Monday, April 11, 2011

The trouble with this year's draft


I should say the good thing about this draft, if you were talking about draft mockers. The NFL lockout means that there will be no trading players for picks and no pre-draft deal making. The first overall pick will be up in the air until the pick is made, and the Panthers, who otherwise might have dealt the pick for more players or picks, are more than likely stuck with it. For the mock drafters, they can make their mocks knowing that the teams are more than likely going to pick where they are slotted.
Of course, this is bad news for some teams. With regards to the three teams that the Victoria Times has a vested interest in, the 49ers, Colts and Vikings, the Vikings look the worst off with the draft set up as it is this year.
The 49ers are drafting near the top of the draft, which is good for their prospects for two reasons. First, it means that there are still a lot of good players to select. Second, this means that the 49ers weren't good last year, and they have a lot of holes to fill. Even if desired players are taken, there is likely to be a good player available in a position of need.
The Colts will be looking for an offensive lineman early and perhaps often in this draft. Fortunately for Indianapolis, last year, as well as this year, were deep in the offensive tackle department, so not only are there plenty of good tackles available, most teams that needed one last year already have one, and the Colts should have their pick, even late in the first round.
The Vikings need one thing more than any other. They need a quarterback rather desperately. This year isn't terribly deep in signal callers, having little elite talent. People are high on Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, but I'm not sure anyone expects either to be elite QBs like they did Matthew Stafford or Sam Bradford. Nevertheless, they will both be gone by the time the Vikings pick. Typically, they might try to trade down, because there are a few QBs at a second tier, like Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker, Colin Kaeprnick and my personal favorite, Christian Ponder, but many of THESE quarterbacks will be off the board in the late first and early second round, meaning the Vikings might not end up with a franchise quarterback then either. So what do the Vikings do? They are limited to either reaching for someone like Jake Locker and taking him way too early, or taking someone talented but less useful in the hopes that someone they like is still there in the second round, unless, of course, they can engineer a trade based exclusively on draft picks.
I don't care for the Vikings, as you all know, but even I have to admit that Minnesota is in an unenviably sticky spot. What will they do?

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