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  Friday January 30th, 2015    

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Give Spielman a tentative A (05/02/2012)
By John Edstrom

...at no time did his arm leave his body

Well fans, a very intriguing draft it was, including a couple of very odd calls in the middle rounds. I didn’t realize how much I was sweating the Kalil pick until his name was called and my shoulders sagged in relief. Bonehead choices over the years have not exactly been few and far between, with the Purple brain trust succumbing to the extremely perverse, odd, and inexplicable flights from sound judgment on regular occasions. Someone reminded me of Demetrius Underwood the other day, about whose insanity his coach at Michigan State supposedly went out of his way to inform Dennis Green. Green promptly picked him in the first round. Kalil all by himself will raise the Vikings offensive line grade from a C- to a B-. Then hope that Rick Spielman noticed something very special about the blocking ability of USC’s Rhett Ellison, because there is no reason discernible to other rational observers why he was worth a fourth round pick.

An adroit move up to get another Golden Domer in safety Harrison Smith makes another sensible need pick, with Smith going about where he should have. Let us hope that he will be another of those Notre Damers who, perhaps a tad shy of athletic flash, has the character and work ethic to overachieve, like Center John Sullivan has. They say Smith is not a great cover guy, but he has ideal size and good speed for his position. Look for him to be starting well before the season is half over. HIs teammate, CB Robert Blanton, is a sterling character with the versatility to play CB or safety, neither, apparently, with any great advantage of speed or athletic ability, although he does possess good size.

Yet speed is where this draft is especially strong and intriguing. Cornerback Josh Robinson, the third pick out of Central Florida, is probably the fastest DB in this year’s draft, maybe speediest overall. At 199 and 5’10” he has decent size also. He too is better at zone than man coverage which, for better or worse, is what the Vikes like to play.

In Jarius Wright the Vikes picked another speedy, smallish wide receiver who is said to be similar to Percy Harvin, which can’t be bad. But the more interesting pick is his teammate and childhood buddy Greg Childs, who is considerably bigger, at 6’3” and 217 pounds. Childs did not accomplish much his senior year, coming off a knee injury which slowed him from what is eye-popping speed for a man of his size and ball skills – 4.41 in the forty now that he is totally healthy again. That kind of size and speed with a solid senior year’s production would have drafted Childs well up in the first round. We can hope.

Do you want a kicker in the sixth round? We got one, who supposedly has overcome a bad case of the yips. Then there is Audie Cole, a linebacker who might provide some depth or play special teams, and Trevor Guyton, an undersized defensive lineman who might get a chance to play a little defensive tackle on pass rushing downs.

At the very least, I give Rick an A grade for addressing the most pressing of VIkings needs without reaching all around with the strange, long arm of some of his predecessors.



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