The NFL season is not even over, draft analysts across the country are still taking an early look at April’s draft. A lot of things are bound to change by the time the actual draft comes around, but VikingUpdate.com has taken a look to see who is the most common selection by the Minnesota Vikings in the early 2016 mock drafts.
A dozen analysts’ picks were looked at and one was most commonly selected, TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Josh Doctson. Three different writers – Chad Reuter and Bucky Brooks of NFL.com and Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN – selected Doctson for the Vikings and it makes a lot of sense.
The team is in need of a No. 1 wide receiver talent to help assist quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and Doctson appears to fit into that mold at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, which would make him the tallest receiver on the Vikings roster, an inch taller than Charles Johnson, who is 6-2.
Last year was the best of Doctson’s career. He recorded 79 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns, which is a big step up from the Vikings’ leading receiver in 2015.
Stefon Diggs led all Vikings receivers his rookie season, recording 52 receptions for 720 yards and four touchdowns. In fact, Doctson’s 14 receiving touchdowns in 2015 is the same amount that the entire Vikings offense combined to produce. Those are not numbers that the Vikings are going to want to repeat next season, which is why drafting a player like Doctson would seem a wise move.
Not only did the Vikings’ passing attack struggle scoring touchdowns, but they also struggled throwing the ball down the field. Diggs led all Vikings receivers averaging 13.8 yards per reception, which was three yards less than Doctson’s 16.8 yards per reception.
Bridgewater showed in the Pro Bowl this year that he has the ability to complete passes down the field, completing one deep ball to A.J. Green and a touchdown of 50 yards to Allen Robison. Both players are some of the best receivers in the NFL and it showed what the young quarterback can do with his arm when he trusts his receiver will come down with the ball.
During the season, Bridgewater didn’t throw many tightly contested passes, but if he had a big receiver he could trust to come down with the ball that could change. Green was double-covered, with another safety over the top, when Bridgewater targeted him down the field in the Pro Bowl, but the quarterback trusted he would come down with the ball or at least knock it away from the defender.
Doctson could provide Bridgewater the type of receiver he can trust in jump-ball situations down the field and that could lead to the Vikings passing game opening up. If they are able to stretch the field on a regular basis, the underneath routes and running game should open up even more, and you know running back Adrian Peterson would love to see that happen.
The biggest problem with this selection is that Doctson could very well be off the board by the time the Vikings pick at No. 23. The wide receiver class is not the same as it has been the past couple years so you could see the receivers at the top of the class, such as Doctson, get selected before the Vikings are scheduled to pick.