Experts weigh in on Vikings' draft picks
MAY 11, 2014 1:47p ET
After all that build up and waiting, the NFL Draft is finally over.
The Vikings added a number of new players. How good will they be? Well, they say you need to wait at least three years to grade a draft.
Of course, that doesn't stop people from grading the draft ASAP.
And let's be honest, while we all subscribe to the three-year plan, we also enjoy getting that immediate feedback.
So that being said, here's a number of grades and analysis from around the web of the Vikings' picks, including some player and team grades.
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: Gave Anthony Barr pick a B grade ("I like this pick for a team that needed to get faster at linebacker. He will amp up the blitz package."). Gave Teddy Bridgewater pick a B-minus grade ("I like the Vikings going up to get Bridgewater. It makes sense when you don't have a quarterback.")
Prisco (rounds 2-3) and Derek Stephens (rounds 4-7) also graded every other pick: Scott Crichton: B-plus "Crichton is a good, tough player who isn't a great speed guy but will fight every play. He will back up Brian Robison and Everson Griffen."; Jerick McKinnon: C-plus "He was a quarterback at Georgia Southern in the option offense, but will be a running back. He's a quick, speedy guy. They need a backup."; David Yankey: A-minus "Yankey is a smart, instinctive lineman who blocks well in the run and despite lacking top-notch athleticism, has adequate feet to slide and be effective against the pass-rush."; Antone Exum: C-minus "Exum is an undeniable athletic talent with tools to be a good NFL DB, but questions abound regarding his commitment level and effort, and he needs quite a bit of technical refinement."; Kendall James: B-minus "Undersized DB with great speed, and impressive natural ball skills who could be a special teams booster, with upside to contend for a rotational nickel spot for the Vikings."; Shamar Stephen: B "Stephen is a good athlete for his size, who can anchor and plug the run, and has some untapped upside as a rusher, considering his natural quickness."; Brandon Watts: B-plus "Physically, Watts brings rare speed and arm length considering his position and size, and although raw, could project as a nice developmental piece with strong special teams contribution."; Jabari Price: C "Price is an aggressive corner but lacks stand-out quality in any one area. Will have to make it on special teams."
Prisco also did a team grade. He gave the Vikings an A. "For the second consecutive year, the Vikings did a nice job with the draft. They landed pass rusher Anthony Barr with their first-round pick, then traded back into the round to get quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Keep an eye on sixth-round corner Antone Exum."
Chris Burke and Doug Farrar, SI.com: Gave Anthony Barr pick a B-plus grade ("Barr will provide Minnesota with a definite extra punch around the corner. At the very least he'll be a terrific asset on passing downs. In the perfect scenario, Barr develops into a three-down player that has as much sideline-to-sideline ability as any linebacker in the league."). Gave Teddy Bridgewater pick an A-plus grade ("Is Bridgewater the perfect quarterback? No. There are clearly things he needs to work on, which is true of just about every quarterback prospect. But when it comes to combining innate skills and developmental potential in an NFL view, it's hard for me to put anyone above Bridgewater at the position. He already has a lot on the ball, and with time and patience, he could be the kind of quarterback that defines a franchise.") Burke also called the Bridgewater pick one of the first-round steals.
Burke and Farrar also handed out team grades. The Vikings got an A-plus. "On paper at least, the Vikings had one of the top drafts in 2014. UCLA's Anthony Barr was a slight reach as a pass rusher under development, but the team really scored by trading back into the end of the first round and grabbing Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Their third-round picks -- Oregon State defensive lineman Scott Crichton and Georgia Southern do-it-all back Jerick McKinnon -- should provide valuable depth right away. And grabbing Stanford guard David Yankey in the fifth round could amount to highway robbery in a few years. An outstanding haul for first-year head coach Mike Zimmer and his staff."
Walter Football: Gave Anthony Barr pick a B grade. ("This is a pretty decent pick. The Vikings needed someone to replace Jared Allen, and Anthony Barr is the top pass-rusher available. Some even considered Barr to be superior to Khalil Mack. If you're wondering about Barr's fit in a 4-3 defense, Mike Zimmer's scheme calls for a pass-rushing linebacker. Minnesota will use Barr like Von Miller."). Gave Teddy Bridgewater pick a B grade ("Many of Teddy Bridgewater's fan base on Twitter will praise this pick, but I'm not in love with it. It's solid, but remember that there's a reason nearly every single team in the NFL passed on him. Bridgewater doesn't have any great traits. He doesn't have any glaring negative ones either, but this all just means that he's going to be an average starter at best, and I'm concerned about him playing outdoors over the next couple of years. Having said that, "average starter at best" is a big upgrade over what the Vikings have had at quarterback since Brett Favre.").
