Guest PostNFL Draft 2015

Guest Post: Rick Spielman’s Mock Draft 1.0

[NOTE FROM BRETT: At the beginning of April, we posted an article by Ryan Boser that detailed the draft tendencies of Rick Spielman. Ryan is back just a few days before the 2015 draft begins to emulate Spielman’s draft habits through a mock draft. Ryan contributes at a number of different places and is a fantasy football guru with some great draft takes. You should definitely follow him on Twitter and check out his blog, Out of My League.]

Hi, I’m Ryan. My name is in the byline, but this is not my mock draft. Let me explain…

Three weeks ago, I did an eight-year study of Rick Spielman’s draft tendencies with the Vikings. You should probably check it out, because this mock is based solely on the findings of that study, and I’ll be referencing it throughout. Again, these aren’t my picks. This is essentially an automated Spielman simulation, so please direct your complaints to [email protected].

Note: All trades are based on this value chart.


Fast forward to next Thursday in Chicago…

The Vikings enter the draft with seven selections:

1(11)
2(45)
3(76)
4(110)
5(137)
7(228)
7(232)

This is not enough. We know Rick wants nine or 10 picks. He’s traded back one spot with Cleveland in two of his last three drafts, and they’re ripe for the picking again at No. 12. However, he’ll need to slide back a bit further to acquire requisite ammunition, and for a team with numerous needs, it’s a flatter tier—the value of pick 11 isn’t much different from the value of pick 16.

TRADE: Minnesota sends 1(11) to Houston for 1(16), 3(82) and 4(116)

Houston comes up for whichever WR of Parker/White/Cooper is left, forming a dynamic duo with DeAndre Hopkins in the Post-A.J. Era. Rick is up to nine picks:

1(16)* HOU
2(45)
3(76)
3(82)* HOU
4(110)
4(116)* HOU
5(137)
7(228)
7(232)

TRADE: Minnesota sends Adrian Peterson to Arizona for 1(24)

I’ve long been of the belief that bridges have been burned, and this whole process has been another “we have no intent of trading Percy Harvin” dog and pony show. Thankfully, Rick is a master of creating trade markets out of thin air.

I don’t know if it’ll be Arizona, Dallas, or one of the longer shots. What I do know is that Rick’s still stacking his chips from the Harvin trade, while simultaneously playing the Peterson suitors against each other. I think he ultimately gets his R1 pick (maybe more?), and another standing ovation.

1(16)* HOU
1(24)* ARI
2(45)
3(76)
3(82)* HOU
4(110)
4(116)* HOU
5(137)
7(228)
7(232)

Hey, let’s make a pick!

1(16) Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia; 6’1”, 222

We know that Spielman is fearlessly aggressive with offensive weapons early in the draft. This dates back to his very first selection as VP of Player Personnel, when he took an “injury-prone” Adrian Peterson, despite urgent defensive needs and Chester Taylor coming off a 1,500-YFS season in Year 1 of a 4-year contract.

Frankly, the similarly freakish Gurley is the best RB prospect to enter the league since Peterson, and he’s ahead of schedule in what’s been described as a clean, standard, fully recoverable November ACL tear. A stud RB has long been the centerpiece of a Norv Turner offense, and Gurley’s hands actually make him an even better fit than Peterson. Second year stud Jerick McKinnon (22) buys Gurley (20) some time, and the two would combine with franchise QB Teddy Bridgewater (22) to form a terrifying backfield trio.

1(24) Marcus Peters, CB, Washington; 6’0”, 197

We know Spielman really values DBs, and he’ll get no argument from HC Mike Zimmer. Peters, who’s met privately with the Vikings, is widely believed to be the best cover corner in the draft. While he comes with some Harvin-esque character/authority issues, Zimmer has made lemonade out of worse (Pacman Jones and Vontaze Burfict, to name two). The team has also shown Pro Day interest in fellow CBs Byron Jones and Kevin Johnson. Depending on availability, one of the three would be the pick here, and would make a dreamy tandem with budding superstar Xavier Rhodes.

TRADE: Minnesota sends 2(45) and 3(76) to Indianapolis for 1(29) and 5(165)

You knew better than to go to sleep. Rick loves his fifth-year options, as he’s proven by trading back into the end of R1 in three straight drafts. He’s made seven R1 picks in the last three years (2, 3, 2), with only one coming from an original Vikings draft slot, so we’re right on trend here.

