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.
Simulations use team needs and mock drafts to determine an order, and then we make the Vikings’ selections. For Part 1, here are the picks at No. 30 and No. 62…
Why he was picked:
The Vikings are clearly in need of an offensive lineman, but the guard class is so deep that they could try to roll the dice and address the position in the second round. Gesicki fits the mold of the type of tight end the Vikings have been seeking with late-round picks. In the short term, he would add a weapon in two-TE sets or he could line up in the slot to create mismatches. In the long term, he would ultimately take over the starting job as Kyle Rudolph gets his late prime much the way that Zach Ertz took over for Brent Celek.
What we know:
Gesicki had a strong senior season at Penn State, catching 57 passes for 563 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had an unbelievable Combine, moving himself into the conversation for a first-round pick. Here is where he ranked in the percentiles of each drill (via Mockdraftable.com):
Here is the bottom line From his NFL.com draft profile:
“If you are looking for a tight end who can line up and help in the running game, he’s not your guy. However, if you want a pass-catcher who can get open and has the ball skills to win against linebackers and safeties, he might be your guy. Gesicki needs to improve his play strength and his issues as a blocker could limit the amount of teams who will target him, but he has a chance to become one of the better pass catching tight ends in the league.”
In this simulation, the Vikings would have a tough choice between taking the most explosive tight end or several good prospects on both the offensive and defensive line.
Other available options:
Here is a look at how the bottom of the first round played out:
Why he was picked:
In the second round, the bet paid off and Iowa’s James Daniels was still on the board. While he played center in college, he could transition to guard like current left guard Nick Easton or Pat Elflein could move to right guard, where he spent a large portion of his college career.
What we know:
According to his NFL.com draft profile, Daniels fits the mold for the Vikings’ athletic offensive line:
“Daniels is a fluid mover with tremendous initial quickness to win positioning on most every zone block he’s asked to make — both on the first and second levels. His height, weight and arm length numbers at the Combine will be critical in either solidifying his draft slot or potentially dropping him a round. Some teams might see him as a zone-only center, but he may be strong enough to fit in with other blocking schemes. He needs to get stronger, but he’s a plus run blocker and pass protector with a chance to become a Pro Bowl starter.”
If you are wondering, here is how the first round played out in this simulation:
Feel free to do your own draft simulations and leave them in the comments or send on Twitter to @matthewcoller