Nov 5, 2011; Fayetteville, AR, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks cornerback Stephon Gilmore (5) during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated South Carolina 44-28. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

Greg Cosell’s Mock Draft Has Vikings Taking Cornerback Stephon Gilmore #3


The suspense from yesterday is over. On Sunday Greg Cosell promised to rattle the foundations of the draft wonking universe by releasing a mock draft that had Matt Kalil not only not going #3 to the Vikings but dropping out of the top 10 altogether. Today Cosell delivered on his promise. His mock has Kalil falling to the Cardinals at 13. And the Vikings at 3?

He has the Vikes taking a cornerback, but not THAT cornerback. Nope. Cosell believes the Vikings should draft South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore #3 instead of LSU’s Morris Claiborne, the guy everyone (except evidently Cosell) rates as the #1 corner prospect available.

Cosell explains the Gilmore pick this way:

The Vikings play in the same division with Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler. You cannot compete in the NFC North without quality corner play. For the Vikings in 2012, a corner is more important than a left tackle. Minnesota takes the best corner prospect in this draft: South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore has a chance to be a Charles Woodson type player down the road: athletic, physical and competitive, playing outside in the base defense and in the slot in the sub-packages.

‘Kay fine, but why him over Claiborne? Cosell appears to think Claiborne isn’t physical enough to play in the Vikings’ Cover-2 scheme. He describes Claiborne as “a mirror or shadow press cover man” and that’s not really what the Vikes are looking for.

Cosell is himself eager to point out that his mock is based entirely on his own film study and NOT any inside info on what teams are doing. In other words, it’s his personal opinion that cornerback is a bigger need for the Vikings than offensive tackle and that Gilmore is the top-level corner prospect who makes the most sense for the Vikings. His tape-only approach is possibly best exemplified by his pick for #5, where he has the Buccaneers taking Janoris Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins is thought of as a top 10 talent but there are massive concerns about his character and it’s almost 100% certain no team will take him that high. But Cosell’s mock is all about tape and not about off-field, and in his mind, on pure talent plus importance of position plus team need, Jenkins is worthy of going #5.

Cosell obviously is a highly-respected guy in wonk circles, which explains all the excitement over his mock draft tease yesterday, so his opinion must be taken into account. At the very least, Cosell has given the second-guessers a big piece of ammo to use down the road if whoever the Vikings take at 3 ends up being a bust and Gilmore ends up becoming the next Charles Woodson as Cosell says he could.

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Tags: Matt Kalil Minnesota Vikings Morris Claiborne Stephon Gilmore