By: Nate Leer
In his years as GM, Rick Spielman has done a very good job drafting, with one notable exception to Ponder. This year’s draft could be another good one especially considering that Spielman flipped the Vikes 4th round pick into 3 picks – 6th round this year plus 3rd and 4th rounds next year – which makes the long-term value that much greater even if all of the players below do not pan out.
Below is a quick “get to know them” on the newest members of the purple:
(Round, player, position, height and weight)
1. Laquon Treadwell – WR – 6’2″, 221 lbs.
This looks like a solid value for a position of need – perfect draft scenario! Treadwell is a former top-10 type of prospect who brings the skillset the Vikings lack the most. He is a red zone target and may provide a downfield threat even though he did not run well at the combine. Treadwell fits the mold of Alshon Jeffery and Kelvin Benjamin – large, tall recievers who dropped due largely to speed concerns. Ask Chicago or Carolina how productive those players are!
One last thing about the NFL’s newest LT: He broke his leg in 2014 giving his all to his team to try to win a game. Then he worked his way back to be productive in less than a year. So, some traits we know help guys in the NFL include effort, will to win, work ethic, ability to come back from injury. This guy seems to have them!
2. Mackensie Alexander – CB – 5’10”, 190 lbs.
In the modern NFL, a team can never have too many quality CBs. A safety such as Vonn Bell seemed like more of a need, but we will assume the MN braintrust went with the best available player on their board and got a guy who many rated as a low first round talent. The MN coaching staff are supposed to be DB gurus so hopefully this kid picks up the skills needed to justify this pick and maximize his talent, including 4.4 speed.
4. Willie Beavers – OL – 6’4″, 324 lbs.
Beavers looks like a raw prospect without LT upside but MN can afford to be patient for a guy who could be a real fixture somewhere on the OL by 2017. By my count, this gives MN 10-12 rosterable OL. They will probably have to make tough cuts at some point but injury issues may thin the herd and give Beavers a chance sooner than later.
5. Kentrell Brothers – LB – 6′, 245 lbs.
Under-sized and not fast, Brothers still led the NCAA in tackles. Long-time MN fans can keep our fingers crossed for another Ed McDaniel or Scott Studwell. Dream big!
6. Moritz Boehringer – WR – 6′ 4″, 227 lbs.
Unexpected and ground-breaking, this pick marked the first time a player was drafted STRAIGHT from Europe to the NFL. The Deutscheman’s size/speed combo and rudimentary skills may help open the door for others.
6. David Morgan – TE – 6′ 4″, 262 lbs.
A strong point-of-attack blocker with sure hands and receiving skills but slow feet, Morgan has some competition to make the roster but brings a power skillset MN could use.
7. Stephen Weatherly – OLB/DE – 6’4″, 267 lbs.
Possessing surprising measurements for a late round pick – 4.61-second 40-yard dash at the combine, 23 reps on bench press, 34 1/2-inch arms, Weatherly may be a long-term value as he grows physically and mentally into being a consistent pass rusher.
7. Jayron Kearse – S – 6′ 4″ 216 lbs.
MN finally gets a safety but one has to wonder how much help can come from a late 7th rounder. Maybe he can help with special teams this year and be real safety competition in 2017.
Following is how the 2016 draftees fit into the roster and projections for which players could make the 53-man roster:
Roster: (potential starter, reserve on projected final 53, possible PUP, bubble players, probable cut)
(3) QB – T Bridgewater, S Hill, C Heinicke
(4) RB – A Peterson, Z Line, J McKinnon, M Asiata, B Renaud
(6) WR – S Diggs, L Treadwell, J Wright, C Patterson, C Johnson, A Thielen, M Boehringer, T Sinkfield,
(3) TE – K Rudolph, M Pruitt, R Ellison, D Morgan, B Leonhardt
(2) LT – M Kahlil, TJ Clemmings
(2) LG – A Boone, Willie Beavers
(2) C – J Sullivan, J Berger, Z Erin, N Easton
(2) RG – B Fusco, M Harris, D Yankey, J Sirles
(2) RT – P Loadholt, A Smith, A Sheppard, C Bykowski
(1) K – B Walsh
(1) LS – K McDermott
(6) S – H Smith, M Griffin, A Sendejo, A Harris, A Exum, J Kearse, M White, J Lowdermilk,
(6) CB – X Rhodes, T Newman, C Munnerlyn, T Waynes, M Alexander, M Sherels, J Price,
(5) OLB – A Barr, C Greenway, E Lamur, B Watts, S Weatherly, E Robinson, T Lewis
(3) MLB – E Kendricks, K Brothers, A Cole
(5) DE – E Griffen, B Robinson, D Hunter, S Crichton, J Trattou, BJ Dubose, Z Moore
(4) DT – L Joseph, S Floyd, S Stephen, Tom Johnson, I Faciane, K Ellis, Toby Johnson
(1) P – J Locke