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(Re)Making The Grade: Looking Back At 2012 Draft

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 8, 2013 – 7:12 am

We will talk a lot about the 2013 NFL Draft on vikings.com and the vikings.com Blog over the next 2.5 months. But right now, let’s take a look back at how the Vikings fared in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The impetus behind this idea is a piece put together by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. Immediately following each year’s draft, he applies a grade to each team’s effort by reconciling the selections made by each team against that team’s draft positions and specific roster needs. Anyone who does this will tell you there’s a high degree of error involved because it’s typically a 3-year process before you can complete the evaluation of a draft-class. But in order to be fair and to hold himself accountable, Kiper has decided to revisit his post-draft grades for each team and hand out new grades based on how the draft picks and teams fared during the 2012 season.

The Vikings efforts in the 2012 NFL Draft were applauded immediately after, as they came out of the event with a pair of 1st-round picks at positions of need and also peppered the roster with 8 other selections after that. Kiper gave the Vikings a post-draft grade of a “B” and said the following: “The Vikings did pretty well. They got the left tackle they coveted in Matt Kalil, and they moved up to get a safety. Both Kalil and Harrison Smith, their two first-round picks, should be starting in Week 1. Josh Robinson adds speed, if not a lot of polish, at corner, and has the chance to develop into a good player.”

A pretty spot-on post-draft evaluation. Kalil and Smith both started all 16 games this season, and Robinson indeed has the look of a developing player after playing in all 16 games and starting 6 in his rookie season. Plus, he was 3rd on the team with 2 INTs and 7th on the team with 61 tackles.

In revisiting the draft and handing out new grades, though, Kiper has increased that grade by changing it to an A-. Kalil, Robinson and Smith fulfilled his expectations, and then others, most notably Blair Walsh, add significant contributions to cause Kiper to upgrade his evaluation. Here’s what he provided as new commentary:

“Kalil not only started 16 games at left tackle, played well at a significant position and if his run-blocking catches up with his pass-blocking, he’ll become among the league’s best. Smith became exactly what the Vikings had hoped, started all 16 games at free safety and should be there for years to come. The instincts he showed at Notre Dame were on display, and he’ll continue to get better. Robinson is raw, but could ultimately take over for Antoine Winfield. And don’t overlook one of the steals of the draft. Blair Walsh was taken at No. 175 overall, and was the best kicker in the league in 2012. A year later, a pretty good draft looks even better.”

And that’s not even to mention WR Jarius Wright coming on in the second half of the season, Rhett Ellison well on the way to providing the offense with gritty blocking and sneaky-good production in the passing game, and late-round picks Robert Blanton and Audie Cole poised to take on increased roles after serving on special teams from time-to-time in 2012. Including the injured Greg Childs, 9 of the Vikings 10 draft picks from last year are still on the team.

The news gets better from here, too. The Vikings are currently slated to have 8 draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which provides GM Rick Spielman and Co. with plenty of ammunition and opportunity to add even more young talent to an already young and talented roster that will continue to get better.

 


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 41 Comments »


41 Responses to “(Re)Making The Grade: Looking Back At 2012 Draft”

  1. By BlueBird7 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    OK, lets get on with it!!

  2. By BlueBird7 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Now we will all see the “pick this guy, because he doesn’t have two left feet,”

    Don’t pick these guys because they DO have two left feet!

  3. By Carl K on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Blanton did ok in limited action. I would like to see him get a shot the starting safety job.

  4. By BlueBird7 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Yes, Carl K…Maybe he will get that spot.

  5. By dakotakid59 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    I hope we can match last years draft,if not excede it because I think we had a great draft last year.Rick Spielman did a great job,And I hope he can do as well this year. 23 is not quite as well as a seeding as last year but we will have 2 make due. good luck 2 us. We open up with Super Bowl champs. Would be nice feather in cap, 2 win that game. ” GO VIKINGS GO “

  6. By Rudso on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    I wouldn’t be mad at all if the Vikings somehow got Ta’o in the 1st round. I think Brinkley is a solid backup but not a starting caliber MLB. In our division, we need a guy who can play the pass as good as he can play the run. Ta’o is very instinctive, I believe he had something like 7 Int’s.

    Plus the last 2 ND players we picked (Rudolph and Smith), not to mention Sullivan, have worked out great so far with franchise type players in all of them. If Ta’o falls to us at it should be an easy choice.

    I wouldn’t even mind if we moved up a bit for him in the 1st round as long as we don’t give up our 2nd round pick. We should find a good WR in the 2nd. Two instant upgrades in positions of need.

