The NFL draft is one of my favorite times of the year. Making the right selections can take your team to new heights, while making the wrong selection can set the team back for years.
By Jordan Wright
The draft is a source of hope, and as a Vikings fan I’ve needed to get hope from wherever I can find it. The Vikings have had a number of really good drafts in my lifetime, including drafting future first ballot hall of famers Randy Moss and Adrian Peterson, but there have also been many draft busts like Troy Williamson and Erasmus James.
In my opinion, Rick Spielman is one of the best General Managers in the NFL. He understands the draft. He is able to see where the value is, and how to move his picks around to move up or down in the draft and get the players he wants. Rick also loves drafting players in the first round, picking seven players in the last three years alone. One of the reasons Rick loves the first round is because teams have a fifth year option on those rookie contracts, giving the Vikings an extra year at a lower salary if the player becomes a superstar.
At this point of the year, you can’t read too much into anything you read on the internet. Teams are purposefully putting out false information, either talking up a player they have no interest in or not saying anything about a player they covet. There is no way to know exactly what a team is going to do in the draft, but I am going to try.
Here’s how I see the first 10 picks in the draft
1 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Jameis Winston (QB, FSU)
Every mock draft has Tampa selecting Winston, and I have no reason to believe otherwise. Jameis has all the tools to succeed in the NFL, but it remains to be seen if he can eliminate the off the field issues that have plagued him since he was a freshman, like stealing crab legs or the sexual assault allegations.
2 – *TRADE* Philadelphia Eagles select Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon)
Tennessee trades the number two overall pick to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford, a first round pick and a second round pick next year. The Titans get additional draft picks and a starter at quarterback, while Philadelphia gets their quarterback of the future in Mariota. Chip Kelly coached Marcus Mariota at Oregon and does whatever it takes to land the ultra-athletic quarterback.
3 – Jacksonville Jaguars select Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama)
The Jaguars selected Blake Bortles fourth overall in last year’s draft and they believe he is their quarterback of the future, and they continue to put pieces around him by selecting the best wide receiver on the board. Cooper is a dynamic playmaker who can already run every route like an NFL veteran.
4 – Oakland Raiders select Leonard Williams (DT, USC)
The Raiders have a lot of holes on their roster and can go a number of different ways with this pick. I think they will try to move down and accumulate more draft picks, but if they can’t find a team willing to move up, they will go with the best player left on the board. Williams is a phenomenal talent and will add another dimension to any defensive line he becomes a part of.
5 – *TRADE* Atlanta Falcons select Vic Beasley (OLB, Clemson)
The Redskins get a third and a fourth round pick to drop down from five to eight. The Falcons need a pass rusher, so they make a move here to move up and get the top edge rusher on their board. Beasley can play defensive end or outside linebacker and will shore up the biggest need on Atlanta’s roster.
6 – New York Jets select Trae Waynes (CB, Michigan State)
The Jets can go a couple different ways with this pick, and I think they are another strong candidate to move down here. If they have a favorable rating on Waynes, he could be the. The Jets have a solid defense, but Waynes would come in and help fix a secondary that proved last year it could be beaten.
7 – Chicago Bears select Danny Shelton (DT, Washington)
Chicago needs help all over their defense, and they could also go wide receiver with this pick after trading Brandon Marshall to the Jets. I think they take the top player on their board, Danny Shelton. Shelton is a massive defensive tackle that is great at creating pressure up the middle and disrupting the quarterback.
8 – Washington Redskins select Shane Ray (DE, Missouri)
After moving down, Washington is still able to get an edge rusher they want. Ray would come in and immediately upgrade that defense.
9 – New York Giants select La’el Collins (OT, LSU)
It’s no secret the Giants need help on the offensive line. Their line was one of the worst in the league last year, and they attempt to fix it by bringing in the best offensive tackle in the draft. Collins could start at right tackle until he proves he is ready for the speed of the NFL, then he can switch to left tackle, moving Will Beatty to right tackle or guard.
10 – St. Louis Rams select DeVante Parker (WR, Louisville)
The Rams could use help on their offensive line, but I think they look to take a wide receiver in the first round. The Rams selected Tavon Austin in the first round a couple of years ago, but he hasn’t amounted to anything resembling a starting wide receiver in the NFL. Parker has the size and speed to come in and become the true number one receiver the Rams need.
11 – Minnesota Vikings select….
Now comes the part that we are all waiting for. The moment when Roger Goodell walks to the podium and declares “The Minnesota Vikings are now on the clock.” from day one. The Vikings could also look at upgrading the cornerback position, but with Trae Waynes already gone there probably isn’t a corner worth the number 11 pick.