AnalysisNFL Draft 2015

The 2015 Vikings Draft Class Graded by Vikings Territory

It’s been over a week since the conclusion of the 2015 NFL Draft – time enough for most to settle in with their feelings on how the Vikings faired. We’ve shared the thoughts of other “draft experts” on how the Vikings 2015 draft class ranks but thought we should go on the record with our own individual grades, both collectively and individually.

I know there are some who believe trying to grade a draft class before any of them have taken the field is a futile endeavor. Well, it goes without saying that this is all educated speculation. I mean, we never really know for a fact how any player is going to turn out, but that doesn’t stop us from creating big boards and ranking them. We don’t know which teams are going to draft who (usually), but that doesn’t stop us from taking the information we have to make an informed guess. We don’t ever know how an upcoming season is going to pan out in the Summer months, but that doesn’t stop us from making predictions. My point is: none of this is definitive, but that doesn’t mean it’s a meaningless exercise. The alternative is just saying “Hey, it’s way too early for me to make any assumptions on how this draft class will turn out,” and leaving it at that.

But, really? That’s no fun, is it?

So on to the grades:  Every staff member of Vikings Territory was polled for their personal grades for each individual selection. These grades were then converted to numbers on your typical GPA scale and averaged out per player. The individual player grades were then averaged out, with more weight being given to earlier round selections, to create a consensus, overall draft grade for Vikings Territory.

Let’s start with individual selection grades. I asked our writers to provide a brief explanation to accompany their grade if they happened to be the highest or lowest grade for that player. Although, there were some instances where there were no “low grades” or “high grades” and, in those cases, explanations were omitted.

Draft Grades Trae Waynes

Round 1, Pick 11 (11)
Trae Waynes, CB – Michigan State
Grade: B+

High: Unlike many, I viewed Trae Waynes as the clear top cornerback choice in the 2015 NFL season, and believe he has the skill set and physical traits to warrant a top ten selection. To get him at #11 was a great value that will pay off big time for the Vikings in the years to come. Be patient, though, Vikings fans…even first round corners like Xavier Rhodes take time to get their sea legs. – Adam Warwas

Low: Waynes might fit what Minnesota wants and was obviously hand-picked by Mike Zimmer, but his physical talent is that of a second-round player. The Vikings didn’t acquire a special player with such a high pick. – Darren Page

Draft Grades Eric Kendricks

Round 2, Pick 13 (45)
Eric Kendricks, LB – UCLA
Grade: A

High: I think Kendricks was the Vikings’ best pick of the Draft, even though he wasn’t the first pick. Beyond the fundamental aspects of his athleticism and impressive combine results, Kendricks demonstrates a depth of character and football I.Q. that will benefit the team immediately. Being a fifth-year senior, Kendricks seems well prepared to make the transition into the NFL, and I don’t think there will be as large of a learning curve as can sometimes be expected of rookies. The fact that he and Anthony Barr were teammates at UCLA and have that on-field chemistry is huge. Finally, he will also be a good option as Greenway makes his way in the next year or two. – Lindsey Young

Low: No low grades

Draft Grades Danielle Hunter

Round 3, Pick 24 (88)
Danielle Hunter, DE – LSU
Grade: B

High: I loved the Danielle Hunter pick. Seen as a raw, yet supremely athletic prospect, Hunter steps into the perfect situation in Minnesota. He’ll sit behind Brian Robison during the season, and spend training camp developing his pass rush moves under the tutelage of Mike Zimmer. Few expect Hunter to contribute immediately, but he can crack one of Zimmer’s infamous defensive line rotations as a pass rusher in third down situations throughout the season. As Carl wrote before the draft, Hunter may very well become Michael Johnson 2.0. – Austin Belisle

