Minnesota Vikings

April 4, 2015

Round 1, Pick 11 TRAE WAYNES/CB/MICHIGAN STATE/6’0/186 GBN Rank: 11
The Vikings have bigger need areas than the CB position, but WAYNES is the premier player at that position this year and long term the tandem of RHODES and WAYNES might be among the best on the NFL, freeing up MUNNERLYN to primarily cover the slot receiver. WAYNES juiced it with a 4.31/40 at the Combine, which was frosting on the cake after a productive career for the Spartans. He even made HC Mark Dantonio smile broadly when he posted that time in Indy. Has the short term memory of an elite CB. You can’t have too many DB when you face RODGERS, STAFFORD AND CUTLER twice a season in your division.

Round 2, Pick 45 AJ CANN/OG/SOUTH CAROLINA/6’3/313 GBN Rank: 48
Just what the doctor ordered to replace vet Charlie Johnson, who was allowed to move on this off-season. CANN should be a plug-and-play guy who is as solid and dependable of an OL as you can find. He is best on the run game, but has the basics of pass-pro down and can improve. Gets off the snap quickly and stays low. His 10+” hands will come in handy inside the phone booth. His size and style of play should fit well in the Vikings scheme.

Round 3, Pick 76 TRE McBRIDE/WR/WM & MARY/6’0/210 GBN Rank: 78
This small school guy showed up at the Shrine venue and caused a buzz. He’s a solidly built young man who displays good hands and is quick in and out of his cuts. His hands were very dependable all week. Will get some yards after the catch and can help in the return game on Special Teams. At the Combine he scored big again, starting with a 4.41/40. He showed lower body explosion with a vert of 38″ and a Broad Jump of 10’2″. He looks to be the complete package and should ably replace the departed Greg Jennings.

Round 4, Pick 110 Za’DARIUS SMITH/DE/KENTUCKY/6’5/275 GBN Rank: 114
SMITH is a fave of yours truly. He has been a very highly productive player who play tough and with high energy. He has some serious pass rush push, but will also anchor against the run.He seems to be very good at finding the ball and flowing to it. His sack numbers may never be elite, but he will collapse and pressure the pocket on a regular basis. I like his overall game a lot better than some of the big name DE in this Draft. He should phase in as ROBISON is phased out.

Round 5, Pick 137 HAYES PULLARD/ILB/SOUTHERN CAL/6’1/240 GBN Rank: 137
PULLARD lacks a lot of the numbers that the NFL looks for, but one cannot question his productivity and FBI. He may not fit in the middle in the Vikes 4-3 scheme, but I believe he has the ability to jump outside. He also might fit well in the middle on passing downs. He shows the ability to back-pedal and drop into short middle coverage. Also mark him down as a Special Teams demon. The last three seasons at USC he has totaled 107/94/95 tackles. The kind of player all NFL teams want a handful of on their roster.

Round 7, Pick 228 DEAN MARLOWE/S/JAMES MADISON/6’2/203 GBN Rank: 236
Good looking small school player whose physical appearance and workout numbers would make you think he has a future in pro football. Ran an impressive 4.58/40 at the Combine. Will be a project, but should earn his keep on Special Teams for a couple of season, while ZIMMER and his assistants try to polish him up.

Round 7, Pick 232 LAWRENCE GIBSON/OT/VIRGINIA TECH/6’6/305 GBN Rank: 247
A late bloomer, who only started as a senior for the Hokies. But some of his physical traits hint at lots of still untapped potential. He has 35 1/8″ arms with hands that measure 10 3/8″ at the end of them. He ran a 5.04/40 at the Combine, while pushing up 24 reps in the Bench Press, despite those long arms. Needs to add functional strength and polish up his technique, but he’s what you look for to end your draft list. Potential galore and a hefty challenge for your OL Coach.

The VIKINGS are in the process of rebuilding their entire roster and this varied group will be another boost to that effort. My assumption is that somehow ADRIAN PETERSON hits the field for them this season, therefore no RB selection in their 7 Picks. I see 3 possible starters here by mid-season and upgrades for their Special Teams units.

Round 1, Pick 27 MELVIN GORDON/RB/WISCONSIN/6’1/215 GBN Rank: 27
This one pops up as a no brainer with the departure of MURRAY from Dallas. McFADDEN is a decent vet presence, but his career average per carry as a pro had slipped to a 3.4 last season. GORDAN has the speed to break the big ones and the vision and patience, coming from the Badgers system, to wait for his line to open holes and then explode through them. That should work very well with the Cowboys current OL group. Mark him down for 1200+ yards as a Rookie in Big D.

