Fantasy Victor and Bleacher Report Vikings. (Josh Deceuster, our GM for #MockThree has returned to provide his valued opinion in the War Room as well.) So, let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

The first two picks of this draft started off much like the previous drafts. Andrew Luck is selected by the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin ends up with the Washington Redskins. Now on the clock at #3, we were prepared to select OT Matt Kalil, the sure thing that I so vehemently defended selecting in me and Adam’s recent debate. Ironically enough, we actually ended up not selecting Matt Kalil.

Now, wait, before you kill me hear me out. At first, we really just wanted to see what was available. We approached Miami knowing they may be interested in moving up to select Ryan Tannehill. Miami was not interested. We probed the Browns to see if they wanted to swap spots to ensure they got Tannehill if they wanted him. Cleveland did not want to swap spots. Strangely enough, though, we got lots of interest from a team we weren’t really expecting it from: the St. Louis Rams.

The Rams were interested in moving up to select our guy, Matt Kalil. We were hoping that they wanted Blackmon, leaving open the possibility that Kalil would still be there even after the trade. They told us straight up though that he wouldn’t be. It was a tough decision, but we still decided to pull the trigger. The Rams were offering us their 1.06, 2.07 and 4.01 picks simply to move up three spots. And moving to the sixth spot meant that we still had a shot at landing one of the top 3, non-quarterback talents.  It’s well known that the Vikings have a good amount of needs to address in the draft. Obtaining an extra high second rounder and a high fourth rounder was too good to pass up on.

Also, I have to be absolutely honest here. We have seen Kalil selected in almost every single mock draft. The Vikings first three picks almost always go something like: Kalil, wide receiver, cornerback (with cornerback and wide receiver being swapped occasionally). I was extremely curious to see how things would pan out if we didn’t take Kalil and amassed more picks instead. Again, it’s not like we moved to the #8 spot where most of the top talent is off the board (in my opinion). Having the sixth pick still allowed us to take a stab at one of our top-3 prospects.

With the third pick of the 2012 #MockFour draft, the Minnesota Vikings select wide receiver Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State.

It should be noted that not everyone agreed on this pick. There was a voice in our war room that was adamant about wide receiver Michael Floyd being a better prospect and a better fit for what the Vikings are looking for in a wide receiver. Riley Reiff was also given consideration, too.  In the end though, a majority of the war room agreed that Blackmon would be a better playmaker and outside weapon for Christian Ponder.

After the pick, our room seemed to be a little down. While we weren’t unhappy with the Blackmon selection, it just seemed wrong to pass on Kalil. He is hands down the best talent at our biggest position of need and our pick in the second round likely wouldn’t allow us to target someone like Riley Reiff or Jonathan Martin.

Or at least that’s what we thought.

After making the Blackmon selection, we monitored the draft to see who was being selected – keeping an eye on targeted players to see if they were slipping down the board. Jonathan Martin began to catch our eye. He kept falling further and further. Much lower than where he was ranked in our big board. (In fact, Adam has Jonathan Martin as a top-10 talent.) We decided at one point that we should start talking to teams about moving back up into the first to select Martin. We made offers to multiple teams and nothing ever really got worked out. In fact, we even considered making a deal with the Packers at one point! (It should be noted that even in mock drafts, Packers are still Packers.) We were being rejected at every turn.

Jonathan Martin kept falling though. And eventually, we managed to strike up a deal with the Baltimore Ravens at 29, sending them our 2.07, 5.03 and 7.03. We were ecstatic. This was less than we were offering the teams that rejected us and we were still able to get our guy. It was an absolute steal! (Especially considering the extra picks we managed to obtain through the trade with the Rams.)

With the 29th pick of the 2012 #MockFour draft, the Minnesota Vikings select offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, Stanford.

(Note: Martin looks superb in this game.)

We couldn’t have been happier with the way it all panned out. Essentially, by not taking Matt Kalil we were able to select Justin Blackmon, Jonathan Martin and still have an extra fourth round pick. Even after our first two picks in round one, we still have three more picks in the top-100. Our war room worked hard at maneuvering down and up during round one. We had well over 100 emails in a short time span discussing strategy and negotiations with various teams. It all paid off though, and, in our opinion, we walked away from round one feeling like geniuses!

Stay tuned for round two tomorrow. In the meantime, make sure to support #MockFour, check out Adam’s thoughts on round one below and then leave us your opinions, criticisms, etc… in the comments. Hope you guys aren’t tired of all this draft talk yet. We sure aren’t.

Adam’s Take On First Round:  Due to my work schedule I was not a part of the trade that moved the Vikings backwards from the three spot.  Still, I was thrilled when I logged on and saw how things panned out.  We managed to grab Justin Blackmon with the sixth overall selection and set ourselves up for an exciting remainder of the Draft by stockpiling additional picks.

Blackmon is a near consensus choice for the top receiver in this class.  He has decent size, good speed, and excellent hands and would be a major asset to Christian Ponder and this Vikings offense.

We were not real active from this point forward until we noticed left tackle Jonathan Martin slipping into the twenties.  We got engaged in talks with the Texans at 26, but were outbid by the Eagles for that spot as we were not willing to overpay like they were.  We then made offers to both the Patriots and the Packers, but they both decided to stay put and neither opted to take Martin.

The Ravens then helped us out.  They were willing to give us their 29th pick in exchange for our later second rounder, our 5th rounder, and a 7th rounder.  This was a price significantly less than what we had originally offered to the Texans and we still got our man.

Kudos to everyone in our war room for such good communication (we exchanged well over 100 emails in just a couple of hours) and for showing the patience it took to make this happen.  The Vikings got the top receiver in this class and a starting left tackle, not to mention we still have the third pick of the second round right around the corner.

I personally have both Blackmon and Martin ranked in my top ten, so I couldn’t be more thrilled with this scenario.