Tyron Smith, Offensive Tackle, University of Southern California.
Playing the role of Minnesota Vikings general manager is 'RolloT.' Here is his rationale for selecting Smith:
Talk about drawing the short straw. If the draft breaks down like this mock has, by the time the Vikings pick the best QBs, WRs, DEs, and CBs are all gone -- which pretty much defines all of the areas of concern for the Vikings. Well, there's also the interior of their offensive line, but there's no OG/C worth the No. 12 pick aside from maybe Mike Pouncey, but that's a big reach. If the option was available I'd expect the Vikings to trade down with some of the playoff teams looking to get first pick of the deluge of defensive line talent about to fly off the board, but with no trading the Vikings have to stay put and go with the BPA and that happens to be USC's offensive tackle, Tyron Smith.
Let me preface this by saying offensive tackle is NOT an immediate need for the Vikings, and I'm aware of this. This team needs a reliable signal caller, a healthy wide receiver, and a safety that doesn't make C.C. Brown look attractive, but sadly none of those are available at No. 12. That said, the Vikings are still getting a great player.
For those unaware Tyron Smith is the Jason Pierre-Paul of this year's draft: tremendous upside, but raw and untested. As we learned and are learning about JPP, you've got to take these players along slowly and let them develop, which might work great with the Minnesota Vikings. Neither of their tackles are particularly heinous, and while Bryant McKinney hasn't been as dominant recently as Vikings fans would like, he's still got enough in him to play adequately for a few seasons. This gives Smith a year to learn the system and work behind a good player to learn the speed of the NFL game, but he has enough upside that should either McKinney or RT Phil Loadholt go down with injury, he could sub in.
I know it's not a sexy pick and I know most times your first round draft pick is supposed to be an immediate improvement to an area of concern, but this is BPA and a potential long-term investment. Again, I expect the Vikings to trade down if things play out this way come April, but if they don't they can at least be sure they're getting a Top 10 talent and arguably the best offensive tackle in the draft to ensure that when do draft or sign their QB of the future, they have a way to keep him upright.
My take: I was right -- the run on offensive linemen in the first round of the draft begins here. This is the pick I was expecting for the Vikings, and the one I would have made. 'Rolle' is correct that the best players at several position are already gone, so rather than reach for a position need the smart pick is to take the best player on the board. Potentially, that means Smith. Would it shock me to see a trade here? No. In fact, it would not shock me to see several trades in the first round. Keeping the order intact, though, this is the right pick.
|19||N.Y. Giants||Ed Valentine|
||The Blood Of Eli
|29||Chicago||You're my boy, Blue|
New York Jets
|48||Oakland||G Fan In England
|52||N.Y. Giants||Ed Valentine|
||The Blood Of Eli|
||You're my boy, Blue|