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RpMc

The 2019 Minnesota Vikings Draft Class

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Alright, you put me in a math mood (first year cap hits)

1. Garrett Bradbury  = $2,342,324
2. Irv Smith  = $1,054,255
3. Alexander Mattison = $700,541
4. Dru Samia =$679,983
5. Cameron Smith = $568,786
6. Armon Watts = $537,273
6. Marcus Epps = $537,191
6. Oli Udoh = $536,902
7. Kris Boyd = $522,419
7. Dillon Mitchell = $515,079
7. Bisi Johnson = $513,645
7. Austin Cutting = $513,645

Bradbury knocks out Craig James ($570k) = $1,772,324 in new cap charges
Smith knocks out Roc Thomas ($570k) = $484,255 in new cap charges
Mattison knocks out Mike Boone ($570K) = $130,541 in new cap charges
Samia knocks out Holton Hill ($570K) = $109,983 in new cap charges
Cameron Smith is below the threshold, but his first year SB has to be counted = $73,768 in new cap charges
Watts (see above for SB rules) = $42,273 in new cap charges
Epps (see above) = $42,191 in new cap charges
Udoh (see above) = $41,902 in new cap charges
Boyd (see above) = $27,419 in new cap charges
Mitchell (see above) = $20,079 in new charges
Johnson (see above) = $18,645 in new charges
Cutting (see above) = $18,,645 in new charges

-----

That's $2,780,025 in new cap charges from the rookie class; even less than I estimated.

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24 minutes ago, VIKINGS101011 said:

Good article. Interestingly, you would think an athlete’s throwing motion would come naturally, after all, it’s an athletic movement. It’s cool that Browning figured out his poor kinetic technique and appears to have found a solution. This actually makes much more intriguing. Thanks for sharing, @VIKINGS101011

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Posted (edited)

I'm pretty happy with the draft class overall. 

I'll break it down into 3 tiers.

Top of the draft is for starters (soon if not immediately) and long-term building blocks.

Garrett Bradbury looks like the best OL the Vikings have had in a long time. He's athletic and a perfect scheme fit for the ZBS. He was productive in college, won awards. He seems like a leader. 

The value was good at that pick. I was tempted to take the LT, Dillard, and aim to get a C/G in round 2, but Jenkins and McCoy (my targets for round 2 IOL) were both gone by 50 anyway, so in hindsight the Vikings played the board right. 

I'd still like to move on from Reiff before too long but I think he can still play well enough to justify his contract, especially if the OL has at least 2 other solid pieces. Reiff is also a good leader for the OL group, which otherwise lacks a familiar veteran presence even among the backups. And after Elflein's disastrous 2nd year, upgrading at C should've been the main priority all along.

I hadn't watched Irv Smith Jr play until they drafted him. There's a lot to like. He's a bit small to be an in-line TE but his technique as a blocker is sound. He didn't test great athletically but he looks like an easy mover on the field. He runs good routes, he's got good hands, and he's great after the catch. He's young, he's got NFL bloodlines, and he's a very clean prospect.

The value was good with the pick. I was hoping to take another position in round 2 and get a TE in round 3 or 4, but in the end the guy I liked (Josh Oliver) was gone before the Vikings pick in the 3rd round. So again, they played the board right here. 

I think the Vikings are planning do a lot with Smith positionally, lining him up anywhere from the backfield to the slot. Kubiak used a lot of 12 personnel (2 TEs) in Houston 2011-12, when he won back-to-back division titles with Matt Schaub at QB (including beating the Bengals in the playoffs one year despite starting TJ Yates). His teams had the TE2 play considerably more snaps than the WR3. Taking that approach with the Vikings, Diggs/Thielen/Rudolph/Smith would be the base offense, with depth WRs used mostly rotationally.

I really like the way the Vikings played the top of the draft. They seemed to have a very clear idea of who they wanted and why. Even when other choices were available (Dillard still there at 18, multiple "steals" available at 50), they stood pat and got their guys, without any sense of panic. 

Bradbury and Smith look like they could be career Vikings. I'll give the 1st part of the draft a solid A. 

...

Second tier of the draft is for rotational players, starters in limited roles, and depth/development at premium positions. For this draft, that was rounds 3-5. 

The best thing Spielman did here was trade down several times, creating several additional picks, including the 5th rounder I'll include in this section. I love trading down, because it creates value. Of all the players drafted between the Vikings original 3rd rounder (at 81) and their eventual pick (102), the only ones I think the Vikings would've been strongly interested in were the guards, Nate Davis (at 82) and Connor McGovern (at 90) -- and the Vikings ended up getting a guard we would've been happy with at 81 anyway (Samia), in the 4th round. Give Trader Rick an A+ for maneuvering. 

As for the picks themselves, it's hard not to like Alexander Mattison when you watch his highlights. He runs with vision, flexibility and power. He should be a great ZBS back -- one cut, get upfield, hard to bring down. He's not a home run hitter like Murray or a bob-and-weave jump-cutter like Cook or McKinnon, he's just a classic slashing running back, and a good one. His college OL was pretty terrible but he made them look good by finding little creases, and always finishing his runs. I think he could be considerably more productive in the pros.  I won't be surprised if he matches Cook's production while offering much better durability. 

