Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman did Tom Heckert a solid this week, refuting a report from CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman that he duped Heckert into trading up one spot in the draft to select running back Trent Richardson.
Apparently, the Browns actually were in danger of losing Richardson to another team, so the trade-up was justified. Not that we ever viewed parting with fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks as a big deal anyway.
If anything, the 2012 NFL draft will go down in history for all the trading that occurred in an epic first round. Last summer’s lockout changed the NFL landscape, and the new rookie wage scale and restricted free agency guidelines have made teams more comfortable in jumping all over the board for the player they want.
Justified or not, let’s recap how the Vikings used their new picks via the Browns. We’ll come back to this topic periodically to determine if they indeed got “snookered” (though Freeman’s work, either way, will remain subjective).
All quoted scouting reports courtesy of Rotoworld.com:
With pick No. 118, the Minnesota Vikings select: WR Jarius Wright, Arkansas. This was the pick originally obtained from Atlanta in the Julio Jones trade of last year.
"A four-year starter and the Razorbacks’ all-time receptions leader, Wright led his school with a 68/1,117/12 line as a senior. He also beat out Rueben Randle and Alshon Jeffery for first-team All-SEC honors. A small but explosive prototype slot receiver, Wright releases quickly off the line, runs quality routes, and possesses a second-gear after the catch. It will be interesting to see where he fits in the Vikes’ receiver corps, as Percy Harvin spends quite a bit of time in the slot as well."
Did the Browns miss out on Wright here if they liked him? Technically no, because they selected wide receiver Travis Benjamin out of Miami 18 picks earlier.
With pick No. 175, the Minnesota Vikings select: K Blair Walsh, Georgia. Do we really care that they took a kicker?
"Ryan Longwell has three years left on his contract, but he converted just 78.6 percent of his field goals in 2011 and is 37. He also no longer handles kickoffs and barely has any range from 50-plus yards out. Still, it’s a confusing pick as the Vikings have tons of holes and Walsh missed 14 of the 35 field goals he attempted as a senior last season."
Minnesota trades this selection to the Tennessee Titans for a sixth-round pick in 2013. So with pick No. 211 the Titans select: DE Scott Solomon, Rice.
"The Titans traded up to make this pick, indicating they had a middle-round grade on the player. Solomon goes 6-foot-3, 262 with short arms, but he is a high-motor pass rusher and does not give up in pursuit. In Tennessee, he’ll try to earn a roster spot as a situational end in an increasingly deep rotation."