NFL Draft Twitter was set ablaze last week when NFL analyst Chris Simms sent out his quarterback rankings for the upcoming draft. You don’t find out who’s right in these prospect rankings until a few years down the line, but Simms’ list was certainly interesting.
Not only did he mix it up at the top and go with the Mormon Mahomes instead of Trevor Lawrence, but he’s got guys like Justin Fields and Trey Lance behind Kellen Mond. Many people’s first reaction to this list was to criticize Simms, but the real takeaway is the emerging trend among experts: This year, more than most, there is increased parity in quarterback draft rankings.
For every person who has Lance as their sixth quarterback off the board, someone has him as their third QB. Experts seem split to some extent on all of the prospects.
Draft experts aren’t the be-all-end-all, but their opinions oftentimes reflect individual team scouting departments’ strategies. Needless to say, every team may have different QB prospects they’ve fallen in love with, and this could lead to one of the most unpredictable drafts to date.
This bodes extremely well for a team like the Vikings, who at No. 14 would usually miss out on the first tier of quarterbacks. They may see an attractive prospect fall to them.
If that were to happen, that would make that pick much more valuable and give Rick Spielman increased flexibility.
One option for Spielman is to draft the successor to Kirk Cousins and set up the franchise for years to come. Cousins still has two years left on his contract, and after comments made by Spielman, it doesn’t look like Cousins is going anywhere. But finding someone to wait in the wings could be an ideal situation.
Think about what Kansas City decided to do with Patrick Mahomes. They knew they really liked him and drafted him even though Alex Smith was coming off a Pro Bowl season. They gave him a full year under the veteran Smith, then handed the keys to Mahomes. Will the Vikings have the player they want fall to them? It’s hard to say. But in this draft, he could.
Somebody like Lance, who people have talked about in the top six, could easily fall in their lap the way things are trending. Giving him two full seasons under Cousins and handing him the reigns in his third season could be ideal for all parties. It has been said many times that a young quarterback’s success is often about the situation they’re in, and you’d be hard-pressed to find many situations better than Minnesota’s.
This seamless transition to the post-Cousins era would be the first time in an extremely long time that Vikings fans will have seen any consistency at quarterback.
But the right prospect may not fall to Spielman at 14. There’s no use forcing a quarterback, but that doesn’t mean Minnesota couldn’t capitalize on the league’s QB craze.
If one of the top quarterbacks fell to 14, the Vikings could use that pick as a trading chip to go back a couple of spots and secure additional draft compensation in the process.
Teams like the New England Patriots, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, and Washington could all be looking for that fifth QB off the board, and they all have picks within the next 10 after Minnesota. In this situation, Spielman could trade back, get somebody like Gregory Rousseau or Christian Darrisaw to patch up holes on the roster, and net a third-round pick in the process.
The reason to bring up all these hypotheticals is to illustrate how much more valuable the Vikings pick could get as the quarterback-rankings debate heats up. This value could translate into a draft-night steal for Minnesota or trade bait to dangle to other teams. As boring as it may sound, this would be the perfect year to trade back and resupply at other positions.
There hasn’t been much buzz surrounding the QB prospects and Minnesota, but the depth of this year’s class could prove to be vital to Spielman’s draft plan. The next time you see these sorts of tweets, Vikings fans, lick your chops, because April 29 could be a wild night.