Having said all those nice things, the value was poor at this pick. Not just because Mattison was ranked lower on most boards (I get the idea, if you like your guy just take him), but because it's so easy to find at least half-decent RBs later in the draft. I would've much rather seen them use this pick on a position where the talent drop-off is much sharper from pick 100 to the 7th round, then take their RB later on. 

Options we can wonder about in retrospect: Hakeem Butler the WR (taken 103rd), Chauncy Gardner-Johnson the S (105), and Maxx Crosby (106) or Anthony Nelson (107) as edge rushers (and skip the DT on day 3 in favor of an RB at that pick). I loved Butler's highlights, and would've been thrilled if they'd taken him instead of the RB. But then again if the Vikings are planning to be a 2-TE offense, they may not see a path to starting for any WR with Diggs and Thielen in their primes and locked up for years to come. But even so, come on -- take a DB or a pass rusher, not a running back.

Dru Samia is the mid-round guard everyone liked this year. I watched a few clips and some game film of the OSU OL. He moves well, he's strong and his hands are good. He's supposedly got a mean streak too. I like Samia lot more than Isidora -- he's not heavy footed or a waist bender, and he's more natural in pass protection (including identifying and passing off stunts, and looking for work when uncovered). OSU pulled Samia a lot on gap run plays. His movement skills are good enough that I think he should be fine in a zone scheme. 

Value was good for a potential starting guard in the 4th. I think they can hope for him to be a starter. Hopefully Samia will get a chance to compete with Elflein and Isidora at LG this year. Longer term, maybe he's the RG and Kline gets released in a year or two. Bradbury-Samia-O'Neill could be a really nice right side of the line, all on rookie contracts.

Their 5th round pick was the LB, Cameron Smith. It looked like they lost out to Blake Cashman going to the Jets a couple picks earlier. I haven't watched Smith play, but his athletic testing is good and PFF liked him. He got a lot of tackles, and hardly missed any, which is a good sign coupled with the athleticism and grading. He's healthy, unlike Downs last year -- so this is the best LB prospect they've drafted since Kendricks. Hopefully he can be an upgrade from Gedeon as an early downs depth LB, and be good enough as a rookie that they can move on from Brothers. 

For the 2nd part of the draft, I'll give the Vikings a B-. I love the trading, like Samia, think Smith will be OK and appreciate Mattison as a player even if I hate the fact that we drafted him at 102. 

...

Last 2 rounds of the draft are for roster bubble depth and development.  

I kind of like the fact that the Vikings didn't take a "faller" here either. I watched enough Emmanuel Hall halfway through round 6 to get excited about adding him but if they didn't have him on the board for whatever reason, I'm again OK with them sticking to their plan. 

Armon Watts is a pass rushing DT. Not especially explosive or athletic, but uses his hands well as a pass rusher. His role overlaps with Jalyn Holmes (much more athletic but lacking refinement), Jaleel Johnson (no pop as a pass rusher in the pros, more of a NT/DT tweener who doesn't seem likely to break through as a starter) and Ifeadi Odenigbo (last seen as a DE). He'll have to beat out 1 or 2 of those guys to make the team, so he's a likely PS candidate unless he has a great preseason.

Marcus Epps is a safety. It's very difficult to evaluate safeties unless you have all-22 tape, and in Epps case we only have a few highlights. He tested well athletically and his PFF grades are pretty good. They need a deep coverage guy unless one of the AAF signings can play that role, so there's a good chance here for Epps to make the team as the 4th safety. 

Oli Udoh is a developmental tackle. He's massive, like Jason Peters, and moves well, almost as well as Jason Peters. He went to a small school so he's technically raw, but he's not heavy on his feet despite his mammoth size. Udoh excelled under coaching at the East-West Shrine Game practices, so much so that he was "called up" to the Senior Bowl, where he again impressed. Udoh won't have to play at all this year unless injuries strike, so there's an opportunity for him to spend a year working on his technique, aiming to win the swing tackle backup role in 2020. There's incredible upside here given his physical abilities and the developmental curve he followed this off-season. 

Kris Boyd is a corner. Tested well athletically -- not very long, but strong, fast and explosive. That showed up best in run defense, where he was very good. In coverage, he got targeted a lot (95 targets in 2018!) and didn't make many plays (only 1 INT, 13 PDs). Zimmer and Jerry Gray may be able to get more out of him. There's room on the roster for a 5th corner at least while Hill is suspended, and maybe even a 6th once Hill returns, so Boyd should have a chance to make the final 53. 

Dillon Mitchell and Olabisi Johnson are WRs. They're both typical WRs, not pint size slot/gadget players, or 4.3 burners, or 6'6" jump ball targets. Mitchell is basically like Diggs, and Johnson is basically like Thielen.

Mitchell is Diggs' height (6') and weight (197 vs 195), runs the same 40 (4.46), with a little better jumps (36.5" and 122" vs 35" and 115") and agility (6.93 3-cone vs 7.03). Like Diggs, Mitchell was a star recruit but had a somewhat disappointing college career (though not because of injuries, unlike Diggs). Mitchell runs good routes, can make difficult catches and is a threat with the ball in his hands. He was very productive last year, putting up 1184 yards and 10 TDs. That production means the Football Outsiders WR Playmaker Rating (https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2019/playmaker-score-2019) loves him -- he ranks 7th, behind only Butler, Hollywood Brown, JJAW, Harry, Diontae Johnson and Andy Isabella. 

Mitchell's negatives are drops and other lapses of concentration, and some general sense that he was immature or coasting. Can't find his age online but he declared after his junior year, like Diggs, and so like Diggs will probably be a 21 year old rookie. If anything is going to help Mitchell reach his potential, it would be working with Diggs and the coaches who helped him develop in Minnesota. And Diggs' contract extension is probably a good motivator. 

Bisi Johnson compared to Thielen is slightly shorter (6" not 6'1") and heavier (204 not 192, though I'm pretty sure Thielen is over 200 now in the pros). They have very similar athleticism too, with Johnson running 4.51 (4.49 for Thielen), jumping 38" and 124" (36" and 120") and putting up a 6.88 3-cone (6.77) and 4.16 shuttle (4.49). The physical comparison is less exact than Mitchell-to-Diggs, but Thielen is who Johnson's role model -- he claimed in an interview that he's modelling his career after Thielen's, as an underdog who built himself up.  

Johnson has only-OK production, having been the WR2 his entire career across from more highly drafted Colorado State WRs like Michael Gallup. His PFF grades are good but not great. And on tape he looks like a solid all-purpose WR, nothing special. But of course that's what we all thought of Thielen at this point too. 

If they keep 4 TEs, there's probably only room for 5 WRs on the team. That means if one of these guys makes the team, it's at the expense of at least 2 of Treadwell, Jordan Taylor, Beebe and Zylstra. If either one of them wants to follow in the footsteps of their more famous Vikings teammates, the opportunity is there. 

Austin Cutting is a long snapper with a great name who's supposed to serve in the Air Force for 2 years, but maybe the Vikings can get him out of it. The idea of drafting a military long snapper is so Patriots that Belichick is presumably already trying to get this draft pick stricken for copyright infringement. Until then, the Vikings have a long snapper with excellent PFF accuracy metrics (which is a thing, it turns out), who'll be cheaper than Kevin McDermott. 

I don't know how to grade this portion of the draft, but I liked the approach. Favorite picks are Ugoh and Mitchell, least favorite are the safety and the long snapper. Let's say B+

...

Overall I'll give the draft a B+/A-. Most of the grade should be based on Bradbury and Smith, and I think they're in very good shape there. Need at least 2 of the middle tier players to work out at their expected level of contribution. Beyond that, if anything develops from the late round picks, this will be a strong class.

Edited by Krauser

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10 hours ago, RpMc said:

Alright, you put me in a math mood (first year cap hits)

1. Garrett Bradbury  = $2,342,324
2. Irv Smith  = $1,054,255
3. Alexander Mattison = $700,541
4. Dru Samia =$679,983
5. Cameron Smith = $568,786
6. Armon Watts = $537,273
6. Marcus Epps = $537,191
6. Oli Udoh = $536,902
7. Kris Boyd = $522,419
7. Dillon Mitchell = $515,079
7. Bisi Johnson = $513,645
7. Austin Cutting = $513,645

Bradbury knocks out Craig James ($570k) = $1,772,324 in new cap charges
Smith knocks out Roc Thomas ($570k) = $484,255 in new cap charges
Mattison knocks out Mike Boone ($570K) = $130,541 in new cap charges
Samia knocks out Holton Hill ($570K) = $109,983 in new cap charges
Cameron Smith is below the threshold, but his first year SB has to be counted = $73,768 in new cap charges
Watts (see above for SB rules) = $42,273 in new cap charges
Epps (see above) = $42,191 in new cap charges
Udoh (see above) = $41,902 in new cap charges
Boyd (see above) = $27,419 in new cap charges
Mitchell (see above) = $20,079 in new charges
Johnson (see above) = $18,645 in new charges
Cutting (see above) = $18,,645 in new charges

-----

That's $2,780,025 in new cap charges from the rookie class; even less than I estimated.

Impressive, nice work good for you.

Rudolph, Waynes and Harris are starters and all potentially cannot be signed next year.  Bailey is the starting kicker, true Reiff is not in that group my mistake.  Wilson is a rotation guy same with Weatherly who will get a lot of time this year, same with Kearse and Alexander has starting potential.  Hill is a main backup at OT and Sloter again is arguably the main backup at QB.  The lower paid guys who currently get $600,000 to $500,000 roughly will get double or triple that on their next contract which will most likely not be with the Vikings because they might not be able to pay them.  The Vikings basically lose them all and in some cases have no real replacement or depth at the position especially on the DL spot and TE if they decide to use two tight ends more.

