Rick Spielman & Co. have had a pretty successful NFL Draft through two days, peering in from the outside. Rick has made four picks in three rounds and has addressed all of the team’s major needs if all four were to hit.
|1/22 (22)||Justin Jefferson||WR||LSU|
|1/31 (31)||Jeff Gladney||CB||TCU|
|2/26 (58)||Ezra Cleveland||OT||Boise St.|
|3/25 (89)||Cameron Dantzler||CB||Miss. St.|
Pre-draft, when Vikings’ reporters all over the state reported a bored Rick Spielman, that was itching to wheel and deal, nobody realized that meant gathering as many day-3 picks as humanly possible though the first two days… but here we are, entering the last day with more picks than we started with.. History says the likelihood of draftees turning into contributing NFL employees diminishes by the round but don’t tell our GM that.
Spielman knows a lot more than I do about how to run a draft and he‘s much more in-tune with all of the prospects in this class. However, I can promise Rick, and everyone reading this blog, that he’s already made one mistake when he chose not to use his draft capital to move up and grab Antoine Winfield Jr. before he was picked #13 in the second round… For his own sake, I hope Gladney and Dantzler turn out to be everything Spielman has them scouted to be.
While contributing players are becoming more scarce as the draft continues, I do know one that is still available. His name is Tyler Johnson and Rick Spielman should be more aware than any GM in the league, of just how big of a steal he is this late. Tyler should also be available. For whatever reason, he stands as the 13th best receiver still on the board (ESPN) entering the day
As everyone knows, Tyler is a hometown boy and jumped from Minneapolis North, where he led the football and basketball teams to state championship appearances his Senior year, to the University of Minnesota just down the road. He was also moved from QB to WR. I remember watching his Hudl tape in my work cubicle and telling all of my coworkers how stupid we were for changing his position. He was electric at safety too.
It’s a good thing I didn’t have a wildly successful Minnesota sports website back then… because his position change led to greatness nobody expected when he stepped on campus. He molded himself into one of the best wide receivers in the country, setting just about every receiving record on campus in the process. His route running is competitive with the best in the draft and he wins a lot of 50/50 matchups when the ball is in the air.
However, he isn’t in the top-tier of the speed and height categories, so his draft stock never took off. He didn’t run the 40-yd dash at the combine either, which really hurt him since everything was shutdown before pro days took place. Throw in a bunch of shade from stubborn (at)NFLDRAFTSCOUTs on Bleacher Report with bad information…. and here we are.
Check TJ for yourself. He’s only been a WR for 4 football seasons… It’s crazy to think how refined he is for a guy with so much room to grow. Try to watch his breakpoints when possible. He is so shifty… it just blows my mind that more “experts” don’t see it.
Somebody is going to draft a stud WR today, who played college ball at Minnesota and will probably play in the NFL for 10 years… and Rick Spielman has watched him more than anyone. I know that because he did it from the same press box as I did, just about 15 chairs down and up a row.
Plus, this league is about entertainment and pleasing your fan base, at the end of the day. You now have 13 picks for the next 4 rounds and many would argue that WR depth is your biggest need. Just give the people what they want.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan