Monday, April 30, 2007

A Pessimist's Take on the Draft--Part 1

Thanks to a great draft, it seems everyone is excited about the Vikings' prospects for the upcoming season. And they should be. Everyone of the Vikings' picks addressed a need (except for Tyler Thigpen--more on him later) and the offense finally has some players worth watching. The thing is, after four Super Bowl losses, numerous soul crushing playoff failures and countless other frustrating seasons, the Vikings' fan base has its fair share of pessimists (or realists, depending on if you are one). We know the Vikings' draft was great for the optimists, but was it great for the pessimists (realists)? In a word--yes. (Look Ma, I'm Joe Biden!)

So to rein in my enthusiasm and to widen my appeal to the pessimists (realists), I'm going to take off my rose colored glasses, think negatively and take another look at the Vikings' draft picks.

#7--Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson is a great pickup at running back, if you like your running backs injury prone. Yes, he's an amazing talent and a game breaker, but none of that matters if he's in street clothes. And after a dislocated right shoulder, a high ankle sprain, a broken collarbone and a reinjured collarbone, well, it doesn't seem all that unlikely he'll be missing time with some kind of malady. When you add in his upright running style and the fact he likes to mix it up, well, you're just asking for your #1 pick to miss his rookie year for the second straight season.

#44--Sidney Rice

Even the pessimists (realists) have to admit that trading down was a masterstroke by the Vikings. Nothing like adding picks while still getting to pick the player you wanted. Of course, when that player can be described as "very raw", "has durability concerns" and "very immature and not strong minded", well, that's not good. Nor is it good that Rice is a project, having only played two years of college ball and had his big games against lesser competition. Basically, you have to trust the Vikings' coaches to develop him, and even thinking optimistically, I can't say I have that kind of faith in them.

#72--Marcus McCauley

The corner back with the best physical tools for the position also had the worst season of any corner drafted. I think it's safe to say that I had a better season at corner in 2006--I didn't lose my starting job. And let's be honest here, it wasn't like he was starting for LSU, Florida or Michigan--Fresno State was awful last --4-8 was almost as bad as the Vikings. Yes, he could bounce back with proper coaching, but he could also be Willie Offord II.

#102—Brian Robison

Robison could be the answer to the Vikings’ inability to rush the passer. Or his lack of speed, mediocre strength and inability to shed blockers could render him a special teams player. And while a 40+ inch vertical is going to let you block kicks at the line of scrimmage in college, in the NFL, you’re still not going to get up high enough unless it’s Doug O’Brien or somebody brings back Morten or Gary Anderson. Even if he does get to the quarterback, his upside is Lance Johnstone, so don’t expect him to get many sacks on first or second down or even be in, since he’s like Keneci Udeze in reverse—effective against the pass, ineffective against the run. And I don’t even want to get into his injury issues—nothing like having lingering knee and leg problems when you’re depending on speed to succeed.

[That’s it for today—I can only handle so much pessimism in one sitting. I’ll be bringing more negativity tomorrow, as I take a pessimists’ view of the Vikings last four picks and wonder why they didn’t draft any help for the offensive line.]


Bob said...

As a Bears fan it will be hard for me to cheer for the Vikes, but I am also an alumnus of Coastal Carolina and have seen Thig play multiple times. You guys have a great player and person on your hands with him.

TBird41 said...

I'd love to hear your first hand scouting report of Tyler Thigpen. Drop me an email (links in the upper left) if you can.