Scoring the Vikings 2005 Draft

- wadE

There is something so simplistic about grading a team's draft. When only 50% of players drafted in the first round make it in the NFL (and the percentage falls quickly after that), how can you realistically rate how well a team did less than a week later?

Don't you think it should take months, at least until training camp, or even years to properly evaluate and judge a draft?

Probably, but that won't stop me and all the other rubes from doing it! Hey, our hair looks better than Mel Kiper Jr., so try and stop us!

A surprising lack of Kiper pics on Google

The overall feedback from knowledgeable folks seems to be that the Vikings did pretty darn good in the 2005 draft. Couple that with an apparently successful Free Agency period, and many of these same "experts" say the Vikings are second to the Eagles in the NFC for this upcoming season.

The NFL draft is starting to take on a life of its own. It's becoming an anticipated event. I'd say it's equal parts the NFL promoting the event, and the popularity of college football. But I digress, let's get down to brass tacks.

Round 1: 7th Pick Overall
This pick came to the Vikings as part of the Randy Moss trade to Oakland. As expected, receiver Mike Williams was available at this point. Many people thought the Vikings would be lucky to get Williams. However, there were concerns with Williams: he didn't play football last year since he was caught in the same limbo as Maurice Clarett; additionally his 40-yard dash speed at the NFL combine was not great for a wide receiver. The rumor was that South Carolina's Troy Williamson's stock was on the rise in the past couple of weeks, and the Vikings had talked with him; so it was only a mild surprise that the Vikings chose Williamson over Williams.

I don't think the Vikings could have gone wrong with either of these guys. Williams is a big strong possession receiver, while Williamson is slightly smaller, but still good sized, and is very fast. Oddly enough, it was ESPN's Merrill Hoge who made a good point (well, methinks it was one of the production assistants who must have told him since the guy is an idiot normally) that in college, Mike Williams was contested by a cornerback on almost all of his catches. He was able to make those catches because of his size and talent, but in the NFL could he still make those catches with talented CBs contesting every single catch. That's a good point. If he couldn't shake college CBs, what chance does he have with guys in the pros, and with fast linebackers patrolling the middle of the field where a possession receiver makes his living? Consensus is that Williams will still have a great career, but probably isn't a number one guy for a team, so the Vikings went with Williamson. So what does that say about the Vikings feelings on Nate Burleson, Marcus Robinson, and Kelly Campbell? Probably that they don't believe Burleson is a true deep threat, Marcus Robinson doesn't have too much more left in the tank, and Campbell might spend next year in jail.

Overall, while I was surprised by the pick, I agree with it. Williamson is no Randy Moss, but he will provide a serious deep threat to open up the shorter passing game and hopefully the running game.

Round 1: 18th Pick Overall
No surprise the Vikes go defense here, and many drafts had the Vikings taking Erasmus James at this point. Although I thought the Vikes should have considered Marcus Spears at this point. I am guessing they did consider him, both guys had questions coming into the 2004 season, and both played quite well. Rumor has it that the Vikes really wanted David Pollack, but I don't think this is true. They've already gambled with an undersized D-lineman (Chris Hovan) and that failed. Pollack would be suited better in a 3-4 defense where he could play outside linebacker and rush the passer. Overall, a solid pick, pretty much what people expected.

Round 2: 49th Pick Overall
David Dixon has the best season of his career, and now I hear he might have a place as a backup on the team. Huh? Sounds like Liewinski is moving over to "Big Dix's" spot, leaving an opening at left guard. While I'm baffled at all of this, sounds like Tice had this all planned out, and picked Marcus Johnson from Mississippi to fill the gap. The Strib says, "No guard on the roster pulls as well as Johnson", there's gotta be a joke there somewhere. Overall, a good value pick. Johnson was well regarded, and getting a late first round talent in the second round is always good. Add in the fact that Mike Nugent was taken 2 spots before this, and it's the best pick they could make at that point.

Round 3: 80th Pick Overall

Ok, at this point it all starts to get fuzzy. You are going to see many 1st year starters out of this group, unless they are someone like DB Dustin Fox out of Ohio State. Fox figures to play on special teams, and maybe on nickel or dime packages. All signs point to this being a decent pick.

Round 4: 112th Pick Overall
Ciatrick Fason, RB, Florida. First off, great name. The low-down on Fason is that he's the younger version of Moe Williams...and as we know, Moe ain't gettin' any younger. Oddly enough, Tice has said that Moe is the only RB who is assured a spot on the team this next year. The good news is that Fason was rated by many as the 4th best RB in the draft. The Vikings thought he was good enough to trade their 5th round pick to Washington to move up to get him.

Heads up to Onterrio Smith:
"I always said no matter which round I got drafted in, I was going to be the steal of the draft," Fason said. "I was a very underrated prospect."
Looks like the Vikings are cornering the market on SODs.

Round 6: 191st Pick Overall
C.J. Mosley, DT, Missouri. Who knows. Now here's a guy who will end up on the Viking's Practice Squad...BOOM! </Madden>

Round 7: 219th Pick Overall
Adrian Ward, CB, Texas-El Paso. Again, who knows. You wanna talk about a guy who's nearly irrelevant, you wanna talk about a guy who's a long shot to make the practice squad! </Maguire>

So that's about it. I think I'd agree with most of the experts, the Vikings did have a good draft, of course anything that doesn't involve no taking a player before the clock runs out qualifies as a good draft for them these days. One noticeable gap was that the Vikings did not draft a kicker. Nugent was really the only sure thing in the draft, and there is no way Scott Studwell would allow a kicker to be taken higher than the 3rd round, maybe not even on the first day. I just hope the fallback plan isn't to bring Doug Brien back, or either of the Andersons.

But then again, who cares! This Vikings team is going to be winning by 20 or 30 points each game, so who needs a kicker, right?!

Skol Vikings!

- 04/27/2005

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