Rather than add my voice to the legion of bloggers speculating on the Vikings' first round pick, I'm going to take the draft analysis a step further and preview players the Vikings might take with the 41st overall pick. And in case you're wondering, I'm getting the ideas for players from NFL Draft Countdown, Draft Tek and FF Tool Box. So for all I know, these guys will all be gone in the first round, or will still be available when the Vikings draft in the third round. If it's the latter, let's all pretend this was a third round preview, ok? Thanks.
April 3: Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio St.
April 4: Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
April 5: Charles Johnson, DE, Georgia
April 8: Steve Smith, WR, USC
April 10: Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami
April 18: Jason Hill, WR, Washington St.
April 19: Tim Crowder, DE, Texas
April 20: Justin Blalock: OG, Texas
April 23: Robert Meachem: WR, Tennessee
April 24: Craig "Buster" Davis: WR, LSU
April 25: Dwayne Jarrett: WR, USC
Instead of taking a look at prospects such as guard Ben Grubbs from Auburn, tackle Tony Ugoh from Arkansas or defensive ends Jarvis Moss from Florida or Anthony Spencer from Purdue, all possible second round choices by the Vikings, I'm going to finish with a player that many were calling for the Vikings to take with their first round pick, Dwayne Jarrett, the junior wide receiver from USC.
A 6'5, 210 playmaker, Jarrett wowed scouts and football fans with huge games against Notre Dame and Michigan his junior year, but has seen his draft stock plummet from the top half of the first round to the top of the second round. He catches everything, has amazing body control (his catches near the side lines are near legendary), runs routes exceptionally well due to his ability to stay low out of his breaks and can hang on to the ball while absorbing a hit. Not to mention the fact that he knows how to exploit his height and reach to create mismatches against faster corner backs.
The problem is that most corners in the NFL will be faster than him, as well as quite a few safeties. His 4.62 forty time at the combine was what originally sent his draft stock plummeting, something that a 4.57 forty during a campus workout did nothing to stop. And when the questions about his speed arose, they brought with them questions about his durability (he injured his quad, shoulder and suffered a concussion his final season at USC) and about his attitude, one scout saying "there is a lot of the brash Keyshawn Johnson and the flippant Mike Williams attitude in this kid". That, obviously, did nothing to help his draft stock.
There is a very good possibility that Dwayne Jarrett will be available to the Purple at #41. Whether they take him will depend a lot on their perception of his work ethic and whether they think Jarrett's lack of speed is too much for his great hands, height, body control and route running.