  7. By Rudso on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    What ever player we go for in the 1st round, I feel it should be a defensive player. The Vikings had a couple of games last season where they really struggled to stop the run. Redskins and Bucs game stick out.

    A MLB or DT in the first round would be awesome. I would understand if we picked a WR in the 1st but as long as we don’t reach. Don’t be surprised if the Vikings take a OG in the 1st round as well. There are some Beasts out there that if picked would put an “evil grin” on Peterson’s face.

    Warlock or Warmuch, what ever his name is, the OG from Alabama, WOW. This guy is HUGE. He looks like a Sumo wrestler and a silverback gorilla had a baby. If our left side is….Kalil….Warmuck…..Sullivan, it’s over. Peterson will have LB’s and DB’s one-on-one ALL DAY!

    Honestly, Vikings should get the Best Player Available with their 23rd pick. MLB, DT, WR and OG are all positions of need, someone good is going to fall to us at those positions.

  8. By liito on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    2012 NFL draft was a B +. If we get somewhere close this year, let us say we aspire for an A, coupled with an A also in free agency; then, Vikes might go all the way to the Big Game.

  9. By WRHopkins2013 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Spielman talks about Percy…..

    http://min.scout.com/2/1265308.html

  10. By Parkway on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah you don’t get rid of a 24 y/o best slot WR in the league.

  11. By Daniel on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    The first pick has to be a WR

  12. By BlueBird7 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    I wonder if Chris Kluwe will be able to punt more then 21 yards this year.

    That would break his record of 20.

  13. By BlueBird7 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Daniel

    Maybe a punter who can break Kluwe’s record of 20.

  14. By Northern Norseman on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    @Rudso

    I applaud you! I completely agree with your points.

    On your one point:I would be entirely fine with waiting for a WR until the 2nd.

    I honestly believe there will be a high caliber WR still there in the 2nd round.
    The thing that scares me is that there could be a run on WRs by the time it’s our turn in the 2nd. (#54th overall)

    Last year there was 8 WRs taken before that spot in the draft.

    Also, I understand that it’s not guaranteed that exactly 8 players but it will be roughly close.
    Last 10 years and the amount of WRs taken leading up to our proximate spo in the 2nd round:
    (2012-8), (2011-4), (2010-3), (2009-8), (2008-9), (2007-9), (2006-4), (2005-9), (2004-9), (2003-6), (2002-8)
    Average amount of WRs in the past 10 years: 7.7 (we’ll round to 8 WRs)

    So let’s take the top 8 ranked WRs (current rankings of CBS NFL Draft Scout):
    1.Keenan Allen
    2.Cordarrelle Patterson
    3.DeAndre Hopkins
    4.Tavon Austin
    5.Robert Woods
    6.Terrance Williams
    7.Aaron Dobson
    8.Markus Wheaton

    Now I understand different rankings will have players ranked differently but it’s pretty close. Also, some WRs may go earlier or later than others but this is a good rough estimate.

    Next 4 top remaining WRs:
    9.Quinton Patton
    10.Justin Hunter
    11.Da’Rick Rogers
    12.Cobi Hamilton

    As you see, give or take a couple WRs, there is more than likely to be good value still on the board in the 2nd when the Vikings are up. Now if the #1 or #2 WR is still on the Vikings board in the 1st round then that could change things. Besides that, as far as I am concerned it is relatively safe to wait until the 2nd while getting good value and being able to spend the 1st round selection on a dominating G/DT/LB/CB.

  15. By Parkway on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Sign me up for Rogers in the 2nd

  16. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Parkway, what do you think of George Gerbner’s work?

  17. By Northern Norseman on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    @Parkway

    I am a big fan of Rodgers myself and would be pleased if the Vikings drafted him in the 2nd round. He reminds me of being the next Anquan Bolden but with a higher ceiling.

    Annnnnnd guess what?

    Vikings are picking #54 overall (2nd round)….. Anquan Bolden was picked #54 (2nd round).

    Interesting….

  18. By WRHopkins2013 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1519868-2013-nfl-draft-prospects-who-were-born-to-play-for-the-vikings

  19. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Parkway, I asked you a question.

  20. By Northern Norseman on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    @Titus

    Maybe Parkway it tending to other matters.

    You know everything from a job, appointment, hobby, emergency, family, general house/car maintenance, taxes, groceries, and so on.

    Oh wait!

