With the number of top-drawer free agent offensive tackles dwindling, it begins to look more and more like the Vikings will have to solve their right tackle situation via that yearly crap shoot known as the draft. This means getting the old draft-wonk hat out of the closet, dusting it off and…eh, who am I kidding? I have no draft wonk hat. Thankfully I do have the internet, which means I can quickly search around for information that will allow me to pretend I know what I’m talking about. Offensive tackles…combine numbers…mock drafts…scouting…hot Asian teens (bookmark that one for later)…
All kidding aside…there is one guy I’ve come across in my Googling who begins to intrigue me: William Beatty, offensive tackle out of UConn. Adam Best wrote him up last month on NFL Mocks (cause he’s on top of this stuff), and had this to say:
One offensive tackle who’s kind of been under the radar thus far is Connecticut’s William Beatty (he doesn’t even have a wiki yet!). At 6-foot-6 and just over 300 pounds, the husky ex-Husky has room to grow. NFL.com’s Mike Mayock recently raved about his feet and projected him as a sure-fire second-round pick. While watching footage of him, I noticed his athleticism. The big man moves like an NBA power forward. He indeed has great feet along with outstanding balance and lateral movement, and I could even see him pulling and getting upfield well in the running game.
Note that Mayock projected him to go in the second round. Since then Beatty’s stock has risen: NFL Draft Scout now has him projected as high as the mid first round, which puts him on the Vikings’ radar screen. And Beatty did nothing to hurt himself with his performance in the combine yesterday. In fact, he was singled out by SI’s Tony Pauline, who said:
One of the nation’s better pass blockers proved he is one of the best athletes of all the offensive linemen in attendance. Beatty weighed a stout 307 pounds and completed 27 reps on the bench. He ran his 40s in just over five seconds, then looked very smooth during position drills.
Not that I put much stock in all those combine numbers. The point is that the guy is clearly impressive and clearly worthy of the #22 pick. Some recent mocks have Beatty actually being taken off the board before the Vikings pick at 22. Offensive tackles will clearly be a hot commodity at the draft this year, meaning the Vikes might have to trade up to get the guy they want.
Speaking of trading up…if things keep going the way they are, the Vikings might have a realistic shot at nabbing Andre Smith. Three days ago this guy was one of the top players in the draft, if not the #1 overall prospect, but his behavior at the combine has raised more red flags than a nervous-looking Arab at an airport, and now his stock is falling faster than Andy Dick‘s pants at a Halloween party. PFT reported yesterday that Smith bailed on the combine without telling anyone, setting off an all-out search effort. Smith’s agent eventually informed everyone that his client had decided to leave early rather than participate in any drills. It then came out that Smith is woefully out of shape…and now possibly the real bombshell: SI says Smith’s combine interviews went “horribly,” explaining, “He’s been inappropriately dressed and has been giving a number of conflicting statements as to why he was choosing not to workout at the combine. Several offensive line coaches have already suggested Smith be removed from their team’s draft board and there’s no doubt his draft stock is falling.”
A fat head-case at right tackle to go with the big lumbering unmotivated bouncer-slamming Love Boating doofus we already have at left tackle? Sign me up.