Low: I like a project as much as the next, but grabbing a guy a raw as Hunter in the 3rd — where you could have grabbed an immediate contributor — seems like a stretch. Hopefully I’m wrong. The Vikings have a recent track record of drafting heir apparent DEs in the mid rounds (B-Rob, Everson, Crichton), so it’s not inconceivable that Hunter could be starting or at least being a significant part of the rotation in three years. But it wouldn’t shock me if he struggles to see the field this season. Which would make two years in a row we spend a 3rd round pick on a defensive end who doesn’t play as a rookie. – Andy Carlson

Draft Grades T.J. Clemmings

Round 4, Pick 11 (110)
T.J. Clemmings, OL – Pittsburgh
Grade: A

High: With massive upside and pro bowl potential, the Vikings always seem to pounce on a falling first-round talent, this time T.J. Clemmings out of Pitt. Despite being as raw as sushi, Clemmings was still one of the best run-blocking tackles in the country, living on instinct and physical skill without any technique or consistency. Grabbing this player at a potential position of need is great, in part because they won’t be pressured to start him and he can be one of the best players at his position soon. – Arif Hasan

Low: No low grades

Draft Grades MyCole Pruitt

Round 5, Pick 7 (143)
MyCole Pruitt, TE – Southern Illinois
Grade: B-

High: I don’t like to ding picks based on need in the late rounds. Pruitt should be able to make the team and find a role eventually as one of the most athletic tight ends in the class, even though the Vikings likely see him as an H-back. – Darren Page

Low: Though Pruitt has the athleticism to thrive as a pass catcher, the Vikings already have quite a bit of depth at tight end. It will likely take an injury to someone currently on the roster for him to break through and see the field. The Vikings flirted with a similar type tight end in A.C. Leonard and that didn’t quite pan out. Nothing about Pruitt makes me think his situation is any more optimistic. – Brett Anderson

Draft Grades Stefon Diggs

Round 5, Pick 10 (146)
Stefon Diggs, WR – Maryland
Grade: B-

High: I was preaching for the Vikings to draft a splashy offensive playmaker, so, my high grade may just be a simple reflection of my desire to add weapons around Teddy Bridgewater.

Stefon Diggs is dynamic and dangerous with the ball in his hands. Sudden once he’s in space, great acceleration with impressive lateral change of direction ability to make defenders miss. He is a versatile player who can play in the slot, on the outside and contribute on special teams.

This isn’t going to be a popular pick because Jarius Wright is well liked in Minnesota. Wright is a free agent at the end of the season, so, the Diggs pick might just be insurance. But make no mistake, for a fifth round pick, the Vikings landed an awful lot of talent and explosiveness in Diggs. – Carl Knowles

Low: For a smaller receiver, Diggs tested out worse than he needed to athletically and his tape was tough to watch from 2014. He never lived up to his billing as a high school prospect during his time at Maryland. Does he add something the offense is lacking? – Darren Page

Draft Grades Tyrus Thompson

Round 6, Pick 9 (185)
Tyrus Thompson, OL – Oklahoma
Grade: B

High: I am typically a fan of investing in consistency over upside at offensive line positions, but the Thompson and Clemmings picks are both in good slots to invest in upside, with Thompson’s length, agility and speed giving him fantastic potential. Some of his games for OU were better than any Ereck Flowers, Brandon Scherff or Andrus Peat put together, though his lows were low. If he does indeed pass the character filter, the Vikings could have found their long-term Phil Loadholt replacement without having to invest in a high pick. Even without much growth, Thompson is a better backup than most backup OL in the NFL. – Arif Hasan

Low: Offensive line depth was a priority coming into the draft, so the Thompson pick makes sense. I’m just not in love with the prospect himself. Yes, much is made about his solid upbringing and that he’s mature off the field (family man), but the term “lazy” gets thrown around way too much and way too early and often for my liking. He seems to have Loadholt’s size (and alma mater and number), but lacks the nastiness that Phil brings to the table. We’ll see if Thompson brings it. Plenty of competition coming into this year’s camp. – Andy Carlson