 

https://overthecap.com/salary-cap-space/

How do you explain this?  How are they going to do anything next off season with these numbers, 2nd to last in 2019 and in 2020 dead last.  

 

 

What kind of math can you do to make that work? 

 

Players cost money and the Vikings have the least amount of it free in 2020.  This is a good thing and can be manipulated easily to something else?  I do not believe that but maybe you have some math that makes that work.  To say the Vikings are just fine financially in terms of contracts and talent they are not.  Based on this the Vikings should be one of the best teams in the NFL, and talent wise I doubt they would even make top 10 in that regard with an aging DL outside of Hunter and a poor OL based off last year and a over paid QB.

 

 

3 hours ago, Krauser said:

I'm pretty happy with the draft class overall. 

I'll break it down into 3 tiers.

Top of the draft is for starters (soon if not immediately) and long-term building blocks.

Garrett Bradbury looks like the best OL the Vikings have had in a long time. He's athletic and a perfect scheme fit for the ZBS. He was productive in college, won awards. He seems like a leader. 

The value was good at that pick. I was tempted to take the LT, Dillard, and aim to get a C/G in round 2, but Jenkins and McCoy (my targets for round 2 IOL) were both gone by 50 anyway, so in hindsight the Vikings played the board right. 

I'd still like to move on from Reiff before too long but I think he can still play well enough to justify his contract, especially if the OL has at least 2 other solid pieces. Reiff is also a good leader for the OL group, which otherwise lacks a familiar veteran presence even among the backups. And after Elflein's disastrous 2nd year, upgrading at C should've been the main priority all along.

I hadn't watched Irv Smith Jr play until they drafted him. There's a lot to like. He's a bit small to be an in-line TE but his technique as a blocker is sound. He didn't test great athletically but he looks like an easy mover on the field. He runs good routes, he's got good hands, and he's great after the catch. He's young, he's got NFL bloodlines, and he's a very clean prospect.

The value was good with the pick. I was hoping to take another position in round 2 and get a TE in round 3 or 4, but in the end the guy I liked (Josh Oliver) was gone before the Vikings pick in the 3rd round. So again, they played the board right here. 

I think the Vikings are planning do a lot with Smith positionally, lining him up anywhere from the backfield to the slot. Kubiak used a lot of 12 personnel (2 TEs) in Houston 2011-12, when he won back-to-back division titles with Matt Schaub at QB (including beating the Bengals in the playoffs one year despite starting TJ Yates). His teams had the TE2 play considerably more snaps than the WR3. Taking that approach with the Vikings, Diggs/Thielen/Rudolph/Smith would be the base offense, with depth WRs used mostly rotationally.

I really like the way the Vikings played the top of the draft. They seemed to have a very clear idea of who they wanted and why. Even when other choices were available (Dillard still there at 18, multiple "steals" available at 50), they stood pat and got their guys, without any sense of panic. 

Bradbury and Smith look like they could be career Vikings. I'll give the 1st part of the draft a solid A. 

...

Second tier of the draft is for rotational players, starters in limited roles, and depth/development at premium positions. For this draft, that was rounds 3-5. 

The best thing Spielman did here was trade down several times, creating several additional picks, including the 5th rounder I'll include in this section. I love trading down, because it creates value. Of all the players drafted between the Vikings original 3rd rounder (at 81) and their eventual pick (102), the only ones I think the Vikings would've been strongly interested in were the guards, Nate Davis (at 82) and Connor McGovern (at 90) -- and the Vikings ended up getting a guard we would've been happy with at 81 anyway (Samia), in the 4th round. Give Trader Rick an A+ for maneuvering. 

As for the picks themselves, it's hard not to like Alexander Mattison when you watch his highlights. He runs with vision, flexibility and power. He should be a great ZBS back -- one cut, get upfield, hard to bring down. He's not a home run hitter like Murray or a bob-and-weave jump-cutter like Cook or McKinnon, he's just a classic slashing running back, and a good one. His college OL was pretty terrible but he made them look good by finding little creases, and always finishing his runs. I think he could be considerably more productive in the pros.  I won't be surprised if he matches Cook's production while offering much better durability. 

Having said all those nice things, the value was poor at this pick. Not just because Mattison was ranked lower on most boards (I get the idea, if you like your guy just take him), but because it's so easy to find at least half-decent RBs later in the draft. I would've much rather seen them use this pick on a position where the talent drop-off is much sharper from pick 100 to the 7th round, then take their RB later on. 

Options we can wonder about in retrospect: Hakeem Butler the WR (taken 103rd), Chauncy Gardner-Johnson the S (105), and Maxx Crosby (106) or Anthony Nelson (107) as edge rushers (and skip the DT on day 3 in favor of an RB at that pick). I loved Butler's highlights, and would've been thrilled if they'd taken him instead of the RB. But then again if the Vikings are planning to be a 2-TE offense, they may not see a path to starting for any WR with Diggs and Thielen in their primes and locked up for years to come. But even so, come on -- take a DB or a pass rusher, not a running back.

