Could the Vikings pass on Laquon Treadwell in favor of another receiver as well? Sure. Josh Doctson has the size Minnesota is looking for, and he also has the dynamic downfield ability that Treadwell lacks.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Laquon Treadwell, WR - The other receiving option, Treadwell also has the size the Vikings covet.
2. Vernon Butler, DT - Defensive tackle is not much of a need, but I wanted to list Butler because he's such a perfect fit for Zimmer's defense.
Rd. 2, Pk. 23
Chris Jones, DT/3-4DE, Mississippi State
Defensive tackle isn't a huge need right now, but the Vikings have some expiring contracts soon at the position, so perhaps they'd like to take a prospect who fits exactly what they're looking for.
Rd. 3, Pk. 23
Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah
The Vikings have mentioned that they want to add another safety this offseason. Sean Davis fits exactly what Mike Zimmer is looking for from a defensive back.
Rd. 4, Pk. 23
Maurice Canady, CB, Virginia
The Vikings could stand to benefit adding some depth to the interior of their defensive front.
Rd. 5, Pk. 21
Tyler Johnstone, OT, Oregon
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that one of Matt Kalil or Phil Loadholt will be cut this offseason. T.J. Clemmings will slide in as a starter, meaning depth will be needed.
After getting rid of Mike Wallace, the Vikings could use a big receiver to pair with Stefon Diggs. Teddy Bridgewater could use a possession receiver for his conservative style of passing, and it sounds like Minnesota's preference is for Doctson.
Some teams have told me that they gave Doctson a third-round grade, while others have him in Round 2. WalterFootball.com knows some teams that are giving Doctson late first-round consideration. The reason for the variety in grades is he lacks speed, so separation from NFL defensive backs could be an issue for him as a pro. The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder is a big receiver who wins 50-50 balls and is tremendous in the red zone.
Doctson was a huge part of the Horned Frogs' point-machine offense over the last few seasons. He had 79 catches for 1,327 yards with 14 scores during 2015. As a junior, he totaled 65 receptions for 1,018 yards with 11 scores. Doctson contributed as a sophomore (36-440-4) and freshman (35-393-5).
Pick change; previously Laquon Treadwell, WR
Rd. 2, Pk. 23
Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State
The Vikings need a safety to pair with Harrison Smith.
Bell (5-10, 200) had a huge 2014 season with the Buckeyes as he recorded six interceptions with 92 tackles and six passes broken up. The sophomore finished the year in impressive fashion to help the Buckeyes win the National Championship with four interceptions over the final six games.
Bell showed speed, ball skills and instincts in his first season as a starter, but he wasn't as dynamic in 2015. Perhaps he had the NFL on his mind. Bell totaled 65 tackles with nine breakups and two interceptions on the year.
Rd. 3, Pk. 23
Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
The Vikings grab some interior defensive line depth with a good value pick.
In 2015, Collins totaled 29 tackles, six for a loss, 2.5 sacks and a pass broken up. He played well and was more disruptive than the numbers indicate. Sources say that when watching tape of Randy Gregory for the 2015 NFL Draft that Collins really stood out to them. Another general manager told WalterFootball.com that Collins is good, but not special.
In 2014, Collins turned in an impressive season with 45 tackles, 17 for a loss, 4.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hurries. It was a breakout year for the sophomore after being a backup as a freshman. The 6-foot-1, 311-pounder is a quick gap-penetrator who would be best as a three-technique in a 4-3 defense.
Pick change; previously C.J. Prosise, RB
Rd. 4, Pk. 23
Vadal Alexander, G/OT, LSU
The Vikings grab a run-blocking offensive lineman for depth.
The 6-foot-5, 326-pound Alexander is a massive blocker who can open holes at the point of attack. He played well at guard in 2014 as an impactful run blocker and reliable pass protector. Alexander played right tackle as a senior, but guard looks better as a long-term home in the NFL. He struggled in pass protection on a few plays during 2015 and allowed some sacks in the early going, but was better toward the end of the year. Some teams could think of keeping him at right tackle.
The Minnesota Vikings, fresh off of an NFC North victory and (basically) a Divisional Playoff birth (we still love you Blair Walsh), get--on my board--the second best offensive weapon in this draft. That's big time. Doctson’s biggest struggle in college was his inability to release from the press against larger corners; his biggest knock as a prospect is the amount of space generated for him in his offense at TCU, and the uncertainty that he can create his own space at the NFL level. However, he's fantastic at winning 50/50 balls, and his 6’2, 202 pound frame could easily support more muscle, which would help him in both regards. Stefon Diggs burst on the scene for Minnesota, but it remains to be seen if he can replicate that level of production in his second year. Doctson gives defenses a more dominant, physical WR1 to focus on, and opens up space for the speedster. Teddy Two-Gloves, entering his third year, needs to take command of this offense as Adrian Peterson wears and tears. Having a reliable target, to which he can look on third downs and in the red zone, is instrumental for him to take the next step if the Vikes intend on repeating their victory in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, and Jay Cutler.
