Friday, April 25, 2008

Alternate History and Some Solid Links

So you know, while I didn't get a wide receiver profile up at all (sometimes...and I mean sometimes, work comes first), I will be posting a "Second Round Preview" this afternoon. I'm still working on it, but it's mostly written. Before I do that (and I'll hopefully be posting during the draft--that depends a lot on the girlfriend's plans for the weekend), I thought I'd put up some links to articles worth reading (mostly on the Jared Allen trade) and tell you who I'd have wanted the Vikings to draft if they still had the 17th pick. I think it's worth doing, mainly so that when my top choices go well before the 17th pick, I'll feel even better about the Vikings deal for Allen (if that's even possible).

The First Round Draft Board:
1. Derrick Harvey, DE-Florida
Harvey is the best defensive end available that might actually make it to the 17th pick. Absent Jared Allen, he would have been the clear choice for the Vikings, filling their most glaring need with a talented pass rusher.

2. Ryan Clady, OT-Boise State
Clady might be the best offensive tackle left on the board, now that Jake Long has been signed by the Dolphins. I don't think there's a chance he'll make it to the 17th pick, but if I was the Vikings, and he was there, he would have been an easy choice to fill in for Bryant McKinnie during his suspension and then hopefully replace Ryan Cook at right tackle.

3. Chris Williams, OT-Vanderbilt
Williams is going to be a very, very good left tackle, because he's quick, has long arms and very good technique. His weakness is his strength, which he should be able to improve upon once he gets into an NFL strength program, but that's not as big a deal at left tackle, where most of the players he'd be blocking rely on their speed, not their strength. If the Vikings had picked him, they could have shopped McKinnie and been perfectly comfortable.

4. Jeff Otah, OT-Pittsburgh
Otah is seen as having the highest upside of any tackle on the board. The problem, of course, is that he might not realize his potential. He'd be the riskiest pick of any of the tackles for the Vikings, who likely need someone to fill in for McKinnie this year, and who would, ideally, be able to overtake Ryan Cook for the right tackle position. Otah might end up being the best tackle this draft produces, but he also might not be ready to play this year, which is why he doesn't fit into the Vikings' plans as well.

5. Phillip Merling, DE-Clemson
If Merling wasn't coming off of sports hernia surgery, I'd likely have him higher up on my board. He was able to work out for teams before the draft, but I'm not sure I'd want to take the risk, especially because Merling seems to be more of an Udeze type, rather than someone who can consistently get to the quarterback.

6. Devin Thomas, WR-Michigan State
Thomas is the best wide receiver that might be available to the Vikings, and the only one I'd consider drafting in the first round, mainly because he also has the ability to return punts and kicks. He's raw, and there's questions as to whether his great junior year was a fluke, but he's got all the skills and athleticism a wide receiver needs, and can contribute right away as a punt and kick returner. That being said, wide receivers are a risky pick in the first round.

7. Mike Jenkins, CB-South Florida
You can put Leodis McKelvin, a corner back from Troy or Aqib Talib, a corner back from Kansas (if you don't mind the marijuana use) here as well if you'd like, depending on which one is available. All three seem like they will turn into quality corner backs in the NFL, but the Vikings would have needed a player at a different position more, and likely would have been able to pick up a tackle or defensive end with the seventeenth pick, although McKelvin might have been a sleeper choice if he fell to the Purple, because he is a solid punt returner.

Judging the Allen Deal:
Most people thought the deal was a good one, from the folks at Pacifist Viking, to Gonzo at the Daily Norseman. DC at Grant's Tomb was happy, as was the Vikes Geek and Kevin Seifert and Patrick Reusse from the Star Tribune were quite excited about Zygi Wilf shelling out the cash to bring in Allen. Don Banks from Sports Illustrated likes the deal, especially if, as he reports the Vikings don't have to worry about Allen getting suspended for a year if he doesn't get in trouble before September, although Peter King thinks that Allen would still face a suspension if he violates the NFL Player Conduct Policy. Pro Football Reference used their "approximate value method" to evaluate the deal and they found that Allen is likely to out perform any of the players picked with the choices the Purple gave up and will likely out perform all three of them combined.

Quick Draft Links:
Cold, Hard Football Facts had an article breaking down the success rate of various positions, and found some interesting things out, including the fact that defensive ends chosen in the first round from 1978 had the lowest percentage make the Pro Bowl of any position. They had the sixth best rate of starting for five years for the team that drafted them (a 60% rate). Yet another reason to like the Allen trade--the Vikings might have gotten a starter for five years at defensive end, but odds are they wouldn't have been able to get a Pro Bowler with their first round pick.

Brett Favre is going to be on the cover of Madden '09. Maybe this means he'll come back after Jared Allen hurts Aaron Rogers in the first game, only to get destroyed by the cover curse. Or maybe he'll fade away gracefully into retirement. The former is definitely more likely.

Kissing Suzy Kolber is going to be live blogging the draft, so if you're watching, have a laptop and need some entertainment, definitely go there (after checking to see if I've posted, of course...). Also, fellow Viking fan Big Daddy Drew made a case for watching the Draft that I agree with whole heartedly.

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