Dru Samia is the mid-round guard everyone liked this year. I watched a few clips and some game film of the OSU OL. He moves well, he's strong and his hands are good. He's supposedly got a mean streak too. I like Samia lot more than Isidora -- he's not heavy footed or a waist bender, and he's more natural in pass protection (including identifying and passing off stunts, and looking for work when uncovered). OSU pulled Samia a lot on gap run plays. His movement skills are good enough that I think he should be fine in a zone scheme. 

Value was good for a potential starting guard in the 4th. I think they can hope for him to be a starter. Hopefully Samia will get a chance to compete with Elflein and Isidora at LG this year. Longer term, maybe he's the RG and Kline gets released in a year or two. Bradbury-Samia-O'Neill could be a really nice right side of the line, all on rookie contracts.

Their 5th round pick was the LB, Cameron Smith. It looked like they lost out to Blake Cashman going to the Jets a couple picks earlier. I haven't watched Smith play, but his athletic testing is good and PFF liked him. He got a lot of tackles, and hardly missed any, which is a good sign coupled with the athleticism and grading. He's healthy, unlike Downs last year -- so this is the best LB prospect they've drafted since Kendricks. Hopefully he can be an upgrade from Gedeon as an early downs depth LB, and be good enough as a rookie that they can move on from Brothers. 

For the 2nd part of the draft, I'll give the Vikings a B-. I love the trading, like Samia, think Smith will be OK and appreciate Mattison as a player even if I hate the fact that we drafted him at 102. 

...

Last 2 rounds of the draft are for roster bubble depth and development.  

I kind of like the fact that the Vikings didn't take a "faller" here either. I watched enough Emmanuel Hall halfway through round 6 to get excited about adding him but if they didn't have him on the board for whatever reason, I'm again OK with them sticking to their plan. 

Armon Watts is a pass rushing DT. Not especially explosive or athletic, but uses his hands well as a pass rusher. His role overlaps with Jalyn Holmes (much more athletic but lacking refinement), Jaleel Johnson (no pop as a pass rusher in the pros, more of a NT/DT tweener who doesn't seem likely to break through as a starter) and Ifeadi Odenigbo (last seen as a DE). He'll have to beat out 1 or 2 of those guys to make the team, so he's a likely PS candidate unless he has a great preseason.

Marcus Epps is a safety. It's very difficult to evaluate safeties unless you have all-22 tape, and in Epps case we only have a few highlights. He tested well athletically and his PFF grades are pretty good. They need a deep coverage guy unless one of the AAF signings can play that role, so there's a good chance here for Epps to make the team as the 4th safety. 

Oli Udoh is a developmental tackle. He's massive, like Jason Peters, and moves well, almost as well as Jason Peters. He went to a small school so he's technically raw, but he's not heavy on his feet despite his mammoth size. Udoh excelled under coaching at the East-West Shrine Game practices, so much so that he was "called up" to the Senior Bowl, where he again impressed. Udoh won't have to play at all this year unless injuries strike, so there's an opportunity for him to spend a year working on his technique, aiming to win the swing tackle backup role in 2020. There's incredible upside here given his physical abilities and the developmental curve he followed this off-season. 

Kris Boyd is a corner. Tested well athletically -- not very long, but strong, fast and explosive. That showed up best in run defense, where he was very good. In coverage, he got targeted a lot (95 targets in 2018!) and didn't make many plays (only 1 INT, 13 PDs). Zimmer and Jerry Gray may be able to get more out of him. There's room on the roster for a 5th corner at least while Hill is suspended, and maybe even a 6th once Hill returns, so Boyd should have a chance to make the final 53. 

Dillon Mitchell and Olabisi Johnson are WRs. They're both typical WRs, not pint size slot/gadget players, or 4.3 burners, or 6'6" jump ball targets. Mitchell is basically like Diggs, and Johnson is basically like Thielen.

Mitchell is Diggs' height (6') and weight (197 vs 195), runs the same 40 (4.46), with a little better jumps (36.5" and 122" vs 35" and 115") and agility (6.93 3-cone vs 7.03). Like Diggs, Mitchell was a star recruit but had a somewhat disappointing college career (though not because of injuries, unlike Diggs). Mitchell runs good routes, can make difficult catches and is a threat with the ball in his hands. He was very productive last year, putting up 1184 yards and 10 TDs. That production means the Football Outsiders WR Playmaker Rating (https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2019/playmaker-score-2019) loves him -- he ranks 7th, behind only Butler, Hollywood Brown, JJAW, Harry, Diontae Johnson and Andy Isabella. 

Mitchell's negatives are drops and other lapses of concentration, and some general sense that he was immature or coasting. Can't find his age online but he declared after his junior year, like Diggs, and so like Diggs will probably be a 21 year old rookie. If anything is going to help Mitchell reach his potential, it would be working with Diggs and the coaches who helped him develop in Minnesota. And Diggs' contract extension is probably a good motivator. 

