As the season comes to an end and the off-season approaches, fan attention shifts from the season to the draft. As always, Mock Drafts are very popular during the offseason, however, the majority of mock drafts lack one very important aspect: It seems as tho 75% of mock drafts do NOT HAVE TRADES. This, in my opinion, is outrageous, because when has there ever been a draft without trades? If you are going to speculate on where players are going to be drafted, you might as well speculate on trades as well. In my first mock draft of the year, I am going to predict that the Vikings will trade their 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 7th round picks in the 2014 NFL draft as well as their 2nd and 4th round picks in the 2015 NFL draft for the Ram’s 2nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. While this may seem like a lot, the numbers actually add up according to the Trade Value Chart that NFL teams use when determining the value of picks. The total comes to 2,583.4 points for the Vikings and 2,600 for the Rams. With that said, let the 2014 NFL (Mock) Draft Begin!
Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) sets to throw during the second half of the Russell Athletic Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
First Round, 2nd Overall Pick: Teddy Bridgewater(QB) Louisville
Reasoning: I’m sure a lot of you are wondering right now why Rick Spielman would trade away so many picks to move up 6 spots. Let me explain. Rick Spielman is drafting with his back against the wall after already missing on a Quarterback in 2011 and he knows that this is his last shot. While it is true that the Quarterback crop in this years draft is deep, Teddy Bridgewater is viewed by most people as both the safest and best Quarterback available. With Spielman’s job on the line, I believe that he is going to go with his best bet at this point. While you can argue that Johnny Manziel has more potential, he certainly is a bigger risk, which I believe will lead Spielman to draft Bridgewater. If Bridgewater develops into a good, or even great QB down the road, Spielman will look like a genius. But on the flip-side, if Bridgewater is a bust, than Spielman will likely be out a job.
Player Profile: Teddy Bridgewater is a 6’3”, 196 lb Quarterback coming out of Louisville. In his career (3 years) at Louisville, Bridgewater threw for an impressive 9,817 yards with 72 TDs and 24 INTs(With 58 TDs and only 12 INTs over his final 2 years). Bridgewater is a great decision maker, has a lot of patience in the pocket, possesses great arm-strength and touch, has good mechanics, progresses through his reads well, and can make every throw. His critics say that he isn’t always able to recognize blitzes, he is undersized, and that he didn’t face top-level competition in college(Although he did quiet some of his critics on this topic in the Russell Athletic Bowl in which he completed 35 of 45 passes(78%) for 447 yards with 3 TDs and 0 Ints leading his team to a 36-9 win). In his final year at Louisville he led his team to a 12-1 record.
Third Round, 72nd Overall Pick: Kyle Fuller(CB) Virginia Tech
Reasoning: The Minnesota Vikings finished the 2013-14 season with the 31st ranked pass defense. That’s all that needs to be said.
Player Profile: Kyle Fuller is a senior CB coming out of Virginia Tech. He stands at 6’0” and weighs 194 lbs. Fuller would probably be taken much higher if he hadn’t suffered an injury causing him to miss 6 games in 2013. He has long arms, good size, can play both man-to-man or zone-coverage, is a solid tackler, and makes plays on the ball. On the downside, he can be too aggressive at times (much like Xavier Rhodes was last year coming out of Florida State), and has somewhat tight-hips.
Third Round, 96th Overall Pick: Telvin Smith(LB) Florida State
Reasoning: Erin Henderson is likely to be 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.
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. 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 and that he can be out of control at times, resulting in missed tackles or over-running the play.
With this draft, I believe that the Vikings have made serious improvements in key areas. The Bridgewater pick is sure to draw criticism, but I believe it is a risk that Spielman will take. Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments below. You can follow me on twitter @jackmack28, and I hope you had as much fun reading this mock draft as i had making it. Skol!