Last year at about this time we began discussing the prospects of a trade market emerging for the Vikings 1st-round pick (#3 overall). As it turned out, the Vikings consummated a draft-day trade with the Cleveland Browns that moved them back one spot to #4 overall and also netted them three additional selections (4th, 5th, 7th rounds).
While the Vikings don’t hold such a high-value pick this year, they do possess a pair of 1st-round selections (#23 and #25 overall). This gives them flexibility. They can use one of those two selections in a trade back to accumulate more selections and still come away with one 1st-rounder. They can use one (or both) of them in a trade up to grab a player they covet who may not be available when they go on the clock. Or they can stay put and use both selections to add a pair of talented players to the roster. This flexibility is good for the Vikings because it will allow them to consider multiple options in an attempt to improve the roster.
For the purposes of this blog entry, though, let’s focus on the aspect of this flexibility that could create a robust trade market for one or both of those 1st-round picks. Whether or not the Vikings end up agreeing to a trade in the 1st round remains to be seen, but in the mean time we can start discussing potential opportunities that could arise for the Vikings.
The primary focus for now will be on players who could be available at #23 and #25 and who would generate trade interest from teams slated to select after the Vikings. Here are two possible scenarios…
Scenario #1 – Eddie Lacy
The trade the Vikings made in the 1st round last year was predicated on Cleveland’s interest in the draft’s top RB – Trent Richardson. Our first scenario for a trade this year is similar - perhaps the Vikings will be presented with an option to trade back once again by a team looking to grab the draft’s top runner.
Lacy will likely be the top RB on teams’ draft boards (although North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard has the highest grade in NFL.com’s rankings). If a mock draft has Lacy going in the 1st round, it’s typically to either St. Louis at #22 or Green Bay at #26. A trade back for the Vikings involving a team that covets Lacy, then, likely wouldn’t occur until after St. Louis’ pick at #22 – if the Rams pass on Lacy, then a team looking to tag Lacy will feel compelled to move up to #25 to jump the Packers at #26. One possible team to look at in this scenario is the Denver Broncos at #28.
BE THE GENERAL MANAGER: If you were the Vikings GM, would you trade the #25 pick to the Broncos for the #28 pick and a 4th-rounder this year?
Scenario #2 – QB de jour
Our second and final scenario for today would likely involve the Vikings second 1st-round pick (#25 overall) and a team from the early part of the 2nd round looking to move up into the latter part of the 1st round to satisfy their desire to draft one of the class’ remaining top QBs. Why would a QB-needy team sitting in the early part of the 2nd round feel compelled to trade up into the end of the 1st round where a bunch of playoff teams from last year reside and where, consequently, a bunch of teams with resolved QB situations reside? A team may do this because they want to go to bed on Thursday night at the conclusion of the 1st round knowing that their QB problem has been addressed, and knowing that some other team with a similar need isn’t going to work out a deal overnight to leapfrog them in the early part of the 2nd round to grab the QB they want.
It’s hard to gauge at this point which QBs will still be on the board when the Vikings are on the clock at #25. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s say only Geno Smith is gone. That leaves Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley and EJ Manuel for teams in the first part of the 2nd round. With a new head coach running the show, might the Philadelphia Eagles choose to trade the 3rd pick of the 2nd round (#35 overall) to move up into the Vikings spot? How about the Arizona Cardinals with the 6th choice of the round (#38 overall)? Or the NY Jets with the 8th pick of the 2nd round (#39 overall)? Buffalo with the 10th pick (#41 overall)? The Vikings could receive an attractive package of picks from one of these teams for the drawback of dropping a mere 10-15 spots (after having already netted a 1st-rounder at #23 overall).
BE THE GENERAL MANAGER: If you were the Vikings GM, would you trade the #25 pick and one of your 6th-rounders to the Jets for the #39 pick and their 3rd-round pick (#72 overall)?
Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, Eddie Lacy
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 498 Comments »
There isn’t a team in the NFL who wouldn’t consider adding talent and depth to their current crop of cornerbacks. But when you play in a division that features the likes of Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford chucking the rock on 59.6% (1907 of 3201 of their teams’ snaps) of the time, talent and depth at cornerback takes on an enhanced importance.
The best time of the offseason to address the CB position – the NFL draft – will be here in a matter of weeks, so now is a good time to assess this year’s crop of talent. To maintain some sense of credible order, we’ll group the CB prospects according to the grade NFL.com has given them and include the top 15 graded players. As we did with the receivers, we’ll leave comments next to some but not all of the prospects.
Let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below this entry or by emailing them for inclusion in a future Monday Morning Mailbag or Pick 6.
Top of the Class
Dee Milliner (Alabama) – The consensus top choice and a cinch to go in the Top 10.
Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) – At 6-1, 210 pounds and with his physical style of play, Rhodes will be valued significantly higher by teams who run schemes that demand such a profile from their cornerbacks (think: Jacksonville, Seattle)
Jamar Taylor (Boise State)
Johnthan Banks (Mississippi State)
Desmond Trufant (Washington) – A standout during the two practices I watched at the Senior Bowl, Trufant has the athleticism/size combo to be a starter as a rookie in the NFL. His NFL.com scouting report says he has the skill set to play either outside or nickel CB, which I like in terms of his potential to be a good fit for the Vikings. With some coaching to fine-tune some mechanical issues, Trufant could be one of the better immediate-impact CB prospects in this year’s class.
Ready to contribute
Robert Alford (Southeast Louisiana) and Leon McFadden (San Diego State) – NFL.com grades them about equally, and that’s convenient for me because both of these cornerbacks caught my eye during our Senior Bowl coverage this past February. They’re essentially the same size and they both come from lower-profile schools, but I think they could both make an impact with their teams as rookies. Their scouting reports are very similar – good in coverage (especially zone), good ball skills, fluid athletes, need to improve vs. the run.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson (UCONN) – Mike Mayock’s 5th-rated CB in the entire class.
David Amerson (NC State)
Jordan Poyer (Oregon State)
Also on the radar
BW Webb (William & Mary) – Solid performer at this year’s Senior Bowl practices.
Tyrann Mathieu (LSU) – I would rate him higher. His size is nowhere near ideal, but haven’t we learned by now that “he’s too small” should only go so far? The guy is instinctual, he plays with aggressiveness and passion, and he has a lot to prove.
Will Davis (Utah State)
Darius Slay (Mississippi State) – His teammate at Mississippi State – Johnthan Banks – is the higher-rated prospect, but maybe Slay will be the better player. He has good size at 6-0, 192 pounds with long arms, and his NFL.com scouting report credits him for having good hands and being willing to get physical with receivers and in the run game. If you don’t get a cornerback in the 1st or 2nd round, maybe this is a guy you can grab in the 3rd or 4th round and get a steal in doing so.
Tharold Simon (LSU) – How many pro prospects does LSU’s defense have? Add Simon to the long list. He has great size (6-2, 202 pounds with 32¾ inch arms) and had great production at LSU with 22 pass break ups and 7 INTs in 3 seasons.
Tags: 2013 Draft Preview, B.W. Webb, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Darius Slay, Dee Milliner, Desmond Trufant, Leon McFadden, Robert Alford, Tharold Simon, Tyrann Mathieu, Xavier Rhodes
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 46 Comments »