The Minnesota Vikings are clearly interested in drafting a wide receiver later this month as there were four of them reported to be a part of the team’s top-30 visits. Two of them are players many expect to go somewhere in the first round, one of which was Mississippi's Laquon Treadwell, according to ESPN.
The Vikings have shown a clear interest in the Ole Miss product as the team’s general manager, Rick Spielman, flew across the country to see his pro day workout. When the season ended, Treadwell was notched as the top receiver in this year’s draft class and was expected to be the first one taken.
Most mocks still have him listed that way, but it seems that the longer this offseason has gone on the more his stock has dropped and other receivers have risen.
Vikings’ needs: This is often the time of year where teams try to set up smoke screens in order to not show which players they really want. While specific players the Vikings are showing interest in might just be a ploy, the wide receiver position as a whole is not.
The Vikings finished the regular season with the second-to-worst passing attack in the NFL, averaging just 183.0 yards per game through the air. That did not get any better in the postseason, as they threw for just 146 yards in their only playoff game.
It is clear they are in need of a true No. 1 receiver to help quarterback Teddy Bridgewater develop, and Treadwell certainly looks the part.
Mearsurables: Treadwell measures in at 6-foot-2, 221 pounds. While his height is average for a No. 1 receiver, his muscular build certainly helps out his case. He also has 33-inch arms and 9.5-inch hands. He physically looks the part of a star receiver; however, his workout numbers do not really match.
He was only able to do 12 reps of the 225-pound bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine, which was surprising to see since many people view Treadwell as one of the stronger receivers in the draft. He also posted a 33-inch vertical and 117-inch broad jump at the combine, which were both fairly average scores.
Treadwell’s pro day workout was going to be big for him since he only participated in a few drills at the combine. He recorded a 4.63-second 40-yard dash (28 receivers posted faster times at the combine), a 4.29-second 20-yard short shuttle and a 7.05-second three-cone drill. He also improved on his vertical jump by jumping 33.5 inches.
Analysis: As stated earlier, Treadwell looks the part of an NFL receiver. He has good size and the overall length that teams often look for, but what might be more impressive is his ability to use his size to his advantage. He seems to have the natural ability to use his big body to shield defenders and then use his long arms to stretch out and catch the ball away from his body. He also has the ability to go up and catch the ball in 50-50 battles.
He is a fierce competitor who appears to have a great understanding for how the position needs to be played. He has great body control at the point of attack, has good footwork while running through his routes and has the natural ability to find the soft spots in zone coverage, which gives his quarterback a nice open window to throw through.
The biggest knock against Treadwell is his speed. He does not have the top-end speed that scares cornerbacks, and that will lead to him seeing a lot of press coverage and physical play from the opposing defense. He seemed to have trouble handling press coverage in college, so it will need to be something he really works on once he gets to the NFL.
He also seemed to work with a pretty limited set or routes in college that did not see him extend deep down field very often. He has shown the ability to be successful running downfield, but the offense he was a part of in college did not utilize him in that manner.
Treadwell is going to go in the first round; the only question is how much teams look into the workout numbers he posted this offseason and how much that scares them away. If that is a factor, he could be available for the Vikings at No. 23.