Kiper: WRs can be found throughout draft

Mel Kiper Lr. talked about receivers with different values throughout the draft and certainly has his favorites.

At this point in time there have been a lot of mock drafts saying that the Minnesota Vikings are going to draft a wide receiver in the first round at No. 11 overall. In some ways, that thinking makes sense because the Vikings only had a receiver go for more than 100 yards in a game three times in 2014. The Vikings also want to give quarterback Teddy Bridgewater more weapons.

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The problem is that the Vikings drafted wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round just two years ago and some people already want to give up on him. The Vikings also have Greg Jennings, who is making a lot of money at the position, and Charles Johnson, who showed flashes that he could be a very good player. Then there is Jarius Wright, who is a good slot receiver and went over 100 yards twice last season.

With all the receivers already on the Vikings roster, it may be a smart move to address another team need in the first round and draft a receiver later. If they do choose to wait, there will be plenty of skilled receivers available as this is a deep wide receiver class.

“I think if you look at wide receivers who are going to go down the line and be really good players in this league, there’s a lot of them,” said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. in a conference call on Thursday. “I mean, you’re looking at Breshad Perriman at Central Florida if he dropped into the second round. If you’re looking at Tyler Lockett from Kansas State as a guy, Tre McBride from William and Mary earlier, Nelson Agholor from USC. My fourth- or fifth-round pick that could be a slot guy could be Jamison Crowder from Duke. All these guys aren’t going to go in the first. Maybe Jalen Strong from Arizona State drops into the second. I think Phillip Dorsett should be a first, but if he goes into the second he’s a great pick at that point. It’s a lot of depth at that spot. Like I said, Dezmin Lewis at Central Arkansas may be a day three pick, would be a guy that you could bring in at that point. Stefon Diggs from Maryland as a fourth-round type of pick. Justin Hardy didn’t run great at the Combine from East Carolina; maybe he drops into the fourth or fifth round now.”

One player that Kiper highlighted as being a middle-round draft pick who could make a very good NFL receiver is McBride. He comes form a smaller conference – the Colonial Athletic Association – but he has good size and speed, and is a very good athlete. He can even contribute on special teams as a punt returner. At this point, Kiper sees him being drafted in the second, maybe third, round but can’t see him going any later than that.

“I love that conference and the players they are able to develop,” Kiper said. “At 6-0¼, 210 pounds with long arms, ran both times at 4.41, which is really good. Good strength, great athlete, his 10-yard time was better than (Amari) Cooper, (Kevin) White and (DeVante) Parker. I think it was the second- or third-fastest 10-yard time. So you combine that, I love the production as well. I mean this is a kid, All-CAA, freaks of the times. I mean look at his catches, 65, 63, 64 the last three years. He’s got punt return experience.”

There has been some talk of the Vikings trading down in the draft to get more picks as Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has said he wants to get at least 10 picks in this draft. Trading out of the No. 11 spot could work very well if a player like White, Cooper or Parker falls to them. This is because there are plenty of teams looking for an elite receiver, and these three are considered to be the best in this draft class.

“This is a really good group of wide receivers with a lot of depth into the late rounds,” Kiper said. “But certainly for Kansas City at 18, I think you got to look at wide receiver or you trade up to get Cooper if he slides into that 7, 8, 9 spot I’d go up to get him. If you want to move a little bit to get DeVante Parker, I think be active. Remember when the 49ers got Jerry Rice, Jerry Rice at that particular point had slid down. They got him at about 15, but they moved up to get him. So if you see a guy like Cooper slide you got to go up and get him if you’re Kansas City or Cleveland, or if you’re San Francisco.”

With the amount of depth there is in this draft at the receiver position, it may be wise for the Vikings to address another need in the first round. However, the idea of reuniting Bridgewater with his old college teammate Parker, or his old high school teammate Cooper, might be tempting.

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