Round 2, Pick 60 LORENZO MAULDIN/OLB/ER/LOUISVILLE/6’4/259 GBN Rank: 63
‘BOYS get lucky again and the kind of player they need is very close to their actual pick. MAULDIN is a better pro prospect than Marcus Smith was last year, so don’t fret it Cowboys fans. His numbers in 2014 were down a bit because of some leg issues, but he can play some standing up, as well as rushing with his hand down as needed. He’s a hustler who pursues well. He’s not the elite athlete that a guy named WARE was coming to the Cowboys, but he’ll bring the same package of skills. Watch his Red Dreads flow as he chases the ball all over the field for Coach Rod.

Round 3, Pick 91 ANTHONY HARRIS/FS/VIRGINIA/6’1/183 GBN Rank: 94
If HARRIS had a thicker body frame he’d be in the hunt for a First Round selection. UVA lived and died with it’s Defense and DAVIS was one of that units stars. He amassed 108 tackles as a senior with 10 PBU and 2 INT. He had 8 INT in 2013. Good tackler, who seeks contact, but his size would dictate he stop considering himself as an in-the-box player as a pro. He should earn a spot right away on sub-packages. He has starter potential down the road.

Round 4, Pick 127 KEVIN WHITE/CB/TCU/5’9/183 GBN Rank: 128
His size and lack of blazing speed knock down his value, but in today’s NFL he has the savvy and quickness to cover the slot. That means even though he may not be a starter he will play a lot. He has some athletic explosion in those legs of his as evidenced by his 35.5″ vert & 10’1″ BJ at the Combine. He did a solid job covering his namesake @ WR for West Virginia in a Big 12 showdown last fall. Won’t back down from bigger guys. He and Smith combine to seriously upgrade the Cowboys secondary athleticism and depth.

Round 5, Pick 163 RASHAD GREENE/WR/FLORIDA STATE/5’11/182 GBN Rank: 166
All you keep hearing about GREENE is that he’s not fast enough or big enough to be a big time pro. What I know is that this guy caught 270 balls, including 29 for TD, during his career as a Seminole. You don’t catch that many by accident. He runs good patterns and gets separation with quickness and 4.53/40 speed. GREENE won’t take the top off the Defense, but DEZ BRYANT handles that for the Cowboys right now. He will be a dependable back-up who could be more productive than the departed Dwayne Harris as a receiver. He may also get a trial in the return game. A very good value Pick this late.

Round 7, Pick 235 JAMON BROWN/T/G/LOUISVILLE/6’6/323 GBN Rank: 244
BROWN is not a great athlete, but is a smart guy who plays tough and strong. He’s a load who can back-up RT and both OG slots. His 34 3/8″ arms help him keep defenders away from his body, and he stays on his feet well. He should take up the slack for the loss of PARNELL as a VFA to Jax. That is what you strive for in the late rounds of any draft. If he could “shape-up” a bit he could develop into a contender to replace FREE at RT in the near future.

Round 7, Pick 243 TAVARIS BARNES/DE/CLEMSON/6’4/282 GBN Rank: 245
BARNES is a late bloomer from Clemson who gained about 30 lbs. his last two years in school. He has some pass rush ability and his 4.80/40 at the Combine indicates he has not lost his quicks with the weight gain. His best football may still be in front of him, and who better than ROD MARINELLI to coach it out of him with tough luv. This is a high upside selection for Round 7.

When first making these picks my sense was that the Pick numbers and the players available were not lining up to help the Cowboys much after GORDON. But by the end of the selection process I was feeling pretty good that these 7 players would go a long way toward replacing the key VFA who got away back in March.


Round 1, Pick 30 KEVIN JOHNSON/CB/WAKE FOREST/6’0/188 GBN RanK: 33
When the team lost both WILLIAMS & HOUSE in VFA this position suddenly became a high draft priority. JOHNSON is actually a player who projects to be very similar to TRAMON in his traits and ability. His 4.52/40 is just a bit better than HAYWARD and HYDE. His size is within what WHITEY sees as the CB sweet spot. JOHNSON has solid cover skills and is stout in run support. His 6.79 3-Cone drill gives you a sense of his ability to change direction in coverage. He’s started 41 games at Wake, and may be ready to contribute right away in Training Camp. His being available here might be a slam dunk for the team, matching a need with high quality.

