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Updated: April 29th, 2014 11:59am
ESPN mock drafters agree on QB Blake Bortles to the Vikings

ESPN mock drafters agree on QB Blake Bortles to the Vikings

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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With 8 days to go until the NFL Draft begins, ESPN's mock drafters have updated their projections.

Todd McShay thinks the Vikings will draft UCF quarterback Blake Bortles.                

Of the other quarterbacks expected to be selected in the first round, McShay pegs only Johnny Manziel as a higher draft choice, at No. 4 to Cleveland.

McShay:

Analysis: The Vikings need a long-term answer at quarterback, but the presence of Matt Cassel (who did not play terribly last season) would allow for Bortles to sit for at least part of his rookie season, which is an ideal situation for him. He has prototypical size and good mobility, and while there are some issues with his mechanics, I think they are fixable. I also wouldn't be surprised if GM Rick Spielman trades again. He made a shrewd deal in 2012 to move down and add picks while still getting Matt Kalil and then traded back into the first round to get Harrison Smith. He was active again in last year's first round.

For what it's worth, McShay rated Bortles as the No. 9 overall prospect in his Top-32 projection, the top-rated quarterback.

Mel Kiper Jr. also thinks the Vikings will take Blake Bortles at No. 8.

Kiper:

Analysis: Obviously, the current tandem of Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder isn't the long-term answer. On the other hand, the presence of both provides a reasonable basis for drafting a quarterback, because there's no need to simply force-feed a rookie the starting role out of the gate. I think Bortles will benefit from some time in the system before he's forced to handle first-team reps. I'll say again that Bortles is a very good athlete with excellent pocket instincts and can benefit from his ability to create some yards with his legs, as we've seen from a few other young quarterbacks recently.

Mock drafts can be fun, but the success rate historically has been very low at nailing down the first-round picks. Still, it seems logical the Vikings could select a quarterback with projected upside as a "franchise quarterback" if they remain at the No. 8 spot in the draft.

What do you think, Vikings fans? Do you put any weight in the fact that both ESPN mock drafters think that by the end of next week Bortles will be a Viking?

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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