    This is your world….. this is all about youuuuu! My apologies captain you on you planet.

    Ha just kidding.

    Patience is a virtue… remember that Titus.

  21. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    NN– how ironic– Parkway posts all the time– I am rarely on here.

  22. By Parkway on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    When George is finished with it, I’ll let you know, Titus.

  23. By RichardA1 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    A on the 2012 draft, two starters emerged and played as good as our superstars. Play Cole and the qb thompson more!

  24. By PurplHaze on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    It was a nearly perfect 2012 draft! I think that’s why all the regular bloggers are enthusiastic about the 2013 draft.

    IN SPIELMAN WE TRUST! SKOL!!!

  25. By Vikings1 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    @Rudso
    I would be very surprised if we took an OG in the 1st round, but I do agree that we should address the defense(ILB ot DT) in the 1st and a WR in the 2nd and (DT or ILB) in the 3rd and OG in the 4th, would be my ideal draft!

  26. By Parkway on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah I didn’t write that, come on Titus you’re better than that

  27. By rye on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    now trade harvin for more draft pics! He’s a great player but is turning into one of those prima donna’s. Wright can play the slot good (not saying he’s harven material yet, but he’s good). A Harvin trade would get rid of a distraction player and allow the team to go after a big receiver in the draft and also pick up other area’s of need.

  28. By sandiamond on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    lastest SI

    off-season preview

    16 mill cap / target wallace or bowe

    agressive linebacker rd 1. brinkley not to pay as starter

    better option at DT beyond guion draft is loaded

    re-sign Loadholt

    healthy Percy Harvin and keep happy w/ new extension and new schemes

  29. By RichardA1 on Feb 8, 2013 | Reply

    Harvin had a blow out with the coach, thats what this is all about, now they want to trade him, it was on the news.

  30. By Parkway on Feb 9, 2013 | Reply

    Titus is better than what??

  31. By Rudso on Feb 9, 2013 | Reply

    Nice breakdown on WR’s Northern Norseman! You’re probably right on the “feeding frenzy” that might take place for WR’s this draft after the Vikings 1st round pick. I guess the consensus on this years prospects is there isn’t a Julio Jones or an A.J. Green but a great debt at raw talent. Who knows, maybe Spileman pulls his 2012 trick out of the hat and moves up again for the 2nd pick to the early portion of the round to grab a WR.

    It’s going to be fun to watch the WR position go thru drills at the combine.

    I honestly don’t think the Vikings are THAT bad at the wide receiver position going in to the off season. We still have Percy Harvin, the Swiss army knife on steroids. Jerome Simpson has the skills but I think he lacked confidence this season. Maybe it’s because he was new or maybe it was the injury but I think he is going to have a MUCH better season this year. I also saw him make some great blocks to help Peterson on his long runs.

    J. Wright was a great pick. He’s a “Percy Light” in my eyes and his confidence is just as high as Percy’s. It was a shame what happened to Greg Childs, he was my sleeper pick of the Vikings draft! We’ll see how he comes back but he is solid debt at the WR position.

    That’s 4 WRs on the Vikings roster that all have a bright future with the team.

  32. By Rudso on Feb 9, 2013 | Reply

    Regarding the Percy Harvin trade/attitude problem/contract situation…

    I think it will be a HUGE mistake to let him go. Obviously I don’t know what PERCY wants, if he wants to stay a Viking or not. But a special player like Percy is not so easily replaceable. Yes he is a hot head but I think that comes from a good place instead of a “me me me” attitude.

    I’ll take Percy over Wallace or Bowe any day! They ALL have a “diva” like personality but Percy wants the ball because he wants to win. Coaches have to hold him back from wanting to contribute too much. This is why he got injured. He needs help, not sent to another team.

    Bowe is a RED FLAG. He held out in his rookie year and he held out for his 2nd contract. All Bowe cares about is him self first, his contract second, and maybe the team third. Wallace is also just looking for a pay check and all he has is speed. We got speed in Percy. I bet Harvin beats Wallace in a foot race 1 out of 2 times.

    Best case scenario…………we lock Percy down for the next 5 years.

    Not what I wanted but it’ll do scenario………..Percy gets traded and we get what we deserve for his talents AND we sign either Wallace, Bowe, or Jennings to a contract, someone is going to get a big contract at the WR position.

    Worst case scenario……….. Percy gets traded for change (no 1st round pick) and we don’t sign one the three free agents listed above.

    That being said, I have FULL confidence in our GM Rick in how he will handle this situation.