Round 2, Pick 62 DENZEL PERRYMAN/ILB/MIAMI/5’11/236 GBN Rank: 68
Some might say I’m reaching here for a need, but I think not. PERRYMAN may not fit the ideal profile from a a size/speed standpoint, but his productivity and leadership cannot be questioned. IMO, the PACK backed themselves into a corner on the need for ILB help by cutting both HAWK & JONES. PERRYMAN is limited in coverage, but can be a big help on early downs. What he lacks in speed (4.78/40) he seems to make up for in savvy and FBI. He chases the ball relentlessly and often gets to it. Thompson might flinch just a bit before pulling the trigger on a “short” guy for the position, but this pick could yield solid dividends right away, especially on Special Teams.

Round 3, Pick 94 XAVIER COOPER/DE/WASHINGTON STATE/6’3/293 GBN Rank: 98
Was initially a surprise when he declared for the Draft, but after watching game tape and then his Combine work COOPER looks like the real deal for the DOM CAPERS system of playing musical chairs with his down linemen. His versatility could play very well when Capers uses his 2-DL formations. COOPER posted what was an eye-catching Combine 4.86/40 at his weight. He also showed his balance of power and athleticism with 27 reps in the bench press and a 32″ vertical leap in Indy. He could turn out out be what Thompson thought he was getting in Round 3 last year with KHYRI THORNTON.

Round 4, Pick 129 JAMIL DOUGLAS/OG/ARIZONA STATE/6’4/304 GBN Rank: 129
DOUGLAS is a solid fit for the PACK and their penchant for versatile, athletic OL, who are adept at multiple positions. DOUGLAS started every game (40) since his sophomore season @ ASU. His first two years were inside at OG, but he moved out to LT as a senior. He plays with more finesse than muscle, which will have to change a bit for the pro game. He had 28 reps in the bench press and posted a 29″ vertical at the Combine. He’s similar in some ways to DON BARCLAY, but may have starting potential, long-term inside.

Round 5, Pick 166 NICK MARSHALL/ATH/AUBURN/6’1.5″/207 GBN Rank: 170
If MARSHALL is still around here he has to be interesting to WHITEY. Much talk has centered around the need for the team to draft a developmental QB sometime soon. MARSHALL certainly has potential there, but he could contribute immediately as a Special Teamer and perhaps a DB project. His 4.54/40, 37.5″ vert and 10’4″ broad jump at the Combine all point to an excellent athlete who may have multiple pro position options. And from what I saw of him in college, I still think QB is not out of the question for him long term.

Round 6, Pick 206 JAMES SAMPLE/SS/LOUISVILLE/6’2/210 GBN Rank: 206
SAMPLE is one of 4 players from the Louisville secondary to have draft potential, and may be he best overall. He’s a very good athlete, with nice size. His 4.56/40 time at the Combine is something the Pack wants to see at the S slot. He’s also aggressive enough to make his mark on Special Teams, which should be a recurring theme for Packers draftees this year. Adding a quality S may be essential for the team if HYDE has to return to CB in the battle to replace WILLIAMS/HOUSE.

Round 6, Pick 210 NICK BOYLE/TE/DELAWARE/6’4.5″/268 GBN Rank: 212
Do not be deceived with this Pick. His main talent right now is as a powerful inline blocker. But his 10 3/8″ hands and 33″+ arms will provide a large target area in the passing game. He showed good hands during Senior Bowl week and could be a nice replica of what the team got from TOM CRABTREE for a couple of seasons not that long ago. His frame and skills could make him a very solid inline TE option inside the Red Zone. But he is not the next Mark Chmura, as evidenced by his 5.04/40 at the Combine.

Round 6, Pick 212 TAIWAN JONES/ILB/MICHIGAN STATE/6’2.5″/245 GBN Rank: 221
Let’s get the bad news out of the way. He ran a 4.95/40 at the Combine. But he’s a long player (34″ arm length) who played OLB early in his Spartans career. Had 30 starts in college. PLays hard, smart & tough. Finds the ball well, which helps offset his lack of speed. He looks to me to be similar to former Packer DESMOND BISHOP. He’s another probably 2-down ILB, and a Special Teams head hunter.

Round 7, Pick 247 GEREMY DAVIS/WR/UCONN/6’5/219 GBN Rank: NR
It seems inconceivable that the PACK could complete a Draft without a WR. They have parted ways with a lot of wideouts this off-season and grabbing a player like DAVIS makes a lot of sense to end their Draft. He’s an above average athlete who has a chance to be a better pro than collegian. On a recurring theme, his size and athleticism would play well on Special Teams if he develops more toughness. Worth the question mark risks this late.

This draft group might not add significant speed to the roster, but it would improve athleticism overall and provide a serious, potential upgrade for the team’s disappointing Special Teams play the past couple of seasons. IMO, these 9 draftees might have as solid of an overall roster impact as the exceptional 2014 Draft Class did for the Green and Gold, containing 3 potential Rookie starters by mid-season.