The 2012 NFL draft has come and gone. Now analysts everywhere are free to rank the prospects. We here at MinneSPORTa feel that it’s too early to rank this year’s players, but we’ll take a stab at it. More importantly though, we’d like to discuss the draft from ’09 and look more closely at how well we’ve drafted since we can see how good they are now.

We’ll touch slightly on the 2012 draft, but mostly just to mention how Spielman did filling needs. Before we talk about the ’09 draft, here’s a quote from Yahoo about the draft back in ’09.

“Bottom line: C.
It’s a small class, but Harvin and Loadholt have the potential to be immediate starters. This entire class is wagered on Harvin getting his head straight, and there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of confidence out there in other personnel departments. His talent is undeniable, but you wonder if the Vikings have turned back the clock to their problematic character days.”

09 Draft: 22nd overall Percy Harvin, 54th Phil Loadholt, 86th Asher Allen, 150th Jasper Brinkley, and 231st Jamarca Sanford

Here’s our take…

Zach:

’09 grade: B

The Vikings continued their streak of solid drafting under Rick Spielman and Brad Childress. The Vikings added talent with Percy, need with Loadholt, and depth with the rest.  The only reason I’m not giving this a higher grade is that with the exception of Jasper Brinkley, all of these guys played in 2011 and the team went 3-13.  The Secondary was awful while Sanford and Allen were on the field. Brinkley looks primed to replace E.J. and when he did in late 09, he looked lost at times, but on the whole was a solid player. Harvin won rookie of the year, and has been great since, but Loadholt who shows potential to dominate, is often lazy and frequently under-achieves. The Vikings will need Harvin, Loadholt, and Brinkley to step up as they look to be key parts in the 2012 roster.  The draft in ’12 shows that the secondary will be revamped again showing the weakness in Allen and Sanford.

’12 Early Analysis

I’m giving the Vikings this grade mostly because of the fact that the added at the right positions. Sure Kalil isn’t the flashy pick, and will most likely go unnoticed (which is what you want your LT to do, if they’re noticed it’s usually for bad reasons). I have to quote Mike Wobschall from the Vikings.com to best put it how important it was for us to take Kalil over Blackmon or Claiborne as he explains here…

“Had the Vikings taken Claiborne, yes they would’ve gotten a great cornerback. But they would still have questions marks in the secondary, including at safety. Selecting Kalil solved an entire problem, whereas taking Claiborne would not have done the same thing. Along with Kalil, the Vikings also took Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson and Robert Blanton to help the secondary. Had the Vikings taken Claiborne, the collection would not have included Smith and probably not Robinson, either. It would’ve included a second-tier left tackle instead, and that combination of players is inferior to Kalil, Smith and Robinson.”

I agree 100% with his assessment here. More so though, the reason I think this year’s Vikings draft was such as success is that we acquired 25 rookies (through draft and free agency). This gives us sorely needed depth and perhaps we find another Marcus Sherels in that group of undrafted rookies.  Only time will truly tell how good they will be though.

Justin:

’09 Grade: B+

This draft is a little more difficult to judge. I have two issues with grading it. The first is that 2nd round pick Phil Loadhold appeared to be on his way to being a solid starter in this league until last years lockout shortened season and a new coaching staff gave him difficulties. The second issue I have is Jasper Brinkley. He missed all of last year because of injury, a year in which he was a projected starter. This would have been a big help in finalizing his future with the Vikings. He still projects as a starter next year, though, and the Vikings’ coaching staff seems high on him. In the end, the Vikings got out of this draft with 4 players that contributed last year and with 5 guys that will be penciled in as big contributors this season. The arrival of many new DBs might minimize the roles played by Asher Allen and Jamarca Samford and, after a 3-13 season, that is probably a good thing. However, don’t underestimate the fact that the Vikings still have all members of the 2009 class, something most teams cannot claim. Oh, and yeah that first round pick, Percy Harvin, that kid is pretty good too.

’12 Early Analysis:

It starts with the trade. Rick Spielman traded down 1 spot and picked up 3 later picks to take a guy that we already wanted. This is like letting the smelly kid in grade school take cuts in the lunch line as long as he gives you his cake and fruit cup so he can get the last serving of brussels sprouts. Simply said, it was masterful. The thing is he needed to do something with those picks, and he did. He used that ammo to get back into the first round and take a safety, a position of extreme need. He added 2 WRs in the 5th round that, the more I read about them, the more I like them. Jarius Wright is a Percy Harvin mold that could allow us to be more creative with Harvin’s position flexibility. Greg Childs is the big receiver we lacked who had a 1st-2nd round grade until injuries derailed his season. Josh Robinson is a CB that we grabbed in the 3rd round with raw athletic ability that jumps off the page. He’ll have a shot to work himself into the nickel role on defense. Robert Blanton is another piece that will have a chance to fight to start on this team. He’ll most likely move from corner to safety and be in competition there. It is possible all these young men will become superstars and just as likely they will all be cut. For now, we can only judge this draft on paper. Lets wait 3 years and grade them for what they actually do on a football field.

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