In the absence of a Hunt Down or Increasingly Lost Season installment this week, Commenter RandBallsStu (branding!) offers up a bit of opinion on the 2014 draft and what the Vikings should do. Stu?
If the season ended today, the Vikings would draft third. They desperately need a quarterback. Here’s why they shouldn’t draft one with their first pick.
If you needed any evidence that Minnesota’s problems extended beyond the Spergon-esque play at the quarterback position, look no further than Sunday night’s faceplant against Green Bay. Despite Aaron Rodgers’ small stature and prima donna antics, the Vikings were unable to get him off the field, as the Packers went an astonishing 13-18 on third down (and also converted two fourth downs) and never punted. That’s not on Christian Ponder or his noodly, dinky throwpunts. This defense needs a major overhaul. And that’s why the Vikings should draft South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney with their first pick in the draft.
There are a ton of caveats built into this, so let’s explore them together, like a family of sports friends:
· This assumes the Vikings will not be able to “catch” the winless Jaguars and Buccaneers in the draft order. Jacksonville is world-historic terrible, while Tampa Bay is stricken by contagious disease and Greg Schiano, the NFL head coach most likely to meet the same end as Douglas C. Niedermeyer, sargeant-at-arms.
· This assumes that both those teams will draft the top two quarterbacks on the board. Teddy Bridgewater to Jacksonville is a fait accompli, and one assumes that whoever is in charge of Tampa in 2014 will have seen enough of the Mike Glennon Experience and take the “next-best” one, which is Marcus Mariota as of this writing.
· As noted by RandBall on Monday, the “draft experts” say that while the quarterback talent is deep in this year’s draft, there is no Andrew Luck-type sure thing, and the two best ones will likely be gone before the Vikings are on the clock.
· These experts also note that Jadeveon Clowney IS a sure thing, and has been listed as the number one talent available for 2014 almost since his first practice with the Gamecocks.
· Clowney is a defensive end. Jared Allen probably won’t be here in 2014. The position will be open.
· #clownin4clowney is a better hashtag pun than #tank4teddy.
· Think about how angry you were on Sunday night when the Vikings couldn’t get off the field once. Then watch this play again.
· You can draft a potential franchise quarterback outside of the first round. Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson are very recent examples of this. Will a Johnny Manziel or Brett Hundley or someone who grades out similarly to them fall to the Vikings and the 35th pick, or close enough that trading back into the first round becomes tenable? Almost definitely. There are a lot of options.
· If you think you have zero choice BUT to draft a quarterback in the first round, you may end up reaching for someone who’s a project that you can get later on, or worse, a failed experiment.
Obviously, things could change. Jacksonville or Tampa could win some games, or flake out and take Clowney or someone else, leaving Minnesota with the chance to take Mariota or Bridgewater. Josh Freeman could be rejuvenated, win some games and change the Vikings’ draft position and strategy entirely. But the best bet is that they are what they are, which is the third-worst team in the National Football League. And there is a reasonable chance they’ll be able to take the very best player in the draft. They should do so.
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