2011 NFL Mock Draft Round 2: Mock Drafts From Around The Web

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2011 NFL Mock Draft Round 2: Mel Kiper Has Da'Quan Bowers Falling To The Vikings

If Mel Kiper's projected Round 2 goes as planned (another ESPN Insider article; we know it won't go as planned, but at least for the Vikings pick), Minnesota will have drafted a consensus late-first-to-early-second-round pick with the #12 selection and a consensus top 5 talent with the #43 selection.

Go figure.

Da'Quan Bowers was a virtual lock to go very early in the first round of the draft until major concerns about his health started to surface. Even after all the concern of the possibility of Bowers needing microfracture surgery, most draft analysts consider it an upset that Bowers wasn't chosen at all in the first round Thursday night.

Here's Kiper's blurb on why the Vikings would pick Bowers at #43:

If Bowers is healthy, this is a potential top-five pick. Tremendous value at this point and worth the risk.

I personally couldn't agree more. Picking Bowers with the #12 pick was way too risky in my opinion (but then again, picking Christian Ponder instead might have been too). But if Bowers does fall all the way to the Vikings, I don't see how they can pass up such bona fide talent at one of their need positions.

The draft resumes with Rounds 2 and 3 tonight at 5 PM CT.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft Round 2: McShay Projects Rahim Moore To Minnesota

ESPN.com's Todd McShay has a mock draft ready for tonight's Round 2 action. If you're silly like me and splurge on ESPN Insider, here's a link to his entire Round 2 projection. For those of you that spend your money in better places, I'll give you the important part as it pertains to Minnesota Vikings fans. McShay has the Vikings upgrading a position that many fans viewed as a big weakness in 2010 by drafting safety Rahim Moore from UCLA.

Safety is one of the weakest positions in this year's draft, with nobody projecting or getting drafted in the first round. However, Moore is widely considered the top prospect at his position. Moore started all 37 games in three years at UCLA and he seems to be a great leader (a very hard worker, voted a team captain as a junior).

If Moore is still available at 43, he seems like a great fit to fill a void in the Vikings defense. While Madieu Williams is a world-class guy off the field, his play last year was anything but. While Moore is a bit undersized for an NFL safety, the Vikings' defensive scheme doesn't call for the safeties to jam up the box too often. I might be going out on a limb here, but picking Rahim Moore in Round 2 would probably be less controversial than the Vikings' first round pick.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft Round 2: SB Nation Slots Gilbert To Vikings

With the dust barely settled on a very surprising and entertaining first round of the 2011 NFL draft, everyone is already chomping at the bit to see where their teams will go in Round 2 tonight. SB Nation's very own Brian Galliford has the Vikings fortifying their offensive line by choosing offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert from the University of Florida. The offensive line is definitely a need area for Minnesota, and Galliford uses that logic to justify his pick:

The Vikings really need to address their offensive line, and Gilbert is a tackle/guard prospect that, at bare minimum, gives them talented depth.

While Gilbert seems to be a serviceable NFL tackle, it's not always nice to hear the words "bare minimum" when someone's projecting your second round pick. Especially after most draft analysts pegged the Vikings' choice of Christian Ponder at #12 as the biggest surprise of the first round. But if Gilbert can earn a starting spot or at a bare minimum push the likes of Bryant McKinnie and Phil Loadholt to a higher level, it could be the smart way to go.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Todd McShay Projects Seven Rounds

Todd McShay of ESPN.com has done his final mock draft for ESPN (via ESPN In$ider, so no link), and has projected a full seven rounds worth of selections. For the Vikings, he has a somewhat surprising choice, as he has the Vikings tabbing Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo with the 12th overall selection.

McShay says this about the selection:

Castonzo has the size and skills to step in immediately and allow the Vikings to shuffle their offensive line to better fit their current personnel.

So McShay has the Vikings shuffling their offensive line. Shockingly, he also has them not drafting a quarterback with any of their nine selections. Here is who McShay has the Vikings taking the rest of the way.

