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Senior Bowl Recap and Quick Takes

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott found Southeast Missouri State wide receiver Paul McRoberts for a five-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter as the South beat the North 27-16 at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. In limited action Prescott led the South with one touchdown on 7 of 10 passing for 61 yards while earning the game’s Most Outstanding Overall Player. North quarterback Carson Wentz completed 6 of 10 passing for 50 yards with two dropped balls and solidified his spot as the top quarterback prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft.

TCU running back Aaron Green scored the games first touchdown for the South on a dynamite 25-yard up the middle run which he cut to the outside and flashed some burst to out-race everyone to the end zone.

Prescott wasn’t the only SEC quarterback to lead the South team on scoring drives. Arkansas’ Brandon Allen completed 7 of 10 passes for 106 yards, and Alabama’s Jake Coker connected on 3 of 8 for 23 yards in the win.

Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence entered the week as the top defensive prospect, and he didn’t disappoint. Spence had a great week of practice and was dominant in the game Saturday, posting two tackles, one sack and disrupting several other plays.

Alabama’s running back Kenyan Drake put the game on ice in the fourth quarter with a short sweep for the South squad. The North scored on the games final play when Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskell found Michigan State’s Aaron Burbridge for a 29-yard Hail Mail.

Vikings fans are hopefully to add a playmaking wide receiver early in the draft, but, unfortunately this game didn’t feature many standout highlights at that position of need. The leading receiver was tight end Nick Vannett with three receptions for 58 yards. Baylor’s wideout Jay Lee and Southeast Missouri State’s Paul McRoberts each caught four balls and did however catch my eye as intriguing middle to late-round prospects. The Vikings already have plenty of speed on the roster at the receiver position, so, a well-built possession receiver like McRoberts who is quick off the line and excels in the red zone might be an option if the Vikings do not select a pass catcher in the first two rounds. McRoberts broke Southeast Missoui’s all-time career record with 29 receiving touchdowns and finished his career with 2,435 yards. His quickness and great hands also helped him compile 162 yards on 14 punt returns, including a 69-yard touchdown return.

Boise States’ safety Darian Thompson was the North MVP after posting five tackles and two pass breakups. Southern Utah’s safety Miles Killebrew and Maryland safety/corner Sean Davis played well in the game while also having a good week of practice. Good news for Vikings fans looking for safety help through the draft. In 2014 only four safeties were drafted in the first three rounds. Last season five were taken in the first three rounds. This year’s safety talent pool may not be first-round heavy, but this class has plenty of depth and options in the first three rounds including Thompson and Killebrew. The Vikings really shouldn’t have any problem landing a safety with size and talent in the first four rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft. Thompson finished the season among the nation’s leaders with seven interceptions, 71 tackles, five tackles for loss, and eight passes defended. He is a rangy and aggressive defender in both pass coverage and against the run. The bottom of the second round might be a perfect spot for the Vikings to draft Thompson.

Offensive guard is also a position many Vikings fans will be tracking in the coming days leading up to the draft, and the Senior Bowl offered a glimpse at a variety of talent for the Vikings to study. Rick Spielman has had mixed results drafting late-round guards, and I think it might be time to target one earlier this time around. Kansas State’s Cody Whitehair, LSU’s Vadal Alexader, Notre Damn’s Nick Martin and Arkansas Sebastian Tretola were a few of the top interior lineman that performed well throughout the week. Pick 23 is too high for this group of prospects and the back end of round two might too late for Whitehair and Alexander. So, if the offensive line is the Vikings number one priority, Spielman may decide to trade back and pocket more draft picks targeting Whitehair in the process. Whitehair received All-Big 12 honors all four seasons at Kansas State. He is a 50-game starter with experience at guard and tackle and would bring a much needed nastiness to the trenches for the Vikings.


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Carl Knowles

Carl Knowles (Contributor) is a former member of the Professional Bowler Association and an avid lifelong Vikings fan. When he is not bowling you can find him on websites and forum pages sharing his creative insight and enthusiasm for the Minnesota Vikings any chance he gets. Carl was a Phoenix Institute of Technology and Purdue University standout who currently enjoys the challenge of being a graphic director in the printing business. You can follow him on twitter @carlknowles_vt.

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One Comment

  1. Coleman 1st pick, offensive tackle/guard or defensive end for depth 2nd, safety or Seminoles kicker 3rd. Continue with others along rest of way with aussi punter 6th, 7th round!