With the No. 23 overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected Mississippi wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. When the predraft process first began, most people viewed Treadwell as the No. 1 receiver in the draft. Views about that seemed to change as the offseason progressed, though, since he ended up being the fourth receiver taken off the board.
A big reason for that is because he ended up posting a 4.63-second 40-yard dash at his pro day after not running at the combine. That lack of speed was a big turnoff for a lot of teams, but it did not seem to bother the Vikings too much.
The team’s director of college scouting, Jamaal Stephenson, met with the Twin Cities media after the fifth round of the draft on Saturday and discussed the Treadwell pick.
“Laquon was another guy where you turn on the tape and it is hard not to like him. Like Kentrell Brothers, he is just so productive,” Stephenson explained. “He didn’t run great in his 40-yard dash, but he plays faster than what he ran. He is a big, physical receiver who is going to help Teddy Bridgewater in critical downs, red zone, third downs, we think he will be productive that way.”
Since he entered the league in 2014, Bridgewater has been missing that No. 1, reliable option at wide receiver that most quarterbacks seem to have. The Vikings front office and coaching staff are clearly hoping that Treadwell can have the same type of success he had in college in the NFL and give his new quarterback a receiver he can trust in and grow with.
Stephenson also discussed Vikings second round pick, Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander. Most people were expecting the Vikings to take a wide receiver in the first round of the draft, but they surprised most by taking a cornerback in the second.
They took a cornerback in the first round a year ago and have all their starters from last year returning, so there does not seem to be a lot of room at cornerback on the team’s roster. But Stephenson said that drafting Alexander was too good of an opportunity to pass up when they saw he was still available while they were picking.
“He is a good player, all of our scouts liked him, our coaches liked him,” Stephenson said of the team’s new cornerback. “He is a cover corner and you can never have enough of those guys.”
The Vikings did not have a lot of pressing needs, apart from wide receiver, heading into this year’s draft. Their second-round selection of Alexander proved that instead of using this year’s picks to fill holes that already exist on the roster, they might instead be looking to fill holes that they expect to appear a couple years down the line with Terence Newman turning 38 this year and Captain Munnerlyn in the final year of his contract.