Draft Grades B.J. Dubose

Round 6, Pick 17 (193)
B.J. Dubose, DE – Louisville
Grade: C

High: No high grades

Low: I don’t see much boom potential here, but I see some bust potential. I’m happy to see someone selected that gives us hope for the run defense, and his versatility and strength are attractive, but I also see a guy that is going to have to make a career out of being unspectacular. I just don’t see him getting any higher on the depth chart than third tier. I hope he proves me wrong. – Adam Warwas

Draft Grades Austin Shepherd

Round 7, Pick 11 (228)
Austin Shepherd, OL – Alabama
Grade: C

High: Though there was some great value at other positions left on the board when Austin Shepherd had his name called, I’m okay with the selection because of the Vikings glaring need at Guard. Though Shepherd played tackle at Alabama, his game and skills make him a better fit inside in the NFL. He has the power, toughness and plays with a mean streak. Though he has some work to do in pass protection, Shepherd could be a mauler at the next level and is an interesting developmental prospect. – Brett Anderson

Low: After T.J. Clemmings and Tyrus Thompson were selected, I saw little value in grabbing another offensive lineman that clearly has less upside than the two picked ahead of him. At this point, it is a numbers game and Shepherd’s ability to make the final roster will probably rely more on the injury report than it will his talent level. I see the practice squad in his future, which is fine. I’m just bitter we didn’t get a punter. – Adam Warwas

Draft Grades Edmond Robinson

Round 7, Pick 15 (232)
Edmond Robinson, LB – Newberry
Grade: B+

High: This is exactly the type of pick you love to see in the seventh round: a flyer on a super athletic, raw play-maker from Newberry, a school that hasn’t had a player drafted to the NFL since 1974. Robinson’s measurables are off the charts. With some guidance and instruction from Mike Zimmer, Robinson has a high ceiling and could end up being a great value addition. – Brett Anderson

Low: Edmond Robinson fits in the “long, athletic” mold that Mike Zimmer likes for his defenders and he could develop into something more than a practice squad/special teams contributor. But I was standing on the table for the Vikings to call La’el Collins’ agent’s bluff that he wouldn’t play if selected after the 3rd round. I think there’s no where he would have sat out a year and missed an NFL paycheck, yes a 7th round paycheck, but still more than he (probably) made at LSU. Robinson might end up being decent. He might also end up not making it past the 90-man roster. I would’ve loved to have seen the Vikings buy a lotto ticket in the La’el Collins Powerball. – Andy Carlson


Final Grade:


2015 Draft Grades

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Brett Anderson

Brett Anderson (Founder) is a passionate Viking fan hailing from Sin City, Las Vegas. He can remember, as a child, scraping his knee on the playground and his friends being completely shocked by the purple blood trickling from the wound. When Brett isn't scouring the Internet for some semblance of Vikings news, he enjoys blindly putting money on them to beat whoever their opponent may be, and daydreams about being their next Tight End. Brett graduated from UNLV with a degree in Architecture and specializes in web/graphic design; he hopes to provide this site’s visitors with the best Vikings experience on the net.

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  1. Good analysis. It seems the pick of CB Waynes was a bit early for some pundits but no way he is around in the 2nd and Kendricks was a steal in the 2nd. Trust in Zimmer. I might have taken a certain WR in the 1st but WR was much deeper than CB in this draft so Waynes makes sense. Diggs’ film looks pretty good to me and he is versatile in the kicking and special teams areas. I voted for the Vikings to take Mayle but Diggs may be a good pick as well. Some pundits were down on the OL picks late but Zimmer loves depth, especially after all the injuries last year. Some say Chicago, who picked no obvious All Pro or Rookie of the Year candidates, had a better draft but I sure don’t see it. Best draft in the division and top 2 or 3 in the NFL. We hope.

  2. Good job but you were way off on Mycole Pruitt. This was Norv Turners guy because his ability to do so many things. He wont start but he will be in there on third down plays and can really work the middle of the field. He will make allot of plays this year.

