As ESPN’s Todd McShay promised, threatened and lamented when I had a chance to ask him about it recently, his latest “way-too-early” NFL mock draft for 2018 came out today (Insider required).
Before we get to a couple Vikings-related nuggets from those way-too-early projections, let this be a reminder that
1) these projections mean nothing! McShay says it himself, spelling out in bold, underline text “I have not studied tape on most of these players.”
2) McShay does not enjoying doing these. He said as much in our interview. Basically, ESPN gave him a choice a long time ago between either doing draft grades immediately after drafts or doing way-too-early mocks. He chose the latter. He still does them because the page views are huge and because he’s “contractually obligated.”
That said, there are things to consider within the context of those disclaimers.
The first is that he has quarterbacks going 1-2-3 (Sam Darnold of USC, Josh Allen of Wyoming and Josh Rosen of UCLA). But after being burned by tabbing the Gophers’ Mitch Leidner as the No. 25 overall pick of the first round during last year way-too-early projections, McShay doesn’t have any other quarterbacks going in the first round.
He has the Vikings taking wide receiver Calvin Ridley of Alabama … with the No. 5 overall pick.
That indicates, first off, that the Vikings aren’t expected to do very well next season. Indeed, the draft order McShay used was based on Football Outsiders’ projected 2017 records. That site has the Vikings going 6-10 and finishing last in the NFC North.
The Vikings have had mixed results when drafting wide receivers in the first round. Their last four tries doing that: Randy Moss (1998), Troy Williamson (2005), Percy Harvin (2009), Cordarrelle Patterson (2013) and Laquon Treadwell (2016).
If there are really three standout QBs near the top of the draft and the Vikings do end up having a subpar 2017 season to earn a high draft pick, it would be interesting to see if they chose a passer instead — particularly given how uncertain as of now their quarterback situation looks beyond 2017.
Then again, we could just forget all of this for almost a year. It is way-too-early, after all.