Bisi Johnson compared to Thielen is slightly shorter (6" not 6'1") and heavier (204 not 192, though I'm pretty sure Thielen is over 200 now in the pros). They have very similar athleticism too, with Johnson running 4.51 (4.49 for Thielen), jumping 38" and 124" (36" and 120") and putting up a 6.88 3-cone (6.77) and 4.16 shuttle (4.49). The physical comparison is less exact than Mitchell-to-Diggs, but Thielen is who Johnson's role model -- he claimed in an interview that he's modelling his career after Thielen's, as an underdog who built himself up.  

Johnson has only-OK production, having been the WR2 his entire career across from more highly drafted Colorado State WRs like Michael Gallup. His PFF grades are good but not great. And on tape he looks like a solid all-purpose WR, nothing special. But of course that's what we all thought of Thielen at this point too. 

If they keep 4 TEs, there's probably only room for 5 WRs on the team. That means if one of these guys makes the team, it's at the expense of at least 2 of Treadwell, Jordan Taylor, Beebe and Zylstra. If either one of them wants to follow in the footsteps of their more famous Vikings teammates, the opportunity is there. 

Austin Cutting is a long snapper with a great name who's supposed to serve in the Air Force for 2 years, but maybe the Vikings can get him out of it. The idea of drafting a military long snapper is so Patriots that Belichick is presumably already trying to get this draft pick stricken for copyright infringement. Until then, the Vikings have a long snapper with excellent PFF accuracy metrics (which is a thing, it turns out), who'll be cheaper than Kevin McDermott. 

I don't know how to grade this portion of the draft, but I liked the approach. Favorite picks are Ugoh and Mitchell, least favorite are the safety and the long snapper. Let's say B+

...

Overall I'll give the draft a B+/A-. Most of the grade should be based on Bradbury and Smith, and I think they're in very good shape there. Need at least 2 of the middle tier players to work out at their expected level of contribution. Beyond that, if anything develops from the late round picks, this will be a strong class.

Irv Smith who do you figure he is not a good athlete, kid has big time speed and is very dangerous with the football.  Super quick getting in and out of breaks as well, has took him a little while to show up on the field though and clearly blew up this season.  I agree Smith could be a great guy to get Gedeon off the field which he should be.  Smith played some pass rush roles last year which impressed me, is super smart and has been around for a very long time and has played well for that entire time.  Most likely they play Wilson opposite Barr and Kendricks more than Smith but will see what he can do. 

 

And I agree Johnson and Mitchell are a lot like the WRs we currently got.  Not sure that is a good thing though, I would rather get something different to what we already have.  And I would love to see Kline released in a year or two, he is not worth what we paid him I feel.  But have to know what we have with the young guys so they needed a vet even if he was not that great to begin with.  

 

Looking over all the other teams, many drafted better than the Vikings I feel.  These are the top drafts I feel based on players that fit roles and needs, also based on talent accumulated alone.  Vikings did well at times but are not one of the top drafts if you look at the entire NFL.  The later rounds I think were a miss even trading back which was a great idea, but they seemed to not take advantage of it much in terms of getting high even talent.  

 

 

 

1) Bengals: Really solid across the board, good picks almost at each point and fill needs.  If Anderson or Williams hit late at RB that would be great and if Finley can be the QB I think he can be it will be a home run draft.  Williams is a great solid first pick and Wren really fits their DT system very well.  Pratt I have always liked at LB who has speed and Sample is the best blocking TE in the draft especially in terms of his blocking versatility, nice seeing him go so high.

 

2) Patriots: Awesome draft, love Harry in the 1st and they got OL talent with Cajuste and Froholdt who could be stars.  Harris fits their mold at RB and is good in pass pro, Stidham is the project QB and an amazing value as well.  Tall DB in Williams and address the DL with Cowart and Winovich who will give much needed edge pressure.  Awesome draft overall and no surprise.

 

3) Bills:  I like all their picks outside of Knox and even he has some upside at least.  Oliver is a steal, Ford is a 1st rounder they got in round 2.  Joseph is super athletic and Johnson on Miami has amazing ball skills and would have been much higher if he ran a faster 40 time.  Then you have Sweeney who is possibly one of the biggest steals of the draft at his size and with his athletic ability catching the football as a TE.

 

4) Denver: Every pick is great outside of the last one.  Solid players, super star QB Lock that just falls to them.  Potential star OT or OG in Risner and Fant should do very well there as well.  Not to mention Jones who is a good value and Hollins who has a ton of athletic upside.

 

5) Pittsburgh: Picked guys that fit, Bush for sure and fills a big time need.  Love the Snell pick that kid is great and players with big time energy and passion not to mention is tough as can be.  Johnson is a nice pickup at WR and I like Layne a lot in terms of his ball skills.  Gentry is a little bit of a gamble but has obviously great size, Sutton Smith is awesome and a steal big time there at OLB.  Buggs fits the DE 3/4 need well and could be a nice backup same with Gray at OG.  

 

6) Oakland: Hard to not draft well with the picks they had.  Ferrell was a little surprise but fills a need and is a big time talent so no real issue there.  Jacobs is a great fit and a complete back and Abrams is a nice centerfield safety who can hit.  Love Crosby on the edge and he has tons of athletic upside, and Johnson at CB has a ton of upside as well and Renfrow is a gamer and has amazing hands.  Nice draft for sure.