NFL.com Comparison: DeAndre Hopkins
My Comparison: Anquan Boldin
Good height and overall length. Smart receiver with a competitive edge when the ball is in the air. Catch-winner. Has a natural feel for the nuances of the position. Has feel for defender and is careful to work back to throws while shielding cornerbacks from the ball. Hands catcher with adequate body control who can climb the ladder and high point catches over defenders. Truly shines with ball-tracking skills and rarely gives away location of the ball with early movements when racing downfield against cornerbacks. Has subtle shiftiness in his routes thanks to his clean footwork. Can stagger and stutter feet while still working through his routes. Zone eater who has great understanding of positioning in space and giving his quarterback cleanest throw possible. Uses quality stiff arm after the catch for additional "RAC" yards. Willing to block, but has size and temperament to become much better at it.
Like DeAndre Hopkins, both players should be defined by their talent, ball skills and consistency of production over pure speed numbers. Treadwell is at his best when he has a clean, two-way go off the line of scrimmage and he could be a challenging size matchup from the slot. While Ole Miss used him underneath quite a bit, he runs quality downfield routes and has the ball skills needed to become a more vertical receiver than underneath, possession guy.
Instant blur off the snap. Feet turn over at a blinding pace and he devours cushion before cornerbacks know what hit them. Able to get over the top of every corner he faced and demands safety help over the top. Works back to the ball. Explosive leaper with ability to climb ladder and win the 50/50 ball and body control to secure the acrobatic catch. Touchdown maker finishing 2015 with 20 receiving touchdowns. Smooth, speedy stems to the post will be difficult to mirror and match for NFL cornerbacks. Easy route adjustments in space. Defenders who try to jam and miss pay the iron price (touchdowns). Able to make tacklers miss in tight spaces. Has experience as ball carrier and punt returner. Heavily targeted (39 percent) in Baylor's high-flying attack.
Other possibilities: Laquon Treadwell WR, Will Fuller WR
The Vikings have made significant improvements to their team both on offense and defense. some of their biggest needs are OT, SS, and ILB but I think they get a WR with this pick. The defense is one of the best in the league but they have trouble scoring points on offense. They have many small shifty receivers who can catch intermediate routes but having a big body on the outside who can go up and get it will help Teddy Bridgewater develop into a better QB next season. Suddenly this team is looking even more dangerous.
Usually when players declare and then change their minds it is a good decision. Will Fuller did the opposite. He decided to return to Notre Dame in December, but the new year brought an unexpected surprise as he declared in January. As of right now, it is hard to argue with his decision. This is a fairly weak WR class at the top, and his production at Notre Dame, with a myriad of mediocre QB's is impressive, one reason the Minnesota Vikings might consider him over the other, similarly ranked WR's (Michael Thomas/Corey Coleman). Teddy Bridgewater hasn't yet proved he can be a reliable starter in the NFL, but he also hasn't had much to work with outside of Adrian Peterson. Cordarrelle Patterson has shown his only value is as a kick returner, and the Mike Wallace trade hasn't panned out. Drafting a WR might be the only thing the Vikings can do to hope to keep their spot in the playoffs for next season.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Will Fuller Going to Vikings
Rd. 1, Pk. 23
Laquon Treadwell, WR,
I'm giving all of these receiver picks a B+. Forgive me for being boring in this stretch, but they all make sense. Laquon Treadwell was seen as the No. 1 player on some boards, but the receivers were all ranked evenly heading into the 2016 NFL Draft. It was just a matter of what teams were looking for. The Texans, for example, wanted a speed guy to complement DeAndre Hopkins. The Vikings, on the other hand, wanted a possession receiver. Treadwell is definitely that, as seen by his 4.64 40 time, but he's still a very good player and well worth the 23rd pick in the draft.
Rd. 2, Pk. 23
Mackensie Alexander, CB,
Wow, what a steal. Mackensie Alexander would've been a first-round pick if he didn't have the sort of character concerns that Tony Pauline reported about a week ago. Alexander doesn't fill an immediate need, but he was just way too talented to pass up. Also, it should be noted that the Vikings will have some corners hitting free agency after 2016, so Alexander could step in and start in 2017.