Vikings First Round Mock Draft Roundup 4.0
The NFL Combine is underway in Indianapolis, with hundreds of draft prospects being measured, interviewed, and tested in front of scouts, coaches, and executives. But even before most of the combine information comes out, it's time to do another Vikings mock draft roundup. It's been a couple weeks since the last one, and there have been all kinds of mock drafts gracing the internet over that time.
In case you need a refresher on what the past looked like:
- First Round Mock Draft Roundup 1.0
- First Round Mock Draft Roundup 2.0
- Mock Draft Roundup 3.0: Projecting the First Two Rounds
We're going to get back to just focusing on the first round here. We'll be back with another seven-round mock draft next week after the combine. Let's get to it.
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com (2/25) – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Despite questions about his tackling ability, Delpit would upgrade the speed and athleticism in the Vikings' secondary.
InsideTheVikings analysis: With Mike Zimmer seeming to suggest that the Vikings may not be able to afford Anthony Harris in free agency, safety becomes a real possibility in the first round. However, I'm not sure Delpit is someone who fits the Zimmer mold in the secondary because of the serious concerns about his tackling. If they can identify a path to improvement in that area, Delpit can do just about everything else. I'd rather have Alabama's Xavier McKinney, but Brooks has him going to the Patriots two picks earlier and plenty of mocks have the Cowboys taking him at No. 17.
Chad Trapasso, CBS Sports (2/26) – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Henderson is a sticky, twitched-up man cornerback who can play on the outside or in the slot because of his athleticism. He's the type of corner Minnesota will need in 2020.
InsideTheVikings analysis: The first tier at the cornerback position is Ohio State's Jeff Okudah. Then things get interesting, because there are roughly ten players with a real case to be considered for the second tier. Henderson, Kristian Fulton, and Jeff Gladney seem like the three players who have separated themselves above the pack, but that could change based on the combine results.
Kevin Hanson, Sports Illustrated (2/25) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Both Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander are scheduled to become free agents, and the play of Xavier Rhodes has regressed significantly despite his making the Pro Bowl. In fact, Rhodes could become a cap casualty this offseason. The younger brother of Stefon, Diggs has ideal length for the position and led Alabama in pass breakups (eight) last season.
InsideTheVikings analysis: Although the name recognition makes him a popular choice among Vikings fans, I'm not sure Diggs (who many project to be a second-round pick) is a great value here. There are some concerning things in his tape, and there are other corners who appear more polished in coverage. However, three things to love about Diggs are his ball skills, his size, and his relentless work ethic/attitude.
Jon Ledyard, PewterReport (2/24) – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
I didn’t want to go too crazy with trades outside of the top ten, but Minnesota is a team that might be desperate enough for offensive tackle help that they jump up from No. 25 to get their guy. Jones has experience in a zone-blocking scheme, and while his footwork needs to develop, his tape is a shutdown festival of pass protection beauty. The jump in competition will probably still take a year or two to adjust to, as it does to some degree for most offensive tackles.
Dan Kadar, SB Nation – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
If a talented left tackle like Jones drops into the back part of the first round, the Vikings shouldn’t hesitate to take him. Veteran left tackle Riley Reiff has been average, and could be shifted inside to guard if Jones is the choice. He would give the Vikings an athletic tackle who can easily mirror pass rushers.
InsideTheVikings analysis: Jones continues to be a popular choice for the Vikings at No. 25, and for good reason. He's a dynamic, high-upside prospect who is a perfect schematic fit at a position of need. Would he be better next year than Riley Reiff? Maybe not. Would he be a lot cheaper, with the chance to quickly develop into a superior player? Absolutely. The risk for the Vikings is that a strong combine could boost Jones's stock enough that he doesn't make it to 25.
Arif Hasan, The Athletic (2/24) – Austin Jackson, OT, USC
...they’ll take one of the only remaining system fits among the early offensive linemen and let a perhaps superior player in Kristian Fulton continue to fall, knowing that the cornerback talent later in the draft is much better than the guard or tackle talent — especially after taking into account scheme and positional thresholds. In this scenario, they would likely entertain a move to the inside to guard for Riley Reiff and keep Brian O’Neill on the right. Jackson will need some work, but his smoothness and natural athleticism will allow the Vikings to continue hitting the edge on outside zones while his pass protection upside should give Kirk Cousins the time he needs.
InsideTheVikings analysis: Hasan represented the Vikings in The Athletic's beat writer mock draft. With the top five tackles (Jedrick Wills, Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs, and Josh Jones) all off the board, he elected to still pursue the position in the first round by taking Jackson. Hasan cites a lack of scheme fit as the reason for passing on LSU corner Kristian Fulton. Jackson's combination of size and movement ability are enticing; he should do well at the combine.
Joe Marino, TheDraftNetwork (2/24) – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
The Minnesota Vikings love to use first-round picks on cornerbacks and it’s still a glaring need on the roster. Jeff Gladney features rapid feet and fluid hips. Overall, Gladney has that blend of footwork and flexibility needed to thrive in coverage. Whether it’s being aggressive to crowd routes early in the release, mirror in man coverage or play in off-man, Gladney’s foundation of traits is ideal for performing at a high level.
InsideTheVikings analysis: One thing that Marino doesn't touch on here is that Gladney is an impressive tackler who brings plenty of physicality to run support. Combine that with his coverage skills, and I think Gladney has a real case to be considered the second-best corner in the draft.
Walter Cherepinsky, WalterFootball (2/25) – Justin Madubuike, IDL, Texas A&M
Linval Joseph is still a dominant presence in the interior, but he'll turn 32 next season. He'll decline soon, and the Vikings could use some help next to him in the meantime. Justin Madubuike was a disruptive force in the interior of the Aggies' defensive line this past season, logging 11.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks.
InsideTheVikings analysis: Madubuike is an intriguing prospect, but I'm not sure he's worth taking in the first round, especially with TCU's Ross Blacklock (and players like Jones and Gladney) still on the board.
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