 

7) Rams:  Not having any really high picks they did great.  Got a steal in Rapp just because of a slot 40, that kid is a gamer.  Henderson is a shock he was still there, damn he is fast and talented and should be a great backup to Gurley with his health issues.  Evans and especially Edwards have big time potential at OT and Greg Gaines is a good fit and tough guy inside.  Solid draft all around considering the picks they had.

 

8) Washington:  Haskins and Sweat are two great picks for them no question, Haskins for sure then got some good value later on with some decent talent.  Harmon and Moreland could be steals and Love could be a great value if he can get back to healthy and stay healthy.  McLaurin is a nice pickup as well  and has the speed they need at WR.

 

 

Teams that did well late drafting:

 

Dallas:  Got some steals potentially especially late, McGovern is a nice fit and a solid player who can provide depth.  Jelks was a steal and so was Weber as a backup RB.  Both Jackson's from Miami have upside especially Joe Jackson, he was very productive at times as a DE.  And Tony Pollard is arguably the best return man in the draft, could play slot WR or RB.  

 

Houston:  A few reaches maybe with Lonnie but Warring is a flat out steal at TE with tons of upside and same with Omenihu at DE.  Scharping looks like a damn good player also and Howard has potential as their first round pick.  Filled needs and possibly got some star players at great value spots.

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3 hours ago, Krauser said:

I'm pretty happy with the draft class overall.

Great synopsis, Krauser. I appreciate the well put together post.  I have just one comment.  It doesn't disagree with your overall point but just wanted to mention that when looking at which centers fell to pick 50 or which TEs fell to 81, whether one of the guys you would have targeted the next round fell to that spot would be effected by the position being pushed down by the fact the Vikings didn't select that position.  

For example, Jenkins and McCoy went at 44 and 48.  However, if Bradbury was left on the board after pick 18 it is very possible that the dominoes would have fell in a way that included one of those two being pushed down a few spots and available at 50. Of course, it is also possible that the position wouldn't have ended up being pushed down at all too.  I just think it is worth noting the reality that the Vikings action has a reaction that makes it impossible to conclude that Jenkins or McCoy wouldn't have been available at 50 if they had taken Dillard at 18.  Likewise for the TE position.

Like I said, great work putting that information together.  It is nice to see someone agreeing with me on Elflein. I agree with your assessment of the third round.  Love the trades back but I wouldn't have been looking for a RB.  Kubiak has proven he can get production at RB with lower round picks plus the team still has a second round pick from a couple years ago.

I am not so sure that the Vikings will be running two TE sets as their base but it is possible I do think that Morgan should be one of the two TEs in two TE sets. I think the selection of Irv Smith has more to do with the Vikings not thinking they'll resign Rudolph than the set they plan on running as their main set.

 

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7 minutes ago, Ozzy said:

Players cost money and the Vikings have the least amount of it free in 2020.  This is a good thing and can be manipulated easily to something else?  I do not believe that but maybe you have some math that makes that work.  To say the Vikings are just fine financially in terms of contracts and talent they are not.  Based on this the Vikings should be one of the best teams in the NFL, and talent wise I doubt they would even make top 10 in that regard with an aging DL outside of Hunter and a poor OL based off last year and a over paid QB.

On one hand, I agree with you that the cap situation isn't great.  Even the people that you are discussing this with agree to an extend in acknowledging that the Vikings will likely be picking between Waynes and Alexander. That is a reflection of the tight cap situation.

On the other hand, I don't think it is dire. In the end of the day, having more good players than you can pay is a lot better problem than not having enough good players. It is not a good thing to have to push cap into the future and it is unfortunate when the cap prevents the team from keeping all of the players that it likes. However, It is fairly easy to manipulate the cap charges from year to year.  

12 minutes ago, Ozzy said:

What kind of math can you do to make that work? 

One thing the Vikings may consider is pushing up to $20M of cap charges into 2021 with plans on starting a QB that is on a rookie contract that year.  In fact, I would have considered drafting a QB in the first round this year had one been available at pick 18 that I liked enough with the thought being that the team could trade Cousins away after this year and be starting a QB on a rookie contract as early as next year if the draft pick this year was developing well. Now, there was no such QB available to the Vikings at pick 18 this year which is no surprise, but maybe they get their guy next year.

Starting a QB on a rookie contract saves a lot of cap space!

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Technically, NFL teams aren’t supposed to agree to terms with undrafted free agents until they actually go undrafted. As a practical matter, deals are done even before the draft has ended.

One league source with extensive knowledge of and experience with the post-draft free-agency land rush estimates that up to 80 percent of all undrafted free-agency deals were done even before the draft ended. NFL rules prohibit the premature negotiations of such contracts, but the rule is rarely if ever enforced — like multiple other NFL rules.

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/04/27/up-to-80-percent-of-udfa-deals-done-before-the-draft-ended/

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Posted (edited)

@Ozzy

i already explained to you ONE way that they’ll be able to make moves next year and that’s by parting ways with Everson Griffen. That puts us over $20M in cap space. Either he’s let go, or he meets the contract void criteria this season as laid out in his restructure.

