The writers of the SB Nation football sites are holding their annual mock draft, and the Vikings have already made their selection with the number 12 selection. Even with Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers still on the board, I decided to take the Vikings in a slightly different direction along the defensive front by selecting Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt instead.
My reasoning behind the pick?
Measuring in at 6'6" and a shade over 290 pounds, Watt would be able to fill in most of the positions along the defensive line. He would likely immediately step into Ray Edwards' spot at left defensive end, and could play on passing downs either on the outside or in-between Kevin Williams and Jared Allen as a tackle. In two seasons at Wisconsin, he put up 11.5 sacks and made 36 tackles for loss, and anyone that saw him in the Rose Bowl against TCU saw him at his best, as he played an outstanding game against the Horned Frogs.
Watt's ceiling may not be as high as someone like Bowers', or even a Cameron Jordan (who I also gave strong consideration to with this pick), but his "floor" is much higher, in my opinion, as I think Watt will be a solid player for years to come, whether it's for Minnesota or for somebody else.
Dan Kadar from Mocking the Draft didn't seem to care for my pick very much.
This was kind of shocking with Bowers still available. As much as people want to dog on him for an occasional lack of effort, he still had a sack in every game he played in 2010. Do that in the NFL and you're an All Pro. This isn't to say that Watt won't be a good NFL player. It's just that Bowers can do everything he can a little bit better. Bowers plays stronger, gives the same scheme flexibility and is clearly a better pass rusher.
There is also some concern about Watt that his technique isn't as sound as it should be right now. There's plenty of detail in his scouting report, but the converted Central Michigan tight end may be a bit of a project pick for a 4-3 team.
Meh, I don't get it. . .Watt has played the last two years at Wisconsin as a 4-3 defensive end, and now he's a "project" for a team like the Vikings that runs a 4-3 defense?
The readers over at Mocking the Draft didn't care for this one much, either, with 56% of their respondents to the poll on the pick grading it as a C or worse. Ah, well. . .I guess we'll have to see in a few years.