NFL Mock drafts are absolutely everywhere now days… Some are made by people who put in the work and, while they still may not get a lot of picks right, are worth following just for the insight they provide on draft prospects.
But when you look at who started the entire mock draft game and who helped raise an entire era of draft experts, all signs and fingers point to one person, and that is ESPN’s Mel Kiper.
Mel busted onto the scene in 1994 when he sat next to Chris Berman on ESPN and undressed the Indianapolis Colts for passing on Trent Dilfer in the 1st round. Kiper has actually been doing drafts with ESPN since 1983.
He’s published and released his own draft guide since 1981, and he’s been a self-proclaimed draft expert since the late-70’s, when he was just a teenager. Apparently, he got his first NFL Draft analyst job in 1982 with the Baltimore Colts, but then they were sold to Indianapolis and left without him. That’s when he linked with ESPN and the rest is history.
This video of Kiper during his first broadcast with ESPN during the 1984 draft is amazing. Look at that flow… Barry Melrose is blushing in the cubicle next to him.
Mel stopped releasing draft guides in 2014 but is still everywhere on ESPN whenever the draft is mentioned. Now that we are just 2 months out from this year’s event, Kiper is in the thick of mock season.
He just released his “Mock Draft 2.0” for 2020 this morning and if you scroll down to the Vikings pick at #25, you may find his selection quite interesting…
I guess Minnesota just looks too good on Antoine Winfield Jr.
This is the highest I have seen Antoine Winfield Jr. mocked. That doesn’t mean he isn’t picked higher in someone else’ pretend draft but this is the highest I have personally seen him go.
He’s been given a 2nd day draft grade throughout most of this process, by most outlets, so to see him climb into the first round of Mel Kiper’s latest mock, is a big deal.
It also means we are likely to see him start climbing up others.
As far as being drafted by the Vikings… that’s the Minnesota football fan’s dream, right there. We were all sad to see Winfield go, even though realistic folks knew it was coming. Getting him into purple and gold, covering slot receivers and picking off deep balls, might be even better than seeing him on Saturdays in maroon and gold.
It also helps with our cap issues, since Anthony Harris (and his upcoming big time contract) would be expendable at that point.
The draft is a long-ass ways away yet and with the combine happening next week, these projections are going to change a lot over the coming weeks and months. Still, this is why it’s fun right?
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan