The first day of the draft is over and the Minnesota Vikings are keeping count on the players that weren’t taken, not the ones that were. As the dust settled from Round 1, there were plenty of players being thrown out as first-round picks that remain on the board and, if the Vikings are willing to sit and wait, they can land a value pick. Or if they want to get bold and make an offer now that they have more picks than most to get a player they truly covet at the expense of a couple of players later in the draft, that, too, is a viable option.
Unfortunately, it won’t happen with guard Forrest Lamp. Thanks to trading out of the first round and reading the tea leaves on the final three picks of the round, the Packers traded into the first pick of tonight’s two rounds – with Lamp waiting for them to shut up the allegedly “livid” coaches that the front office didn’t retain T.J. Lang. The rich get richer.
If the Vikings are looking at running back, two players – Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon – remain that could be viewed as big-time time values compared to their talent, but both have some significant red flags.
If the Vikings are focusing in on guard – Lamp aside – Dion Dawkins and Dan Feeney remain. If their focus is intense, the worry is who sits in between them and their player of choice. Or who could slide up with the belief they need to get in front of the Vikings – just as the Texans and Chiefs did as it related to quarterback to get in front of Arizona and Bruce Arians’ big-picture retirement plan for Carson Palmer.
Defensive tackle Malik McDowell has now become a hot property because, as the first round proved, blowing on the dice and risking the mortgage on a hot run is the new normal in the NFL.
The Vikings knew wide receiver Corey Davis wouldn’t be on the board when they were slated to pick, but few of their multiple, multiple mock draft incarnations would have seen Davis go at No. 5. It started a panicky mini-run on gutting the elite wide receivers – just higher than last year’s feeding frenzy.
Are they willing to take a chance on McDowell? His game film is impressive. His interviews at the Combine? Not so much. Risk-reward player. Potentially, if harnessed right, he could be a Pro Bowler for years.
Need to replace Chad Greenway on the outside? Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams, Ryan Anderson or Derek Rivers could all be in the crosshairs.
From the looks of things, safety is being disrespected by those hitting the switch on picks. Jamal Adams fell to the Jets, Malik Hooker fell to the Colts and the Browns traded up to ironically stop the insanity to take Jabrill Peppers off the board. The Viking may have their pick of players they’re intrigued with.
For the casual fan, the draft is over in the theatre of those with short attention spans. For the Vikings, they are ready to get the party started – even if the low-hanging fruit has already seemingly been plucked.
Hey, it’s what teams without a first-round pick cling to.
DAY ONE NOTES
- One of the big pre-draft talkers was that there was a good chance the top three picks of the draft were going to be defensive players – the first time that would have happened since 1992. Not only didn’t that happen, after Myles Garrett went with the first pick, seven of the next nine selections were offensive players.
- Coming into the start of the draft, 28 of the first-round picks were still assigned to the team that earned that draft slot at the end of the 2016 season. By the end of Day One, only 20 of the picks made in the first round were made by the teams assigned to them and two picks (Nos. 12 and 31) were traded twice during the round.
- Most of the trade activity involved the three quarterbacks that were taken in the first round. All three of the top quarterbacks were taken in the top 12 picks and all were the result of trades.
- San Francisco and Chicago flip-flopped picks at 2 and 3, with the Bears giving the 49ers their third- (No. 67) and fourth-round pick (No. 111) this year and a third-round pick next year to move up one spot. It can be argued that the 49ers were targeting DE Solomon Thomas, whom they got anyway with the third pick – as well as adding three more picks in the top four rounds.
- Kansas City traded up 17 spots from No. 27 to No. 10 with Buffalo to take QB Patrick Mahomes. In return, the Bills got the 27th pick, the Chiefs’ third-round pick and their first-round pick in 2018.
- Houston traded up 13 spots with Cleveland to acquire QB Deshaun Watson. The Browns got the Texans’ first-round pick (safety Jabrill Peppers) and Houston’s first-round pick next year.
- Thanks to their wheeling and dealing again, not only do the Browns have two first-round and three second-round picks next year – including the first- and second-round pick of the Texans (they were gifted a second-round pick to take Brock Osweiler off their hands) – but they made three first-round picks this year, adding Garrett, Peppers and tight end David Njoku.
- Fifth overall pick Corey Davis became just the second MAC wide receiver taken in the first round in the history of the draft. The other guy? Randy Moss to the Vikings in 1998.
- The selection of running backs Leonard Fournette (4th) and Christian McCaffrey (8th) marked the first time two running backs had been taken in the first round since 2005. That year, three of the top five picks were running backs – Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson and Cadillac Williams.
- The first offensive lineman didn’t come off the board until Denver chose Garett Bolles with the 20th pick. It was the latest that the first offensive lineman has been selected in the modern era of the draft.
- Thursday marked the first time since 2006 that more than one tight end was drafted in the first round and there were three taken – O.J. Howard at No. 19, Evan Engram at No. 23 and David Njoku at No. 29.
- The SEC got off to a relatively slow start, but ended up owning the first round again. The conference was represented in just three of the first 13 picks, but comprised nine of the final 19 selections in the round.
- One of the surprises of the first round was the selection of Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley by the Raiders with the 24th pick. Conley, who was accused of rape earlier this week, left teams scrambling as to what value they would put on him. The buzz Thursday afternoon was that Conley could fall to the third round, but the Raiders have never been shy about taking talented players regardless of their situation. Conley wasn’t going to last long because the Baltimore Ravens asked him to take a lie-detector test, which Conley reportedly passed.
- Conley was one of three Ohio State defensive backs selected in the first round, along with cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safety Malik Hooker.
- DE/OLB Takkarist McKinley went to Atlanta with the 26th pick and his entrance to the NFL started off emotionally and turned tragic for NFL Network. McKinley promised his dying grandmother that he would become a NFL player seconds before she died. He showed up on stage with a giant photo of his grandma and there were tears in the eyes of many as he made good on his promise – shortly before dropping a live F-bomb with Deion Sanders during his post-selection interview on NFL Network, threatening to earn his first fine before he’s cashed an NFL check.
- From the Not-So-Shocking Department comes this: Seattle traded out of the first round. In the last five drafts, Seattle has made just one pick in the first round.