  33. By BigSling on Feb 10, 2013 | Reply

    Re-sign Percy. DO NOT target a big name WR in free agency as they command too much. Address OG/DT in free agency. Draft defense (DT or LB) in the 1st round as there are no “elite” WR prospects this year. Go WR in the 2nd round. Pick up DT or LB (whatever wasn’t taken in the 1st) and continue helping the defensive secondary after that. Just my 2 cents.

  34. By Ricky on Feb 10, 2013 | Reply

    When will we start to see some releases, or anything in regards to our free agents. I am jones’n pretty bad for some news about the 2013 Minnesota Vikings

  35. By Purple and Gold on Feb 10, 2013 | Reply

    I hope Harvin gets traded. There, I said it loud and proud! The Vikings are trying to build not just a team but a philosophy. One of winning with solid integrity and good character. For all of Harvin’s upside let someone else babysit him. Let’s get some men in here who want to win and not be the star. Trade him to the Browns, Jaguars or possibly the Dolphins. Maybe even Holmgren will take ‘em in KC.

    Excited for the future.

    SKOL!

  36. By Rudso on Feb 10, 2013 | Reply

    Well looks like that’s what’s about to happen. Now we just hope we get a nice bounty for Percy.

  37. By VikesForLife77 on Feb 11, 2013 | Reply

    I would give them an A. Yes we all know the year Peterson had, it was epic! But alot of our draft picks last year where the reason for success. Harrison Smith, made himself a safety teams feared, great coveragealong with spee and a hard hitter. Blair Walsh, lets see, NFC starting kicker in the Pro Bowl, enough said. Matt Kahlil, starter in the Pro Bowl, big part of Peterson’s monster season. Josh Robinson, stepped up big, good coverage back with GREAT speed and is a hard hitter. Jarius Wright, stepped up big when Harvin went out, little under half a season and had 310yds with 2tds, little over double that for a full season and you have around 700 and 5tds, Harvins rookie year= 790 and 6tds, pretty similar. Greg Childs, hey injuries happen, in my opinion he could of been a good deep threat. Rhett Eliason reminded my of Jimmy K out there wearing #40, of coarse smaller lol but he is a great blocker, and surprised me with his recieving arsenal. Blanton and Cole wear on Special Teams and could develop to possibly be NFL starters, couldnt ask for much more outta your 6th and 7th round picks. This team is young and lethal, next year and the years to come they could be very good contenders

  38. By vman on Feb 12, 2013 | Reply

    DO NOT TRADE HARVIN !! YOU HAVE TO BE F#$%^& CRAZY !! HE IS A BEAST!! I remember last year people on this site were starting to rumble about trading Peterson to build for the future. Look what he did !! We’ll build in the draft.
    Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul……….

  39. By jo on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Look at the bust of 2011…..Ponder

  40. By Purple4Life on Feb 17, 2013 | Reply

    Harvin to Arizona for Fitzgerald. Let’s get this hometown boy back where he belongs…Harvin doesn’t want to be in Minnesota anyway…don’t let the door Percy…

  41. By Dr. Takemoff on Feb 18, 2013 | Reply

    The Vikings 2012 draft was “top of the league” good. You rarely have a draft with as many players not only making the team and being productive but also a draft that includes immediate, “pro bowl quality” starters. In all honesty, it would be a surprise if the Vikings could match the quality of their 2012 draft in 2013 … but we can hope!

    IMO – Going into the 2013 draft …
    Ideally, with the cap space the Vikings possess, targeting Wallace*** and retaining Harvin would alleviate our WR issues for quite some time, thus freeing the Vikings to target other positions of need (ILB, DT, OG). Usually, after the combine there are a couple of WR’s, DE’s and QB’s who come from the 2nd round and jump into the top 20 … thus forcing players who we previously thought would be unavailable into our conversations. Therefore, there is a great possibility that a previously higher rated DT or LB may “fall” to us at #23 … perhaps someone like DT’s Sylvester or Jesse Williams, Johnathan Hankins or John Jenkins. Personally, I’d like to see ILB Arthur Brown (KSU) show some coverage skills at the combine … and if he does, I’d make him my selection at #23, because our type of defense functions best when the MLB can “cover.”

    Whatever happens though, SKOL Vikings, let’s go!

    ***Bowe should NOT be considered as a FA option as he does not fill the need for the Vikings need for a speed WR who can “stretch the field and catch the ball” (sorry Jerome, you’re fast but you’re a regular Roberto Duran when it comes to making a catch).

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