1(29) Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA; 6’0”, 232

Kendricks is in play for the Packers at 30, so 29 is probably the necessary destination. Although the 2014 Butkus Award winner is a bit undersized, he’s extremely intelligent, instinctive and aggressive. Whether he remains inside or moves to WILL, Kendricks quenches the team’s most desperate thirst, and allows Zimmer full freedom to deploy his bazooka (Anthony Barr) however he pleases.

1(16)* HOU – Todd Gurley, RB
1(24)* ARI – Marcus Peters, CB
1(29)* IND – Eric Kendricks, LB
3(82)* HOU
4(110)
4(116)* HOU
5(137)
5(165)* IND
7(228)
7(232)

3(82) Tre McBride, WR, William & Mary; 6’0”, 210

Spielman hammers offensive skill position players early; he hasn’t taken one later than R4 in his three drafts as GM. Highly respected draft analyst Matt Waldman says McBride “could have kidnapped Amari Cooper, donned a Crimson Tide uniform, and—if he knew the offense—could have tricked most of the football-watching public.” I tend to agree. The highly intelligent and athletic McBride is a boss in traffic, playing much bigger than his size.

On the surface, the Vikings appear squared away at WR. They’re not. Mike Wallace is essentially on a one-year deal (he has no guarantees after this year, is owed $11.5M in each of 2016/2017, and has been outwardly unwilling to restructure). Cordarrelle Patterson is entering an uphill make-or-break season with the Vikings. Replacement-level WR3 Jarius Wright is entering the final year of his contract. Charles Johnson might be the only top-four WR on roster in 2016.

4(110) Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon; 5’9”, 192

Like both Greg Childs and Antone Exum, Rick takes a Day 3 chance on an early-round prospect who’s falling due to a knee injury.

Ifo’s scouting report reads like a carbon copy of Tyrann Mathieu’s. He’s an instinctive dynamo with elite ball skills, but he only projects as a slot CB—or possibly an FS—due to size and speed limitations. The real appeal here is Ifo’s potential as a safety. He profiles as an ideal deep defender, which would free up Harrison Smith for more of the aggressive playmaking assignments we began to see last season.

1(16)* HOU – Todd Gurley, RB
1(24)* ARI – Marcus Peters, CB
1(29)* IND – Eric Kendricks, LB
3(82)* HOU – Tre McBride, WR
4(110) – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DB
4(116)* HOU
5(137)
5(165)* IND
7(228)
7(232)

4(116) Za’Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky; 6’4”, 274

In terms of size, length and motor, Smith is a prototypical Zimmer DE. He’ll add instant rotational depth, and battle disappointing 2014 R3 pick Scott Crichton to become Brian Robinson’s heir apparent.

Smith becomes the 4th DL (Everson Griffen, Christian Ballard, Scott Crichton) Rick has selected in R3/R4 in the last six drafts.

5(137) Mitch Morse, G, Missouri; 6’5”, 305

You’ve probably been pulling your hair out over the OL, but Spielman has proven time and again that he’d prefer to wait until R5/R6 to pepper the line. Morse is a versatile prospect who played LT, RT and C at Missouri, and is thought to be best suited for G at the next level. Smart, strong and dependable, he’ll push David Yankey for starting LG duties immediately.

5(165) Chaz Green, T, Florida; 6’5”, 314

Green is an intelligent prospect with good feet, and he has high-level college experience at both tackle spots. While his athletic measurables don’t jump off the page, they’re good enough to project as a No. 3 swing tackle at the next level. The Vikings could badly use a consistent safety net behind both Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt, and Green fits the bill.

1(16)* HOU – Todd Gurley, RB
1(24)* ARI – Marcus Peters, CB
1(29)* IND – Eric Kendricks, LB
3(82)* HOU – Tre McBride, WR
4(110) – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DB
4(116)* HOU – Za’Darius Smith, DE
5(137) – Mitch Morse, G
5(165)* IND – Chaz Green, T
7(228)
7(232)

7(228) Bryce Hager, LB, Baylor; 6’1”, 234

For the 4th straight year, Spielman takes an LB in R7. Underrated due to physical limitations (primarily size), Hager is an instinctive, speedy tackling machine. At worst, he profiles as a special teams demon.

