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2022 NFL Mock Draft: Vikings pick up a cornerback

With the 12th overall pick in the 2022 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Minnesota Vikings GM Kephas selects ...

UCLA v Washington Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

In an aging, milquetoast NFC, the Minnesota Vikings proudly boast a floor of mediocrity.

Because while they did ultimately rip off the Zimmer-Spielman band-aid this past season, the reality is this team has only been able to go as far as Kirk Cousins can take them, which has been 2nd place in the NFC North.

This is to say that drafting for the Vikings is a bit of a conundrum, because despite the sub-.500 record the past couple of years, this team has Pro Bowl-caliber talent across the roster: Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielan, Harrison Smith, Danielle Hunter, Za’darius Smith, etc. etc. There are some obvious caveats to that crew (Za’darius Smith just signed in the offseason, Danielle Hunter hasn’t been a factor for the past 2 years, Harrison Smith isn’t getting any younger, etc.) but the point is, on paper, this looks like a group with potential, and without any super obvious holes.

Except one.

The Vikings have drafted and developed DBs like the Eagles have WRs (minus Devonta Smith). A snapshot of notable selections:

And so the Vikings re-signed 31-year-old Patrick Peterson again this offseason to another 1-year deal, since the Vikings were, in a word, thin at cornerback.

That all being said - need should not necessarily dictate the draft pick. But when I looked at the following player options, I felt that Trent McDuffie was a pick that would make the strongest impact on this team and help bring some youth & swagger to an aging secondary.

But a bit more on the players - as I’ve done in this community draft for the past 2 years, I first consulted my Big Big Board:

It felt like there were a lot of directions the Vikings could go - and candidly, I think they’re a great candidate to trade back and collect more picks if the draft falls this way - so narrowing it down wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped.

Players Considered:

  • Devin Lloyd - 12th Overall felt a little high for a player likely to play ILB in the Vikings’ new 3-4 defense. Additionally, where would he play? The Vikings just signed (a now always-healthy?!) Jordan Hicks in FA, they still have Eric Kendricks, they just signed Za’darious Smith and also committed to Danielle Hunter for another 2 years.
  • Charles Cross - Vikings just drafted Christian Darrisaw in the 1st round last year and, from what I read, seemed to feel good about their ascending OT play.
  • Drake London, Garret Wilson & Jameson Williams - really considered a WR here, especially since London is a different WR-type from Jefferson & Thielan. Additionally, the team seems to be high on their 3rd WR, K.J. Osborn. This is where “need” probably won out in the overall decision-making process, since Vikings’ skill players are in pretty good shape.
  • Jermaine Johnson & George Karlaftis - again, strongly considered both here as well, but if you were to deploy them as 3-4 pass rushers, like Lloyd it was likely they’d end up as backups for at least 1 year, if not 2 given the contracts Vikings have committed to, and I’m just not sure that’s the best use of 1st round resources. (Watch them prove me wrong IRL and draft either of these guys at 12.)
  • Nakobe Dean - similar argument to Devin Lloyd, but now falling behind the average ranking of McDuffie.
  • Devonte Wyatt - considered him (and Jordan Davis, actually, who has the potential to be a great 3-4 nose), but Wyatt is already 24 and didn’t have the college production you might want to see out of the 12th overall pick. (Similar reasoning with Jordan Davis...I got some “Combine Wunderkind” vibes, especially after reading he played less than 1/2 of the defensive snaps at Georgia).
  • Tyler Lindenbaum - while Center might be the weakest link of the Vikings’ O-line, they just drafted Garrett Bradbury in 2019 (in the 1st round) and 12th overall for a Center feels a little rich. Maybe IRL Vikings trade back into later in the 1st round and take him?

If you’ve made it this far - stick around for some gifs! All that’s left is to give a sneak peek at the player that Daniel Jeremiah called “...one of the safest players in the draft”.