Rudolph walks and the writing is already on the wall for that one, you shed one of Rhodes/Waynes/Alexander as that was always going to happen with the drafting of Hughes, Anthony Harris might get a decent deal, Kearse isn’t going to get a huge deal here so he either walks or gets signed to a reasonable deal, depending on his season you might sign Weatherly to decent extension like we did with Griffen before he became a starter... the rest are RFAs or inconsequential. Oh, and you’re going to have another batch of 10 or so rookies counting for less than $3M in new cap charges by the time the draft rolls around (likely including a 1st, 2nd and two 3rds - maybe more if they decide to trade away Rhodes). 

The NFL salary cap is something that can be massaged with creativity, and as long as you draft well (due to the rookie wage scale), there are always going to be ways to maneuver to be under it

Edited by RpMc
Forgot Ant Harris

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4 hours ago, Krauser said:

As for the picks themselves, it's hard not to like Alexander Mattison when you watch his highlights. He runs with vision, flexibility and power. He should be a great ZBS back -- one cut, get upfield, hard to bring down. He's not a home run hitter like Murray or a bob-and-weave jump-cutter like Cook or McKinnon, he's just a classic slashing running back, and a good one. His college OL was pretty terrible but he made them look good by finding little creases, and always finishing his runs. I think he could be considerably more productive in the pros.  I won't be surprised if he matches Cook's production while offering much better durability. 

Having said all those nice things, the value was poor at this pick. Not just because Mattison was ranked lower on most boards (I get the idea, if you like your guy just take him), but because it's so easy to find at least half-decent RBs later in the draft. I would've much rather seen them use this pick on a position where the talent drop-off is much sharper from pick 100 to the 7th round, then take their RB later on. 

Options we can wonder about in retrospect: Hakeem Butler the WR (taken 103rd), Chauncy Gardner-Johnson the S (105), and Maxx Crosby (106) or Anthony Nelson (107) as edge rushers (and skip the DT on day 3 in favor of an RB at that pick). I loved Butler's highlights, and would've been thrilled if they'd taken him instead of the RB. But then again if the Vikings are planning to be a 2-TE offense, they may not see a path to starting for any WR with Diggs and Thielen in their primes and locked up for years to come. But even so, come on -- take a DB or a pass rusher, not a running back.

i'd agree about the value of drafting a running back at 102 except that we didn't just need a running back, we needed a back who excelled in short-yardage situations since murray left. i'm not sure what alternatives were available in later rounds to find a goal line back but obviously they graded mattison out higher to take him.

 

given mattison's success at finding the end zone in his college career it looks like zimmer/spielman put additional emphasis on the goal line offense with this pick. 

 

this is my favourite run of his (1:26): 

 

 

 

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The more Mattison I see, the more I like. He may lack a top end gear, but his burst gets him to his highest gear very quickly; he runs well behind his pads and it normally takes a host of tacklers to bring him down.  If Cook continues to have some durability issues, Mattison looks like a more than capable lead back in a zone scheme. It's going to be exciting to watch him vs Mike Boone is camp/pre-season.

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1 hour ago, Ozzy said:

Irv Smith who do you figure he is not a good athlete, kid has big time speed and is very dangerous with the football.  Super quick getting in and out of breaks as well, has took him a little while to show up on the field though and clearly blew up this season.  

Smith is very athletic in the sense that he’s smooth and flexible and well coordinated. His testing at the combine wasn’t amazing given that he weighs less that most of the other TE prospects (speed, agility and explosion scores are weight adjusted). Fant was the freak athlete (not that I wanted the Vikings to have any part of drafting him), while the guy I was targeting (Oliver) tested slightly better than Smith at a slightly better weight. 

The combine differences aren’t as important within a certain range as this kind of ability, which Smith has lots of:

He’s a night and day improvement from Rudolph in terms of his movement skills. 

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43 minutes ago, RpMc said:

@Ozzy

i already explained to you ONE way that they’ll be able to make moves next year and that’s by parting ways with Everson Griffen. That puts us over $20M in cap space. Either he’s let go, or he meets the contract void criteria this season as laid out in his restructure.

Rudolph walks and the writing is already on the wall for that one, you shed one of Rhodes/Waynes/Alexander as that was always going to happen with the drafting of Hughes, Anthony Harris might get a decent deal, Kearse isn’t going to get a huge deal here so he either walks or gets signed to a reasonable deal, depending on his season you might sign Weatherly to decent extension like we did with Griffen before he became a starter... the rest are RFAs or inconsequential. Oh, and you’re going to have another batch of 10 or so rookies counting for less than $3M in new cap charges by the time the draft rolls around (likely including a 1st, 2nd and two 3rds - maybe more if they decide to trade away Rhodes). 

The NFL salary cap is something that can be massaged with creativity, and as long as you draft well (due to the rookie wage scale), there are always going to be ways to maneuver to be under it

Do you think Hunter will come to Speilman requesting a raise this year? Compared to players he's younger than and imo better than he's underpaid.

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