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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Strong 2018 QB crop will benefit the Vikings on draft day

By Matthew Coller

With the NFL Combine and many top programs’ pro days in the rear view mirror, the picture of the NFL Draft is becoming clearer. And what stands out most is the unique nature of the 2018 quarterback crop.

Most mock drafts have five quarterbacks being selected in the first round: Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Josh Allen (Wyoming), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Lamar Jackson (Louisville) and Sam Darnold (USC). Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph also has a possibility of being picked in the first.

Here are the number of quarterbacks taken in the first round over the last 10 drafts:

2017: 3 – 2016: 3 – 2015: 2 – 2014: 3 – 2013: 1 – 2012: 4 – 2011: 4 – 2010: 2 – 2009: 3 – 2008: 2

The last time five QBs were drafted in the first round was 1999, when Tim Couch, Donavan McNabb and Akili Smith went one, two, three and the Vikings scooped up Daunte Culpepper with the 11th pick and Cade McNown went the Bears with the 12th selection.

In ’99, the 30th overall pick went to the Atlanta Falcons, who grabbed a pass rusher named Patrick Kerney. He played 11 years in the NFL and racked up 82.5 sacks with the Falcons and Seahawks.

Not bad for a late first-round pick.

The Vikings should have a good chance to repeat history – only instead of an edge rusher, they will likely be focusing on an interior offensive lineman or possibly a tight end, cornerback or three-technique defensive tackle.

If things go as expected, the available prospects at positions of need for the Vikings could be stronger than usual.

On Mel Kiper’s top 25 “Big Board,” he lists UCLA left tackle Kolton Miller as the 13th best player in the draft, but in his latest mock draft, Kiper doesn’t have Miller being selected until the 21st pick. There are other examples. Kiper grades Stanford safety Justin Reid as his 15th best prospect, but expects him to be drafted 24th.

So if the Vikings are set on offensive line in the first, players like Texas tackle Connor Williams (Kiper’s third ranked tackle), UTEP guard Will Hernandez, and Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn might be still on the board at 30. If this were a normal draft with one or two quarterbacks, all three would probably be taken. Now the door is open for one of them to be available.

The same goes for defensive tackle. Florida’s Taven Bryan, Michigan’s Maurice Hurst and Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne are all projected as bottom first-round picks. The odds are increased that one is still there when the Vikings pick.

Trading down also becomes a possibility. If one of the QBs drops – as we’ve seen in the past from players like Teddy Bridgewater or Jimmy Clausen – there is likely to be a team behind the Vikings who wants to take a swing at a future franchise QB.

Certainly the Vikings would have a better shot at a star if they were drafting higher, but this year’s quarterback crop could end up playing a role in finding a key player on April 26.

The post Strong 2018 QB crop will benefit the Vikings on draft day appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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