Breaking Down the Class of '08, Part II

Glenn Dorsey is expected to be in the top handful of draft picks made next month, but, for the most part, defensive tackle is one of the weakest positions in this year's draft. See what positions are viewed as the least top-heavy draft positions among the Class of 2008.

Yesterday we looked at the top five positions of 2008 draft in terms of top-end draft depth. With the good comes the bad, so in the spirit of equal time, looking at the positions that have the least depth at the top seems appropriate.

The Vikings are fortunate in that positions they may be looking for in both starting talent and depth – defensive end, offensive tackle and cornerback – are among the richest positions in the draft. On the flip side, most of the positions at or near the top of the weakest positions are areas the Vikings are either already strong at or have addressed during free agency.

Here is our bottom-five list of the draft class of 2008:

1. Center - This is a position that the Vikings might be looking at since Matt Birk is entering the final year of his contract and, despite whispers that a new deal would be struck to add a couple of years to the end of his current deal, to date nothing has been done. It is expected that less than 10 centers will be taken and probably none before the third or fourth round. John Sullivan of Notre Dame is viewed as the top center prospect, but he isn't likely to go until the third round at the earliest, meaning teams that have a need at center may have to reach a bit to assure themselves of getting someone – anyone – that can help.

2. Fullback - Like center, there may be just a handful of fullbacks that go off the board in the entire draft. Unlike previous years where there have been a couple of fullbacks that earn early attention, there may not be a fullback taken until the fourth round at the earliest. Peyton Hills, Owen Schmitt and Jerome Felton are viewed as the top three pro prospects at the position, but none of them may be taken before the fourth round and at least one of them will likely still be on the board in the fifth or sixth round. Because of that, the signing of Thomas Tapeh, a young fullback with West Coast experience, makes much more sense.

3. Safety - This used to be a position that was ignored and filled in by cornerbacks who had size but not enough speed to be physical cover corners. That has changed with the emergence of players like Bob Sanders and Troy Polamalu and recent draftees like LaRon Landry and Donte Whitner with lottery picks. There is no such player in the Class of 2008. Kenny Phillips and DaJuan Morgan are expected to be the top two safeties to come off the board, but neither is guaranteed to come off the board in the first round. In fact, by the time the third round is done, there may be only four or five safeties that have been selected. Considering how many teams have addressed safety as a need, that is bad news. Once again, it makes sense why the Vikings made such a strong early push for Madieu Williams. There won't be a lot of help coming from the draft here.

4. Defensive tackle - Some might question how a position that is likely to include two top-10 picks – Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis – can be viewed as being a down position, but the reality is that, beyond those two, the only DT that is viewed as having first-round draft stock is Kentwan Balmer. After that, the talent pool drops markedly and there may only be a handful of other tackles that go in the first three rounds. Considering how many teams need DT help and have that listed as one of their priorities, teams may have to reach beyond the true talent level of some of the Class of 2008 to get a DT, rather than having teams weighing the options of multiple quality DTs when making a pick.

5. Inside linebacker - This is always a premium position, but this year the pickings are pretty slim. There is a very good chance there will be no inside linebackers going off the board in the first round and even some of the top prospects have issues. It is expected that the top two ILB's will be Curtis Lofton and Beau Bell. Lofton is a junior who has just one full season of starting time under his belt and likely will need to be groomed. Bell was a full-time starter the last two years, but UNLV isn't considered a football hotbed that consistently produces top pros. While inside linebackers will come off the board often during the later rounds, this draft may not produce a single true superstar.

The Vikings have been addressing the areas in free agency where there is the least likelihood of getting significant help from the draft. That overall strategy could be rewarded in the years to come as they hope avoid reach picks that don't pan out.

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