Original Pick: Ezra Cleveland – G/T (Boise State)
Ezra Cleveland spent the majority of the first half of the season watching from the sidelines. After Pat Elflein was injured, the Vikings tried second-year man Dru Samia at right guard. That move proved to be a disaster as Samia did the impossible and actually played worse than Elflein.
After the Samia experiment failed the Vikings inserted Ezra Cleveland at right guard. His debut game was a bit of a mixed bag but since that first game, he’s been very good. Cleveland has been excellent in pass protection and also opened up huge holes in the running game for Dalvin Cook.
If he had more than three starts under his belt, this pick likely would’ve stayed the same. Maybe at the end of the season, it will, but for now, the Vikings would have to make a different choice if they could do it all again.
Redraft: Damien Lewis – G (LSU)
The Seahawks took Damien Lewis in the second round and this guy has been a home run. He’s been graded by PFF as one of the best run-blockers in the NFL and has started all eight games for the Seahawks this season.
Lewis is a big powerful man who moves extremely well. He’d do wonders in the Vikings’ blocking scheme and would make life so much easier for Cook than it already is. With Lewis in tow, the Vikings likely wouldn’t have had to try the Dru Samia project and a result of that would’ve been their quarterback taking fewer hits and not being gun shy from all the abuse over the course of the first five games. Damien Lewis, through eight games, appears to have Pro Bowl potential and the Vikings could really use him as their long-term fix at one of the guard positions.