Notable evaluations:

  • PFF: ”Outside of length, McDuffie has everything you could want from a high-end cornerback. At only 5-foot-11, McDuffie plays consistently bigger than his listed size. He’s allowed only 16 catches from 36 targets for 111 yards with no scores and five pass breakups”
  • Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: ”He can play outside or from the slot and carries a very high floor with the potential to become one of the league’s top corners at some point during his first contract.”
  • Dane Brugler’s “The Beast”: ”Overall, McDuffie might not hit ideal size thresholds for some, but he is an easy sell in draft rooms because he has outstanding athleticism, intelligence and is well-schooled in various techniques. He has a high ceiling and a high floor and should start as an NFL rookie.” (And hey, whaddya know, Dane Brugler gives him a “1st Round, 12 overall” grade)

And now for the gifs. (And no, I didn’t forget a spider graph, but as is hinted in the above evals, that’s not really McDuffie’s strength, haha).

That being said...”...consistently plays bigger than his size.” Here he is leaving his man to take on the RB out of the backfield and force a fumble.

Here he does a nice job following his man in motion, avoiding traffic in the middle of the field, and then chopping down the WR well short of the marker on a 3rd down play.

How about this play - comes from the opposite of the field, gets shoved by the TE, keeps going and channels his inner Peanut Tillman by punching the ball out.

Sticky coverage that leads to a near-pick (safety drops it). Why aren’t there more clips like this? Turns out teams just opted not to throw against him much during the year because of his coverage & reputation. That will certainly get tested in the NFL, but you can’t ask for too much more at the college level than to have the opposing offense avoid your half of the field...

Finally, do we have a Pick Clip? Yep, here we go. We’ll end with the INT that seals the game against Utah in the waning seconds.

So, overall, I feel like Trent McDuffie is a great choice for the Vikings at 12, and should help solidify their secondary for years to come. Let me know in the poll & comments - YOU VIKE THAT??

Poll

Do you approve of this pick?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Yes
    (300 votes)
  • 27%
    No
    (111 votes)
411 votes total Vote Now

2022 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Jaguars (HellBentOnHurts): DE Aidan Hutchinson
2) Lions (Friendly Neighborhood Philly Fan): DE Travon Walker
3) Texans (herbalonius): OT Evan Neal
4) Jets (RideHighTide): OT Ikem Ekwonu
5) Giants (Brendanekstrom): CB Ahmad Gardner
6) Panthers (Philliesandthebees): QB Kenny Pickett
7) Giants (Dr.MidnightGreen): DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
8) Falcons (Philly21): QB Malik Willis
9) Seahawks (chewy wellington) QB Matt Corral
10) Jets (tfrank9811): S Kyle Hamilton
11) Commanders (Negadelphia Norm): CB Derek Stingley Jr.
12) Vikings (Kephas): CB Trent McDuffie
13) Texans (Bdawk20rules)
14) Ravens (ablesser88)
15) Eagles (Fly Like An Eagle)
16) Saints (20Safety_Hazard)
17) Chargers (LBCeaglesFan!)
18) Eagles (Phoenix X Minimus)
19) Saints (Georgia_eagle)
20) Steelers (EagleDomiNation)
21) Patriots (Domonate)
22) Packers (Leo Bedio)
23) Cardinals (big DUB)
24) Cowboys (joey2arms)
25) Bills (ItownBallers22)
26) Titans (BrianMcE03)
27) Buccaneers (4133Dave)
28) Packers (The Player Formerly Known as Mousecop)
29) Chiefs (GreenGrampa)
30) Chiefs (Legend of Nick Foles)
31) Bengals (Thedeuce9)
32) Lions (Dtechman44)


Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think should be selected next in the 2022 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.

Poll

Who should the Vikings draft at No. 12?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    CB Trent McDuffie
    (105 votes)
  • 8%
    CB Andrew Booth Jr.
    (21 votes)
  • 15%
    DE Jermaine Johnson
    (40 votes)
  • 5%
    DE George Karlaftis
    (15 votes)
  • 4%
    OT Trevor Penning
    (11 votes)
  • 21%
    DT Jordan Davis
    (54 votes)
  • 4%
    OL Tyler Linderbaum
    (11 votes)
257 votes total Vote Now

1) Jaguars: DE Aidan Hutchinson
2) Lions: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
3) Texans: OT Evan Neal
4) Jets: OT Ikem Ekwonu
5) Giants: OT Charles Cross
6) Panthers: QB Malik Willis
7) Giants: CB Ahmad Gardner
8) Falcons: QB Kenny Pickett
9) Seahawks: S Kyle Hamilton
10) Jets: DE Travon Walker
11) Commanders: CB Derek Stingley Jr.
12) Vikings: