After the draft, there is always a lot of media attention as to which team had the best draft class. Heck, sometimes they hand out grades for players before they even have a chance to put on an NFL jersey. One thing that is easier to measure is how a team drafted against a player’s predicted draft value.
As for the terminology, a “steal” is a player that was projected to go well before he was drafted. Conversely, a “reach” is a player that was selected well before his projected place.
Here is my list of steals and reaches in the Vikings 2014 draft class:
David Yankey, Guard – Stanford (5th round, pick 145 overall)
- I absolutely love the pick of David Yankey for the Vikings. He is a powerful blocker that I had a second round value on going into the 2014 NFL Draft. He excels when asked to be a pulling blocker on the offensive line and should really help to make holes for Adrian Peterson in the run game. This preseason, Yankey should be given every opportunity to overtake Charlie Johnson and earn a starting job on Minnesota’s offensive line.
Antone Exum, Safety – Virginia Tech (6th round, pick 182 overall)
- Exum was drafted by Minnesota to compete at the safety spot, and that’s exactly what he’ll do. Currently, the Vikings have quite a group of underachievers at the position and Exum could see himself winning a starting job much sooner than expected. While many draft experts see him as a cornerback/safety hybrid, Exum should excel at saftety. He was most often given a 4th round grade by draft experts.
Scott Crichton, DE – Oregon State (3rd round, pick 72 overall)
- This one kind of shocked me. I had Crichton going to the Saints in the first round in many of my mock drafts. The fact that Minnesota swept him up in the 3rd is actually kind of unbelievable. The Vikings now have a defensive end rotation that includes Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Corey Wootton, Scott Crichton and probably Anthony Barr at times. The team is LOADED with pass rush power on the defensive line now.
Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback – Louisville (1st round, pick 32 overall)
- It is hard to call a player a steal when they’re taken in the first round, but Bridgewater falling all the way to the end of the first round was a dream for the Vikings. After only trading a 2nd and 4th rounder to move back into the first round to get him, Minnesota should have their young quarterback of the future. Only problem is that he might be the quarterback of the now if he can beat out Cassel and Ponder in camp.
Jerick McKinnon, Running back – Georgia Southern (3rd round, pick 96 overall)
- Sure, the Vikings are looking for a young running back to help out Adrian Peterson, but taking McKinnon in the 3rd round of the draft seemed almost like a panic move to me. With more polished prospects on the board, Minnesota instead went for a smaller running back that really impressed at the combine and workouts. I had an early 5th round grade on McKinnon. Hopefully he proves me wrong.
Anthony Barr, Linebacker – UCLA (1st round, pick 9 overall)
- This reach wasn’t as bad as I make it sound. I think Barr would have been selected at #11 overall by the Titans if Minnesota hadn’t snagged him at #9, but many experts thought that he could fall as far as #20. His raw talent and lack of experience on the defensive side of the ball was viewed as a negative by many, but new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer loves that and wants to develop him into one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.
What do you think? Who were your reaches and steals in the Vikings 2014 draft class? Let me know in the comments!