Monday, April 28, 2008

Wrapping Up the Draft: Almost an Unqualified Success

The Vikings' draft was almost an unqualified success. They were able to draft players to add depth at almost all of the positions they needed to add depth at except tackle, and they ignored a position, tight end, where they have depth but don't have any quality players And while I'm not happy that the Vikings didn't draft a tight end that might actually be worth throwing to, the fact that they didn't draft a tackle means they didn't add any depth to the position at which they'll likely need depth the soonest.

After trading their fourth round pick to draft Tyrell Johnson, who was perhaps the top safety in the draft, I wrote that the Purple's trade cost them a draft pick they would need if they wanted to find players at all of their positions of need, specifically focusing on quarterbacks that were likely to be gone by the fifth round. I was wrong that the Vikings wouldn't have their choice of quarterbacks, as Andre Woodson, Josh Johnson and John David Booty were all available to the Vikings in the fifth round (or, at least, were available after the Vikings moved up). I was right, however, about the fact that the Purple traded away their chance to add depth at all the positions they needed to, as they missed the chance to pick up any of the three tackles that were available with their pick in the fourth round and were off the board by the time they went on the clock in the fifth round.

While I liked seeing the Purple pick up the eventual successor for Pat Williams late in the fifth round (Letroy Guion from Florida State) and the successor for Matt Birk (John Sullivan from Notre Dame) and a wide receiver with punt return experience (Jaymar Johnson from Jacksonville State) in the sixth round, I'm not sure that I like the choice of John David Booty as the Vikings' developmental quarterback. While Booty has the accuracy and ability to make all the reads needed in the West Coast offense, he is a pocket passer and doesn't have that good of an arm. His upside is that of a league average quarterback, unlike Andre Woodson and Josh Johnson, who could both turn into stars, as they both have similar accuracy, ability to run an offense and combine that with a good arm and the ability to make plays with their feet. And neither Woodson or Johnson are likely to inspire any awful jokes. If anything, I think Johnson was probably the best developmental quarterback available, due to his speed and arm strength. Like Tarvaris, he played for a 1-AA school, but unlike Tarvaris, he was statisically dominate, completing 68% of his passes in his 3+ years of starting and throwing 43 touchdowns to 2 interceptions his senior year. And he had a good coach with NFL experience in Jim Harbaugh.

So while the Vikings may have answered the questions about who will succeed Darren Sharper, Pat Williams and Matt Birk and picked up a receiver that can return punts, they left open the question as to who will step into the lineup if Bryant McKinnie is suspended for four games or if Ryan Cook doesn't improve and they choose the developmental quarterback with the least upside. So while it's something of a waste of time to try and grade a draft immediately after it's completed, the Vikings choice not to draft a tackle and to pick Booty over Woodson and Johnson mean that the Purple won't receive an "A" from me, but the depth they added at other positions and the fact that Jacksonville gave up more draft picks to move up and draft Derrick Harvey than the Vikings did to trade for Jared Allen means that the Purple's draft was still relatively successful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Andre Woodson has a long way to go in terms of accuracy, and probably decision-making as well. Didn't expect him to replace a fellow alum in New York, though.

I'm actually mad they took JDB over Brennan, but I won't explain the reasoning behind that right now.