43rd pick - Rahim Moore, safety, UCLA
106th pick - Chris Hairston, offensive tackle, Clemson
139th pick - Greg Romeus, defensive end, Pittsburgh
150th pick - Jonas Mouton, linebacker, Michigan
172nd pick - Ricardo Lockette, wide receiver, Fort Valley State
200th pick - Daniel Hardy, tight end, Idaho
215th pick - Kris O'Dowd, center, Southern California
236th pick - Zach Clayton, defensive tackle, Auburn

There are too many variables to accurately project a seven-round draft, in my opinion, but it's kind of cool of McShay to give it a try.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: SB Nation Sticks With Nick Fairley

We've been tracking the SB Nation mock drafts from the beginning, and just like his mock from Monday morning, Brian Galliford has the Minnesota Vikings selecting Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley at number 12. Quite a precipitous fall for a guy that, as soon as the off-season festivities started, was widely regarded as the top overall selection.

Galliford's logic is simple:

It's tough to envision Fairley lasting past Minnesota, who would pair him with Kevin Williams to form one of the league's most feared interior pass-rushing tandems.

He's right. . .if Fairley were to actually reach number 12, I don't think the Vikings would pass on him. In that scenario, I don't think the Vikings should pass on him. It brings back memories of 1995. . .the Vikings had an opportunity to take an amazingly talented defensive tackle with a bit of controversy behind him at number 11, but passed on him for a less-talented defensive end. The team behind the Vikings took that amazingly talented defensive tackle at number 12, and he will soon be going into the Hall of Fame.

That player was Warren Sapp. The Vikings could have had him, and they passed. It looks like the mothership thinks that if the same scenario plays out 16 years later, Minnesota won't make that same mistake again.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Rick Gosselin Mocks Andy Dalton To Minnesota

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News has a track record of being one of the most accurate mock drafters out there, and he also has the Vikings selecting a quarterback. . .but not one that would immediately spring to mind for most people.

In his final mock draft, Gosselin has the Vikings selecting TCU quarterback Andy Dalton with the 12th overall pick in this year's draft. Here is what Gosselin has to say about Dalton.

Like the Titans, the Vikings need to draft a rookie quarterback and play him immediately. Dalton brings a wealth of experience — four years as a starter, 42 career victories and more than 1,300 career passes.

I totally agree with Gosselin's assessment, and Dalton is becoming one of my favorite quarterbacks in this year's class. The guy wins, he's smart, and he's a hard worker. . .all things that any team should want in a quarterback, and all things that would make Andy Dalton the Vikings' best bet as a signal caller for the next decade rather than having to throw stop-gaps out there constantly.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Mike Mayock Releases Mock Draft

Mike Mayock of the NFL Network, who many Viking fans may recognize as the guy that does color commentary for Minnesota's pre-season games, has released his one and only mock draft of the year, and he has a bit of a surprise for the Vikings at the number 12 spot in the first round.

While the Vikings have been matched with numerous different defensive ends in mock drafts across the internet, one player that I haven't seen them matched with very frequently is Missouri pass-rusher Aldon Smith. But, that's the guy that Mayock has the Vikings grabbing with the 12th pick. Says Mayock:

In desperate need of a QB, the Vikings go the veteran route. If they don’t re-sign Ray Edwards, they line up Smith opposite Jared Allen and return to the dominance of their front-four defense.

So, Mayock feels that the Vikings try to sign yet another veteran stop-gap at the quarterback position. For the record, Mayock has four quarterbacks. . .Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, and Andy Dalton. . .being selected in Round One, which could possibly leave the Vikings a couple of possibilities with their second-round choice.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper Releases Final Mock Draft

Mel Kiper and his hair have released their final 2011 NFL Mock Draft. . .unfortunately, you can't see it if you don't have an ESPN In$ider membership, but we can still tell you who the Vikings are selecting specifically.

Kiper has the Vikings getting into the quarterback business early with the selection of Washington's Jake Locker with the 12th pick. Kiper says the following about the pick:

This pick comes with a caveat: I think the Vikings will actively be looking to move down and get Locker later. But if they do get him here, what they get is a guy with an exceptional package of skills and intangibles. Locker's struggles last year and his fall in the eyes of evaluators is well-covered ground, but what's kept him as a first-round option is a big-time arm, athleticism that matches that of Newton, a solid work ethic and the kind of moxie and leadership skills coaches crave. Accuracy will be the question until Locker is able to answer definitively that it should not be a concern with his play on the field, but there's plenty to like.

Personally, I'm not Locker's biggest fan, so I hope that what Kiper is saying is true. . .I would like to see the Vikings drop back a bit and try to pick up some more picks, then select a different quarterback, whether it's TCU's Andy Dalton or Florida State's Christian Ponder (among others) later on in the first round or early in the second.

We're less than 24 hours away from finding out who the Vikings will actually select. . .I, for one, can't wait to see it.

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