      1. I like the Pruitt pick because I just have no faith in Rudolph ever (a) staying healthy year-in and year-out, and (b) reaching his potential. The man hasn’t averaged even 10 yards a reception after four years and 133 catches, and his TD totals are skewed by one big year.

      2. , but his physical talent is that of a second-round player. The Vikings didn’t acquire a special player with such a high pick. – Darren Page. This is so wrong!!!

  3. Good job. I’m in the minority who gives the team an A for the Danielle Hunter pick. He was who I wanted them to pick there. He’s a force player with long arms and he’s only 20 years old. Given his age, height, arm length, and hand size, it seems likely he could put on a lot of weight without losing his speed and agility. He’s raw as a pass rusher but probably the best DE against the run in the draft. Andre Patterson says he has no doubt he would’ve been a 1st rounder next year if he stayed at LSU. I’m inclined to agree with him. I think it’s a great pick, especially for a coaching staff that’s shown a special propensity for developing players like this. Great draft all around.

  4. I was and still am disappointed in the Waynes pick. The 11th pick had potential to bring in a game changing player like Parker, and I don’t think Waynes is all that special. It’s not like I hate him or anything (skillwise; he sounds like a terrific individual), I just don’t think he warranted the #11 pick. He’s stiff, and not all that agile. I see him getting burned underneath on quick moves. LOVED the Kendricks pick and am pretty high on both Pruitt and Hunter. Not yet sold on Diggs. Some people seem really high on him but when I went and watched his highlights I was supremely underwhelmed. He’s not terribly fast, large or has very good hands (which is weird because I read that people think he has good hands but I watched a bunch of passes hit his mitts and just go flying).

    Overall, I’m disappointed that Zim spent so much of his draft capital on defense. TB still needs weapons around him and I get this sinking feeling that TB may have a bit of a regression this year based on lack of protection and weapons. When your defense ranks in the top 15 at year’s end and your offense is near the bottom in the league, it seems backwards to invest so heavily in the better of the two units.

    1. Keep in mind we get AP, Wallace, healthy Rudolf and get the Oline healthy with competition/depth to drive the starters. I think the Vikings went into the draft as the only group of people in America who knew they were going to have # 28 starting for them in 2015, and that alone will give Teddy the breathing room to take the next step. Defense is the best way to beat the Packers and Lions – watch what happens to the Bears this year, I bet their Kevin White won’t make a difference until garbage time when they are down 20pts in the 4th quarter because their D couldn’t stop anyone and the other squad is playing prevent.

  5. I think the vikings will rotate the best end in on both sides Robison needs less snaps to play his best and the best end will be replacing him next year weather it is Hunter or Crichton

  6. I am soooooo glad we didn’t draft Parker don’t hate on Waynes trust Zimmer Parker is selfish and we don’t need that

  7. I think you guy’s graded a little low on most picks. The only one I didn’t like is Diggs. I don’t like his injury history. And there were several Running Backs who could’ve replaced Asiata. Yes Waynes was drafted early. But would not have lasted past 15. Everyone wanted Teddy’s Favorite target in Parker. But Wayne will contribute more dramatically than anyone knows.

  8. As long as you’ve got Arod, Stafford and the abundance of Elite WRs in your division you better be investing regularly in decent cornerbacks! It’s much easier finding a decent WR than a decent CB! Especially in this years draft!

  9. I loved stocking up on offensive linemen, all three of whom could become future starters or super subs. OL depth has been a problem for a loooong time, maybe since we let Artis Hicks walk after the 2009 season, and trying to get through a season with only seven or eight offensive linemen on the game day roster is just begging for trouble. Either Berger or Yankey should be riding the pine this year, hopefully along with Mike Harris, Clemmings and either Thompson or Shepherd, with the rookie odd man out on the practice squad. Finally, a nice combination of experience (Berger and Harris) and youth.

  10. Cordell is back. I don’t think Parker is selfish we just didn’t need him. Buckey picked Waynes as his best pick in the NFC North. . Corner is the hardest position with the current rules. Waynes is going to be great but he is a rookie and It takes a while.