Three Vikings Mock Draft Scenarios: Trading Up, Staying Put, and Trading Back
Armed with 12 draft picks after the compensatory picks were announced and Stefon Diggs was traded to Buffalo, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has a great deal of flexibility in how he can handle this year's draft.
It's a critically important draft for the Vikings, who have a laundry list of positional needs following a mass exodus of talent this offseason. Cornerback, wide receiver, offensive line (tackle and guard), defensive line (three-technique tackle and edge rusher), safety, and arguably linebacker and backup quarterback are among the team's many holes.
There are three hypothetical approaches Spielman could take to this draft. He could more or less stay put in the Vikings' draft slots and try to address as many needs as possible. He could use his extensive draft capital to be aggressive in trading up for elite, game-changing prospects. Or he could focus on trading back and adding even more picks.
In reality, it will be some combination of the three. But just for fun, I went ahead and took each of those three ideas to the extreme in a five-round mock draft simulation. As always, shoutout to The Draft Network and their Mock Draft Machine.
Scenario 1: Staying Put
Right now, the Vikings have at least one pick in each of the first five rounds, including two first-rounders and two third-rounders. In this hypothetical scenario, I didn't make any deals, simply taking the best combination of talent and need that fell to me at each slot. I grabbed Fulton and Jones in the first round, just like I did in my last seven-round mock draft. I took a big, talented receiver in the second round, grabbed three high-upside trench players, and then added another corner in the fifth.
With another five picks remaining in the sixth and seventh rounds, we've already grabbed one receiver, two corners, two offensive linemen (both of which fit the Vikings' zone-blocking scheme), and two defensive linemen. I feel good about it.
Scenario 2: Trading Up
The Vikings need players who will be able to help them right away in 2020. That could incentivize Spielman to package multiple picks and move up in the draft to get guys he covets. Here, I took that idea to the extreme. Here's a rundown of the moves I made:
- Traded picks 22, 89, and 201 to the Broncos for the 15th pick to grab CJ Henderson, the second-best corner in this class and a potential shutdown player on the outside with his combination of technique and athletic tools.
- Traded picks 25 and 105 to the Eagles for the 21st pick, which I used to select the closest thing to Diggs in this year's draft. Jeudy, who is typically projected to go in the top 15, is the best route-runner and separator in this year's wide receiver class. He's a potential future star who would give the Vikings a dynamic duo at WR once again.
- With nothing standing out early in the second round, I stayed put at 58 and grabbed a great IOL scheme fit in Hennessy.
- Having used both of my third-round selections to move up twice in the first, I wasn't going to pick again until 132. So I traded picks 132, 155, and 205 to the Raiders for the 80th pick, which I used to take a massive tackle in Georgia' Wilson. The logic was that Wilson is much better than any tackle I would've gotten at 132m and can step in at right tackle with Brian O'Neill moving to the left side.
- For the hell of it, I packaged all three of my seventh-round picks and sent them to the Dolphins to get back into the fifth round and take Duvernay. He's a lightning-quick receiver with outstanding hands who had nearly 1,400 receiving yards last year.
It should go without saying that Spielman would never leave a draft with just five players, but remember that this is an extreme hypothetical. Henderson and Jeudy would be an unbelievable first round.
Scenario 3: Trading Back
In this simulation, I took the exact opposite approach by trading back heavily, ending up with seven picks in the first three rounds and ten picks in the first five rounds. Here's what that looked like:
- Traded the 22nd pick to the Jaguars for picks 42 and 73.
- Traded the 25th pick to the Jets for picks 48 and 79.
- Traded the 73rd pick (which I acquired from JAX) to the Patriots for picks 98 and 172.
Thus, my two first-rounders became picks 42, 48, 79, 98, and 172, and I stayed put at 58, 89, 105, 132, and 155. And look at that haul! I grabbed two borderline first-round talents in Terrell and Blacklock and then snagged Niang, who could be a steal if he stays healthy. Then I used my four third-round picks and one fourth-rounder to grab two receivers, a slot corner, a high-upside edge rusher, and a mobile IOL. Finally, I added some defensive depth with my two fifth-round picks.
It's worth mentioning again that scenarios two and three aren't very realistic. Spielman isn't going to walk away from the draft with only five picks, but he's also not going to bring in 15 new players (I think). In actuality, it'll be some combination of these three approaches. I'd expect the Vikings to add five to eight players in the first five rounds, and for Spielman to keep at least three or four late-round picks. Depending on how things play out, he could trade up to get someone he really wants, or trade back if he doesn't love the board at a certain slot. It'll be fascinating to see what ends up happening.
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