Vikings select – QB Teddy Bridgewater. #KRM
Good work here from Trashy on the Vikes.
The presumed decision maker is Rick Spielman (and his front office( with significant input from Mike Zimmer, the new head coach with a background as a defensive coordinator for the Bengals. Spielman was heavily involved with drafting and key in decision-making for Dolphins 2002 – 2005 and responsible for the Vikings’ drafts since 2007. Let’s look at his positional preferences in the first two rounds drafting:
- 2002 ——–
- 2003 2nd Round: LB
- 2004 1st Round: T
- 2005 1st Round: RB
- 2005 2nd Round: DE
- 2007 1st Round: RB
- 2007 2nd Round: WR
- 2008 2nd Round: S
- 2009 1st Round: WR
- 2009 2nd Round: T
- 2010 2nd Round: CB & RB
- 2011 1st Round: QB
- 2011 2nd Round: TE
- 2012 1st Round: T & S
- 2013 1st Round: DT, CB, WR
That’s 1 LB, 3 OT, 3 RB, 1 DE, 3 WR, 2 S, 2 CB, 1 QB, 1 TE, 1 DT. Okay… that’s not a help.
New head coach Mike Zimmer was named DC of the Bengals in 2008. While he was not the man in charge of the drafts, it is likely that he had a say on who was picked on the defensive side of the ball. It is also worth looking at the other draft picks to see who Zimmer has seen picked in his time there:
- 2008 1st Round: LB
- 2008 2nd Round: WR
- 2009 1st Round: T
- 2009 2nd Round: LB
- 2010 1st Round: TE
- 2010 2nd Round: DE
- 2011 1st Round: WR
- 2011 2nd Round: QB
- 2012 1st Round: CB
- 2012 1st Round: G
- 2012 2nd Round: DT
- 2013 1st Round: TE
- 20132nd Round: RB
- 2013 2nd Round: DE
That’s 2 LB, 1 OT, 1 RB, 2 DE, 2 WR, 1 CB, 1 QB, 2 TE, 1 DT, 1 OG. Still not a whole lot to correlate. But randomness in itself is a correlation, no?
Like Pete Carroll with DBs and J-Love with Ghosts, Zimmer seemed to be a LB/S whisperer, taking castoffs to create the Bengals’ dominant defense. However, looking at the draft history that was not the case. Instead, the Bengals defense succeeded with the cast offs after the top tier guys were injured. With recent success, however, Zimmer and Spielman may tilt away from blue chip LBs. ((This is an important factor in considering Anthony Barr for this pick.))
TALENT IN THE DRAFT
- First tier of talent is gone: DE Jadeveon Clowney; OT Greg Robinson; WR Sammy Watkins; OLB Khalil Mack;
- Second tier of talent taken: QB Johnny Manziel; QB Blake Bortles;
- Second tier talent remaining: CB Justin Gilbert; QB Bridgewater; OLB Anthony Barr; OT Taylor Lewan; MLB CJ Mosely; S HaHa Clinton-Dix; TE Eric Ebron; CB Darqueze Dennard; WR Mike Evans.
VIKINGS ROSTER NEEDS
Vikings positional review (thank you PFF!):
From this chart we see needs at:
- DE (signed Everson Griffen),
- DT (signed Linval Joseph),
- OLB x 2
- CB2 (signed Captain Munnerlyn)
VIKINGS TARGETS OF NEED AND THINNING THE CROWD
Vikings potential targets crossing the available 2nd Tier talent with needs:
- QB Teddy Bridgewater
- TE Eric Ebron
OLB Khalil Mack
- MLB CJ Mosely
Who they are not taking –> Mosely or Ebron;
- Mosely can play inside or outside but does not bring pass rush ability, which is generally a no-no at the top end of the draft (see Rolando McClain, Aaron Curry).
- Kyle Rudolph was recently in the Pro Bowl and despite injury was also recently a second round draft pick. While he should not be locked in as the starter, the Vikings already have strong skill position weapons with the top NFL RB on board already and a strong pair of WRs in Jennings and Patterson, and TE can wait until later in the draft this year.
OLB: The kid from UCLA can play and has some pass rush chops. However, throwing a first rounder into the ring here negates Zimmer’s greatest asset: his ability as a LB – whisperer. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that there is need at all 3 LB spots.
QB: This was always the answer right? Once picked to be on the top of the board at #1 overall, the Vikings cannot believe their fortune that Bridgewater has slipped into their laps. The Vikes have indicated they are ok giving Ponder one more try and relying on Cassel if that plan falls through, but hope is not a plan. While Bridgewater may not have prototypical size, speed, or arm strength (huh? how is this guy a first rounder?) any Browns fan can tell you that decision-making under pressure is somewhat important to a QBs success. While the NFL watches Bortles attempt to rifle passes off his back foot and Manziel start running at the first sign of trouble, the Vikings will be ecstatic to see Bridgewater stand in against a rush, plant, and throw to where a WR can make a play after the catch. The points made by Barnwell and this post at Football Outsiders struck a chord with me as a Browns fan and sealed it up. Barnwell illustrates how Bridgewater’s completion % stays even first through third downs and this seems to be a leading indicator of QBs who succeed, while those who fade under pressure fail. The FO post looks at how Bridgewater stacks up against elite QBs in enabling WRs to run after the catch despite not being a good deep ball passer1.
Picking Teddy Bridgewater with the eighth overall, there is no way the Vikings could have hoped to do better. Only Clowney or Mack would have topped a QB pick, and Bridgewater is the most NFL ready for a team ready to compete other than its lame pile of QBs.
Thank you Trashy. And just like that, the great QB Slide of 2014 is over.
Up next is Clay and the Bills.
- He’s like a Bizarro Brandon Weeden [back]