With the combine now over, we are 1 step closer to the NFL draft. Personally, I believe too much thought is put into the combine, so if a player doesn’t have a great combine, I don’t worry too much about it(Except for when a player at a skill position majorly disappoints in an actually important drill, such as the 40 yard dash). What comes up on the tape is what really matters. Because of this, what happened at the combine this last week won’t affect my draft board too much. If you read my previous mock, then you already know that a mock draft pet peeve of mine is when no trades are included. Recently, Rick Spielman stated how he would love to trade down in the draft, so I am going to predict that Spielman will trade the 8th Overall Pick(1st Round) for the Titan’s 11th Overall Pick(1st Round), 108th Overall Pick(4th Round), and a 4th Rounder next year. According to the trade value chart that NFL teams use when determining draft pick values, the points come out to be pretty even. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s start drafting!
NOTE: If I have a same player in this mock draft as I had in a previous mock, the information will be similar.
First Round, 11th Overall Pick: Justin Gilbert(CB) Oklahoma State
Reasoning: Our Precious Purple ranked 31st in passing defense this past year. Outside of Xavier Rhodes(and possibly Josh Robinson, if Zimmer can turn his career around), the Vikings have no viable options at cornerback. This would also form a great young core of Justin Gilbert, Xavier Rhodes, and Harrison Smith that could headline a great secondary in Minnesota for years to come(Yes, i just said great secondary and Minnesota in the same sentence).
Player Profile: Justin Gilbert is a 6’0” 202 lb cornerback from Oklahoma State. Before the combine, he was widely thought of as the top cornerback in the upcoming draft, with a small percentage of people choosing Darqueze Dennard over him. After watching film on both of them, I have Gilbert ranked slightly higher. At the combine, Gilbert ran a 4.37 40 yard dash, solidifying himself as a dangerous kick-returner(Who could potentially replace Patterson for these duties when/if Zimmer feels he is too valuable to the offense to be returning kicks) as well showing he has the speed to match his elite game-tape. In 4 years at Oklahoma State, Gilbert racked up 154 career tackles, 12 interceptions, 32 passes defended, and 6 kick-return touchdowns.
Second Round, 40th Overall Pick: Zach Mettenberger(QB) LSU
Reasoning: Film. Film. Film. I was all for drafting Derek Carr, until I started watching film on this guy(Please, go watch his game against UAB, here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P_vZ0oy75g ) Mettenberger’s torn ACL could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Vikings, as it likely is the only thing keeping him from shooting up draft boards at this time of year. Mettenberger displays great accuracy and arm strength, consistently placing the ball in the perfect location on deep throws, which are perfect attributes for a Norv Turner Quarterback. Mettenberger also is good and calm in the pocket, can make all the throws, throws with great velocity, played in an NFL-Style Offense and succeeded, has a great work ethic, and, unlike Christian Ponder, is a good leader. His only flaws are that he sometimes holds on to the ball too long, resulting in sacks(Does this remind you of another NFL Quarterback who also happens to have the word that made McDonalds famous in his last name?), has a long delivery, and he is not very mobile, but neither is Peyton Manning(No, I am not comparing the two).
Player Profile: Zach Mettenberger is a 6’5”, 224 lb Quarterback out of LSU. Mettenberger’s college career got off to a shaky start after being kicked out of Georgia for violating team rules. Shortly after being kicked out he transferred to LSU and in 2012 took over the starting job. After a solid but underwelming 2012, Mettenberger saw nearly all his statistics rise during his senior year, as his percentage increased from 58.8% to 64.9%, his yards rose from 2,608 to 3,082(In less attempts (352 in 2012 to 296 in 2013) as his 2013 year was cut short due to a torn ACL), his average yards per pass rose from 7.4 to 10.4, and his touchdowns rose from 12 to 22 while only throwing 8 interceptions in 2013.
Third Round, 72nd Overall Pick: Telvin Smith(LB) Florida State
Reasoning: Erin Henderson was cut, leaving a gaping hole at Weak-Side Linebacker. Gerald Hodges(A 4th Round Pick of the Minnesota Vikings last year) and Smith could battle for the starting WLB spot in training camp, or Smith could compete for the starting Strong Safety spot(Although I don’t believe Jamarca Sanford is as bad as he is made out to be, but he can still be upgraded) as he has great speed which he showed by running a 4.43 40 yard dash time at the combine.
Player Profile: Smith is a Linebacker coming out of Florida State. He stands at 6’3” and weighs 218 lbs. Smith is a personal favorite of mine. While watching the senior bowl, Smith showed up countless times in my notes and was constantly sniffing out screens and short passes for little-to-no gain. Smith could play either Linebacker or Safety in the NFL, which is perfect for the Vikings who happen to have a need at both positions(Once again, this depends on your opinion on Sanford). He is very fast and athletic, reads plays well, is solid in coverage but his potential in this area is off the charts, can rush the passer effectively, and is a fantastic special-teams player. His areas of concern center around his below-average run-support(Maybe a switch to Strong Safety will fix this?) and that he can be out of control at times, often resulting in missed tackles or over-running the play.
Third Round, 96th Overall Pick: Daniel McCullers(DT) Tennessee
Reasoning: The Vikings have been looking for a new nose-tackle since Pat Williams retired years ago. McCullers has shown throughout his career at Tennessee that he needs to be double-teamed and can stuff the run. The start of a good defense is having a good defensive line.
Player Profile: Daniel McCullers is a Defensive Tackle from Tennesse. He is a mammoth of a man, standing at 6’7” and weighing 352 lbs. He finished his final season at Tennessee with 33 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, and 0.5 sacks. McCullers is a player whose presence is felt beyond what the stats say, although he isn’t much of a pass-rusher. He consistently draws double teams which frees up other defensive linemen, and is hard to move which clogs the running lanes for the opposing offense. McCullers also had a good game against Alabama, which is always a good sign.
With these players added to the Viking’s roster, the defense should now have enough talent with proper coaching to excel, and Mettenberger is everything that Norv Turner looks for in a Quarterback. Don’t forget to leave your opinions in the comments below, and follow me on twitter @jackmack28. As always, thanks for reading. Skol!