7(232) Trevor Pardula, P, Kansas; 6’5”, 212

Were it my pick, I’d be banging the table for Alabama FB Jalston Fowler, but again, Rick hasn’t taken an offensive skill position player later than R4 in any of his three drafts as GM. He has, however, taken two of the 13 K/P selected in the last three drafts. Pardula would be favored to beat out the disappointing Jeff Locke, and the dollars would be a wash. Pardula has a booming leg, and he’s another lefty, which is thought to be preferable, as it gives returners an abnormal look.

Your 2015 Minnesota Vikings Draft Class:

1(16)* HOU – Todd Gurley, RB
1(24)* ARI – Marcus Peters, CB
1(29)* IND – Eric Kendricks, LB
3(82)* HOU – Tre McBride, WR
4(110) – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DB
4(116)* HOU – Za’Darius Smith, DE
5(137) – Mitch Morse, G
5(165)* IND – Chaz Green, T
7(228) – Bryce Hager, LB
7(232) – Trevor Pardula, P

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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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22 Comments

  1. I would be exceedingly satisfied with this draft across the board! Kendricks, McBride, and Marcus Peters alone would be a great haul, but adding in Gurley seems like icing on the cake. Well done Mr. Spielman

  2. Pretty awesome draft I would kill for. Kendricks was a great value but possible. Ifo Ekpre Olomu was great value but possible. Love Zadarius Smith there, and of course all the first rounders. This is seriously my dream draft. That being said, I love Spielman, but he will not get a first round pick for Peterson. I wish he could, but he won’t. If this happened though, I would be the happiest fan on earth.

  3. Excellent job! If this played out, things would really look good for 2015 and beyond. One thing, Olomu, I’m hearing, “might” have a career ending injury with that ACL tear. It would be a shame to lose a talent like that.

  4. Pretty go, even for Spielman realistic. I still think Byron Jones > Peters. Otherwise, good job.

    1. Agreed. If this is based off of Spielman’s tendencies, then he would draft the height/weight/speed guy at corner much like he has in the past with guys like Xavier Rhodes, Chris Cook, Marcus McCauley, etc.

  5. I also find it interesting as I look through again that you had the Vikings trading Peterson but don’t have a single pick being used on a running back in a very good and deep running back class. Do you think that would be the Vikings strategy or just not enough picks to get a rb in there for this mock?

  6. I stopped reading after looking at the first trade. No way Houston gives up a 3rd and a 4th. Your dreaming.

    1. These are just possible trades, and the value of moving up 5 in the first while giving up a 3rd and or a 4th is not unreasonable based upon past drafts. Switching first round picks and gaining a later round pick or two with a team picking between 17 and 21 is also a realistic scenario.

  7. good piece, well written, but ya hafta have willing partners to trade with, and idk that we’ll get ’em

  8. lol this would be an insane draft. Kinda worried about guard, but the rest would be huge. Three first round drafts again? The announcers would blow a fuse.

  9. Well, I like your mock draft better than mine.

    If they keep Peterson and don’t make any trades I have:

    1- CB Trae Waynes
    2- ILB Benardrick McKinney
    3- S Jaquiski Tartt
    4- G Tre Jackson or Mitch Morse
    5- WR Jamison Crowder
    7- DE prospect
    7- ?

    Note: 2nd round LB’s take the best available or move up a few slots to grab; Kendricks, Perryman or Thomson,

  10. That would be awesome, especially if Ifo can get healthy. The only change I would make, and I’m sure I’m the minority, is to take Gordon over Gurley.

  11. I’ve been thinking Spielman draft’s Gurley to put more pressure on teams needing an RB to trade away more for AD. The best case scenario is both Gurley and Gordon are gone by pick #24. This mock draft is outrageous and probably closer to the actual draft than any other mock drafts because, Spielman. Even though Peters attitude worries me I would be very excited about a draft class like this.

  12. I could see him doing this sort of thing. If I were in the draft war room with him I would be banging the board for a higher rated OG at 110 than another CB. Our CB stable consists of Rhodes, Newman (potential Starter), Captain (Nickel), Josh Robinson (good backup), Sherels (works in a pinch), Jabari Price and a couple more. I don’t see where Ifo would fit. I don’t disagree he has high upside.

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