Toby Gerhart

2010 Draft Grades: Vikings

I usually like when teams move back and accumulate picks, but I think the Vikings may have outsmarted themselves. Rumor has it they wanted Patrick Robinson, and liked their odds of getting him in the early 2nd round. I won’t penalize them in my grade, because we can’t know for certain, but it’s worth mentioning.

Since Patrick Robinson was off the board, the opted for Chris Cook. I like Cook, but it was a huge reach to take him in the early 2nd. That said, I understand the Vikings decision. Assuming Brett Favre returns, they’re going to do everything they can to win it all next year. They needed to add depth at cornerback and Cook filled that hole.

I love the selection of Toby Gerhart. Some have criticized this pick because he doesn’t have the athleticism to fill Chester Taylor’s role in the offense. But I like the selection because he’s better suited to take of the workload off Adrian Peterson’s shoulders. The combo of Gerhart and Peterson will allow the Vikings to wear down opposing defenses and will be an especially frightening duo when they’re running out the clock.

Everson Griffen was a steal in the 4th round. I was shocked to see him fall that far, despite injury concerns. If he gets back to 100 percent he more than live up to expectations. He’s also a great fit for their defense. He’s similar to Ray Edwards and will be a nice addition to their rotation as a rookie.

They reached for Chris DeGeare in the 5th round. His ability to play both right tackle and guard made him an attractive option, but his upside is limited. A number of linemen, such as Marshall Newhouse, were still on the board and would have been better fits.

Nathan Triplett was also a reach. They did need depth at linebacker, but players such as Greg Hardy and Dekota Watson were still on the board and are much better fits in Minnesota than Triplett.

Joe Webb is an elite athlete and a great 6th round pick. He played quarterback at UAB, but he has the size and speed to play receiver in the NFL. He likely won’t see much playing time early on, which will serve him well as he sits and learns the position.

Mickey Shuler will compete for a backup tight end job behind Visanthe Shiancoe and Jim Kleinsasser.

Ryan D’Imperio has limited upside but could contribute on special teams. He’s nothing special, but there wasn’t much left on the board in the late 7th round.

I have mixed feelings about this draft. Their first pick was very short sighted, but for good reasons. Gerhart will serve as a nice complimentary piece and Griffen could be a steal. However, they failed to add much on the third day of the draft. They seemed to reach for a number of players and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of their picks fail to make the roster, even as rookies. This was a very solid draft, but it certainly isn’t anything special.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Vikings Comments Off

Addressing the Seahawks RB situation

In March 2008 the Seahawks signed former Cowboys running back Julius Jones to a a four-year $11.8M contract. It seemed like an excessive contract for a running back who’s production had fallen steadily since an impressive rookie year in 2004.

Now two years later the Seahawks are left with a tough decision, but it doesn’t involve Jones. Despite Jim Mora’s inexplicable allegiance to Jones last season, when he finally went down with an injury Justin Forsett stepped up in a big way.

Seattle Seahawks v St. Louis RamsForsett is undersized (5’9″, 190 lbs) but is as explosive as any running back in the league. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season, which ranked him 4th in the league among players with at least 100 carries.

But he isn’t just a change-of-pace back. Forsett averaged 3.2 yards after contact per attempt. Compare that to a similar running back in terms of stature, Reggie Bush, who averaged just 2.1. He may be small, but he’s well built and could handle an increased workload in 2010. The combo of Forsett and Jones (with the roles reversed from last year) could prove to be a formidable duo.

The Seahawks new regime is playing their cards close to the vest so far this offseason, but its possible they aren’t sold on either Forsett or Jones. Many mock drafts have predicted they may target C.J. Spiller in the 1st round, but he doesn’t look like a good fit in Seattle.

Assuming the Seahawks don’t plan on trading Forsett, its tough to imagine Spiller and Forsett in the same backfield. They have a similar skill set and are both undersized. It would leave the Seahawks with two home run threats, but no one to pick up the tough yards.

If the Seahawks are set on taking a running back in the 1st round Jonathan Dwyer should be the pick. Unlike Spiller he’s a powerful downhill runner – the perfect compliment to Forsett.

Considering the Seahawks other glaring needs (offensive tackle, safety, receiver, etc), the smart move may actually be to wait for the 2nd or 3rd round. Ryan Mathews could be available in the 2nd round, while Toby Gerhart or Montario Hardesy could be options in the 3rd. All three have the ability to serve as the “thunder” to Forsett’s “lightening” without forcing the Seahawks to reach on a running back who will be forced to split carries with Forsett and possibly Jones as well.

(polls)

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Seahawks Comments Off

Clinton Portis Returning to Washington?

redskinsIn an interview on ESPN’s First Take this morning Clinton Portis opened up about his “rough” 2009 season, and seemed to indicate that he expects to return to Washington in 2010. (see transcript here)

Given his injury-plagued and generally unproductive season, it would seem unlikely that Portis’ prophecy comes true. Oh, and then there’s the $6.34M he’s owed in 2010.

In reality, Mike Shanahan just isn’t going to keep the washed up running back who’s work ethic he has criticized and who he once traded away while in Denver. The more likely scenario will be for Shanahan to add a running back somewhere between the 2nd and 4th rounds of the draft.

ACC Championship  - Clemson v Georgia TechIn our latest mock draft we have the ‘Skins selecting Georgia Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer in the 2nd round.

Dwyer’s the type of downhill runner that Shanahan covets. His style is similar to former Broncos running backs Terrell Davis, Reuben Droughns, Selvin Young and even comparable to Portis. Other options in the 2nd or 3rd round may be Tennessee’s Montario Hardesty, Auburn’s Ben Tate, Mississippi State’s Anthony Dixon or Stanford’s Toby Gerhart.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Broncos 1 Comment