Draft history shows No. 11 a strong spot

The Vikings may drop back for additional picks, but over the last decade the No. 11 pick in the draft has produced some impactful starters and even a defensive MVP.

In the coming weeks, there is going to be a lot of speculation as to what the Vikings will do with the 11th pick of the 2015 draft. Some believe the team will trade down to acquire more picks, but, sitting in the No. 11 spot has been as good a spot as just about any over the last decade.

From the historical perspective, the No. 11 pick has produced not only its share of long-term starters, but it has produced Pro Bowlers and players who are viewed as being among the best at their positions over the last decade.

Not convinced that the Vikings can find a difference-maker at No. 11? Look at what that draft spot has produced over the last decade before you have that rush to judgment.

2014 – Taylor Lewan, OT. Lewan stepped into the Tennessee Titans lineup, starting six games and setting himself up as a bookend on the Titans offensive line for the next several years.

2013 – D.J. Fluker, OT. In two seasons, he has started all 31 games he has played and has been a critical part of the San Diego Chargers offensive line.

2012 – Dontari Poe, DT. In three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, he has started all 47 games he has played, recording 135 tackles with 10.5 sacks and has established himself as a rock in the middle of the Kansas City defensive front.

2011 – J.J. Watt, DE. Not much needs to be said here. A regular in the Pro Bowl and Defensive Player of the Year last year (and likely again this year), Watt has been the dominant defensive lineman in the NFL since joining the league and one of the most disruptive playmakers the game has produced in the last decade.

2010 – Anthony Davis, OT. Injuries cut short his 2014 season, limiting him to just seven games, but prior to that he had started all 64 games of his NFL career.

2009 – Aaron Maybin, DE. He is no longer in football after announcing his retirement last year after playing with the Toronto Argonauts. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and played two seasons as a backup with the Bills before being released and playing the 2011-12 seasons with the New York Jets.

2008 – Leodis McKelvin, CB. He has played the last seven seasons with the Buffalo Bills, playing in 89 games and making 55 starts. He has record 11 interceptions to go along with eight fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and 285 tackles.

2007 – Patrick Willis, LB. In a draft that produced Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas and Marshawn Lynch in the first 12 picks, nobody in San Francisco is complaining about landing Willis. He has become one of the dominant defensive players in the league and is on the short list of defensive MVP candidates when healthy.

2006 – Jay Cutler, QB. Say what you want about Cutler’s attitude, but there’s little questioning his pure physical ability. Drafted by the Broncos, he was traded for two first-round picks to Chicago, giving Denver more than its fair share of return on investment.

2005 – DeMarcus Ware, DE. Ware was a regular Pro Bowler with Dallas and, when the team couldn’t afford to re-sign him, he inked a big-money deal with Denver, where he has a bright future despite 10 years in the league.

A lot of the focus on the 2015 draft in the early stages of the process will be on where quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston land. Considering the Vikings have no interest in taking a first-round QB, the more the merrier in terms of getting picks out of the way that won’t impact the Vikings’ decision on who to choose.

The Vikings may well look to drop back in the first round to stockpile draft picks, but, if history means anything, the 11th pick might be one the Vikings want to keep and exercise the pick themselves because there has been talent gleaned from that spot that have become superstars in the NFL over the last decade.

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