Now that the first wave of free agency is over, it’s time to turn our sights to the NFL Draft. Here at 1500ESPN, we prefer to draft simulations using the website Fanspeak to mock drafts.
Why Dallas Goedert was picked:
South Dakota’s dominate tight end wasn’t picked because of Kyle Rudolph’s future, he was selected because he was the player with the best chance to improve the Vikings. Goedert is an outstanding receiving tight end who was compared by NFL.com to Zach Ertz. He is a vertical threat with great hands, size and athleticism. Goedert also has the potential to become a solid blocker. Adding him to the mix with Rudolph can give Kirk Cousins a similar look to Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed in D.C. or Trey Burton/Ertz in Philly.
Part of the equation is the depth of the draft. The Vikings desperately need offensive linemen, but there are a number of terrific prospects down the board.
Goedert is a very talented pass catching tight end with the ability to work all three levels of the field. His ball focus and ability to make the spectacular catch will make him the darling of fans and media throughout the draft process, but, he still has work to do. Goedert dominated a lower level of competition and will have to prove he can uncover and block against bigger, more explosive athletes as a pro. The size, speed and talent is there for him to succeed as a very good combo tight end if he works and plays with a little more urgency.
Here are Goedert’s Pro Football Focus grades in each area:
Other available options:
Other first-round notes:
Why Brian O’Neill was picked:
Turns out there was a run on offensive linemen in the second round. Miller, Crosby, Price, Hernandez, Ragnow all went in the middle/late second. In this scenario, the Vikings might have jumped up in a trade to grab one of them, but this is the risk of taking a “luxury pick” in the first. However, O’Neil is still a very good prospect. His athleticism is absolutely incredible. As an athlete, he compares closely (via Relative Athletic Scores) to Tyron Smith and Terron Armstead.
O’Neill still needs some work with technique and did not have a great Senior Bowl, so there are some concerns, but he could begin his career at guard if he isn’t ready to play tackle and fit right into the Vikings’ zone blocking scheme.
Via Mockdraftable, here is his scores in the NFL Combine. History tells us that the best athlete tackles tend to succeed much more often.
“O’Neill has good length and is a terrific athlete, but his inconsistencies at the Senior Bowl practices will be hard for teams to get out of their minds. What might be even more troubling is the way he seemed to panic and lose technique in certain matchups. O’Neill is a classic zone scheme blocker, but teams may take a look at him as a move guard with tackle potential rather than locking in with him as a blind-side tackle. O’Neill needs to get thicker and stronger or swing tackle could be his ceiling.”
Why BJ Hill was picked:
If Jaleel Johnson is going to serve as depth behind Sheldon Richardson, Hill would slide in as a backup (or rotational) nose tackle. The Vikings lost Shamar Stephen in the offseason to the Seahawks, opening up a spot for a run stuffer. Hill ranked in the top 20 in the class per PFF in Run Stop Percentage. He did not produce much as a pass rusher, but had an excellent Senior Bowl week.
“Hill is a one-gapping, upfield defensive tackle with decent athleticism who seems to be able to find the football at an adequate rate despite lacking some play strength. While Hill’s production has been solid, he will have to develop more strength at the point of attack or become a more explosive upfield player to set himself apart and become a rotational defensive tackle.”
Why Scott Quessenberry was picked:
UCLA’s center is a terrific athlete who performed exceptionally well in run blocking. His ability to get out on the move could fit the Vikings’ run scheme very well. At worst, adding another interior lineman in the late rounds gives the Vikings a shade more depth after losing Jeremiah Sirles in free agency.
Why Grant Haley was picked:
The Vikings are very short on cornerback depth. The Penn State product lacks in size at 5-foot-9, but he runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and performed exceptionally well last year, ranking in the top 10 in yards/coverage snap per PFF and allowed a 42.4 QB rating on throws in his direction.
Why Justin Jackson was picked:
He was a role player at Northwestern, but Jackson averaged 6.3 yards per carry over three seasons. He also caught 44 passes out of the backfield last year. The Vikings could use a role player in the No. 3 spot behind Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray.
Why Equanimeous St. Brown was picked:
It was surprising to see St. Brown still on the board considering his combination of speed and athleticism. He ran a 40-yard dash under 4.5 at 6-foot-5. However, St. Brown’s production last season was unimpressive compared to 2016. He only made 33 receptions as compared to 58 the previous year.
Why Javon Rolland-Jones was picked:
Sacks. Rolland-Jones does not have ideal size, but the man produces. In back-to-back seasons, he picked up 13.0 sacks and 42.0 total for his four-year career.
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