Before a draft actually comes off, Spielman has run dozens, if not hundreds, of mock drafts with different scenarios. It's like Raymond counting toothpicks or knowing the waitress' phone number off the top of his head. He doesn't just lay out the first round, he lays out the first three (or more). He has enough potential red flags on draftees to start an armada. He's a good guy to have around because there are few things he hasn't projected happening at least once in his exhaustive draft preparation.
If there is a good thing about drafting No. 3 in April, it's that it will entail far fewer options. Andrew Luck will clearly be off the board by the time the Vikings are scheduled to pick and it's hard to go against the other options, whether it's offensive tackle Matt Kalil, wide receiver Justin Blackmon or cornerback Morris Claiborne. Any of the three would be immediate upgrades to the current status of those respective positions, but, when all is said and done, the most important player in the top three draft picks may well be a player that none of the three teams drafting in the first three picks have any personal interest in – Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III.
The Colts already have Peyton Manning, but appear primed to keep the No. 1 overall pick and take Luck. Under ordinary circumstances, it would seem natural to expect Griffin to slide a bit, since the Rams (at No. 2) and the Vikings (at No. 3) have no immediate draft interest at quarterback. The Vikings used last year's first-round pick on Christian Ponder, while the Rams used the first overall pick in the 2009 draft to take Sam Bradford. But their picks could be coveted by other NFL teams.
With the recent shift in draft priority to quarterback, RG3 is such a high draft commodity that he might not make it past No. 3 in April. At this point, the only real question seems to be whether the team looking to get him will have to cut a deal with the Rams or the Vikings.
In many ways, Spielman faces a no-lose situation. If Kalil goes No. 2 to the Rams, look for the Vikings to trade out of the No. 3 spot, move down and stockpile additional draft picks. If the Rams cut a trade with someone to get Griffin at the No. 2 spot, the Vikings can draft Kalil and have a left tackle for the next decade to come.
At this point, it would seem like a no-brainer for the Vikings, but, as the draft draws nearer, it would seem the early drama will be who ends up with Griffin. It likely will be to a team picking either No. 2 or No. 3, but, as it currently stands, that pick will be made by somebody other than the Rams or Vikings.
Let the trade and multiple draft scenarios begin, as Spielman starts earning his G.M. money.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.