Tom Layberger, Newark Star-Ledger: Gave the Vikings an A for their first-round picks.
Bryan Fischer, College 24/7: Has Vikings among teams listed under "Passed With Flying Colors" in first round. "The Vikings could have gone a number of directions, but they shored up both sides of the ball in the best way possible. They landed a perfect Jared Allen replacement in the athletic Barr and only had to give up a fourth-round pick (outside the top 100, too) to move up and grab a polished passer. Norv Turner will really like what he's getting in Bridgewater."
Derek Stephens, NFLDraftScout.com: Gave Anthony Barr pick a B grade ("Barr may be this year's most naturally-gifted pass rusher in terms of getting to the edge, dipping the shoulder, and turning the corner. He's explosive off the snap, has unique flexibility and balance, and exhibits strong closing burst to finish in the pocket. He lacks the strength to routinely win with the bull rush, and has a limited array of pass-rush moves to work with at this point, but the upside is there for Barr to develop into one of the league's best edge rushers."). Gave Teddy Bridgewater pick a B grade ("Once considered to be a contender for the first overall pick, Bridgewater descended down many draft boards due to questions about his size and after a less-than-impressive Pro Day. But the tape shows a poised, smart QB with accuracy and a good enough arm to make all the throws. Considering the Vikings' other options at QB, Bridgewater should have as good of a shot as anyone at being the team's starter at the position in 2014.")
Terez A. Paylor, Kansas City Star: Analysis on Barr pick: "Interesting and surprising pick for the Vikings, who look to boost their pass rush with this athlete with upside. Has all the talent in the world. There's a need here, too -- Chad Greenway is getting older, and there's little other established talent at this position."
Sports Network: Analysis on Barr pick: "The Vikings needed a front-seven defensive stud, and they get him with Barr. A bit shocking with Aaron Donald on the board still, but Barr has plenty of upside. He can provide a pass-rushing presence for the Vikings, which they lost when Jared Allen left this offseason." Analysis on Bridgewater pick: "Clearly the Vikings didn't feel safe about letting Houston select with the first pick in the second round, so they made sure they got their franchise signal caller, even though it cost them their second- and fourth-round picks. Bridgewater can be a star, but he'll have to develop his skills at the next level a bit before he should take over full-time. But having him with Adrian Peterson can make for a dynamic duo once they get rolling."
Brennan Smith, Salt Lake Tribune: Gave a B grade for the Anthony Barr pick and an A-plus grade for the Teddy Bridgewater pick.
Todd McShay, ESPN.com Insider: "Anthony Barr is long and fast and was very productive at UCLA, but to me, taking him at No. 9, as the Vikings did, was too rich. He is a developmental prospect as an edge-rusher."
Greg Bedard, SI.com: "Tale of two picks. I'm not a fan of the pick at No. 9, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, because I don't think he fits Mike Zimmer's scheme well. Barr would be better as a 3-4 outside linebacker. It felt as if GM Rick Spielman panicked after Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack were gone, and he grabbed the last athletic pass rusher. But I loved the trading up to get quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the last pick in the first round, although I wouldn't have chosen the NFC North (weather) as his preferred destination. Spielman has whiffed twice on quarterback moves before (A.J. Feeley in Miami; Christian Ponder with the Vikings three years ago), so the third time has to be the charm, right?"
Ebenezer Samuel, New York Daily News: Analysis of Anthony Barr pick: "No team needs a QB as bad as Minny, but that doesn't stop Rick Spielman from passing on one to grab Barr. Few defenders in this draft are as physically gifted as Barr, and the Vikes may be able to give him time to develop." Analysis of Teddy Bridgewater pick: "That Barr selection doesn't look so bad anymore. Minny trades back into the first round to get the QB it so desperately needs. Bridgewater is in a situation to thrive, too, with Adrian Peterson to take pressure off him."
Yahoo Sports: Analysis of Anthony Barr pick: "Barr might be raw and in need of positional instincts, but he is too gifted to let slide." Analysis of Teddy Bridgewater pick: "He has the intangibles and ability to be a star in Minnesota."
Jake Perper, Chicago Now: Gave the Vikings a B grade for Anthony Barr and an A grade for Teddy Bridgewater.
ESPN.com: Gave the Vikings a thumbs-up for their first-round picks.
Shawn Boyer, Draftsite.com: On Anthony Barr pick: "Could be the steal of this draft when we look back in a few years . . . we were very high on him."
Finally, in the fashion/style department, Esquire says Teddy Bridgewater had the second-best outfit at the draft in New York City.