Day 2: Tons of talent still available

In a draft that was deepened by 102 underclassmen, there is still a lot of talent left for the pickings Friday night, including several players many analysts had tabbed as first-round talents.

For the third straight year, the Vikings found a way to package their second-round draft pick into a trade to get back into the first round of the draft, so the second day will start without the Vikings being a factor until later in the proceedings – their next pick isn't scheduled until the third round, when the time to select goes from seven minutes to five.

But there are several players who some analysts thought had first-round grades that are still on the board, which could make trades a distinct possibility.

Three quarterbacks came off the board in the first round – the three most had rated as the top trio of the Class of 2014 – but there will be plenty of action at the position today. Derek Carr may be the first pick of Day 2 with Jimmy Garoppolo, A.J. McCarron, Tom Savage and Zach Mettenberger all anticipated to follow in relatively short order.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that consensus first-round wide receiver Marqise Lee of USC wasn't selected. Don't be surprised to see a team trade up to land him if he stays on the board too long. Other wide receivers that will garner early attention will likely include Cody Latimer, Davante Adams, Jordan Matthews, Jarvis Landry and Bruce Ellington. As we've seen in the past, when there is a deep receiver class, there will be some dilution of the talent pool and good players slide.

As expected, there were no running backs taken in the first round and that may continue to be the trend. Ohio State's Carlos Hyde is expected to be the first one off the board, but until the first one goes, NFL teams may be playing a game of Chicken until someone pulls the trigger and starts the ball rolling.

Tight end Eric Ebron went with the 10th pick, but he was the only tight end taken in the first round. Players like Jace Amaro and Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be viewed as priority picks when Day 2 gets started at 6 p.m. Central Friday.

There was a lot of action early at offensive tackle, but there are still several players who some viewed as first-round picks that are still going to be on the board. A lot of draft analysts had Morgan Moses, Cyrus Kouandjio and Joel Bitonio as potential first-rounders, but all three remain open and available.

The lack of offensive line talent coming off the board wasn't restricted to OT. There wasn't a single guard or center taken in the first round, so it won't be surprising to see several of teams targeting that position early tonight.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end was selected sparingly in the opening day, leaving Missouri's Kony Ealy and Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt as the top prospects still available for the drafting.

The same is true at defensive tackle, where Timmy Jernigan, Louis Nix III and Ra'shede Hageman – all players many analysts gave first-round grades – are still up for grabs.

The Vikings were a team that took a linebacker in the draft, but they were more of an exception than a rule, with OLBs Kyle Van Noy, Jeremiah Attaochu, and Trent Murphy still on the board, as well as ILB Chris Borland, who was also viewed as a borderline first-round pick in a thin linebacker crop.

Defensive backs got hit hard, including four safeties, on Day 1, but there are still some players available that will draw early interest tonight, including CBs Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Lamarcus Joyner, Keith McGill and Marcus Roberson.

As thing currently stand, the Vikings will be sitting and waiting while more than 40 picks come off the board before they're scheduled to be back on the clock, but, while the attention begins to wane after the hoopla of the first round, there is still a ton of talent available and there will be players who are expected to have long NFL careers still available and ready to get drafted.

They may not get the bro hug-and-grin photo op with Commissioner Roger Goodell, but make no mistake: There are a lot of players with very good talent and bright NFL futures still available as we enter the second day of the draft.


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.

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