7. Minnesota - Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
Minnesota seems like one of those old-style teams; they can run the ball and stop the run, but they get a little flustered when it comes to throwing the ball down the field and stopping the pass. Boasting the massive Pat Williams on the inside, their Tomlin-coached run defense was best in the league, and Chad Greenway's development should only help. Their offensive line, bolstered by OG Steve Hutchinson, played reasonably well over the year. TB Chester Taylor ran strong and was paid like it.
But there are clear holes here. Their pass defense, hampered by an inept Fred Smoot and a wheezing pass rush, was abysmal. They had some success with a 3-3-5 alignment, with Ben Leber at the edge, but they can't use that throughout the game. Their passing game, expected to be improved by Andy Reid's right-hand man, was pretty much a disaster. Troy Williamson was a major disappointment, Billy McMullen is a fourth receiver, and Bobby Wade is not a real solution. Marcus Robinson was their most effective wideout, and he was cut. So they desperately need a receiver (or three) for their West Coast offense. But drafting a receiver here doesn't make sense. Ted Ginn has speed, but he's a little too much of a copy of Troy Williamson to make sense here, and no one else should be considered that high. Plus, first round receivers haven't panned out as much as expected the last few years (from David Terrell to Mike Williams). There should be some good options later in the draft- second or third round would be a better place to pick a WR for a better value.
The best pure talent available (depending on your evaluation of Quinn) might be Adrian Peterson. But the Vikes have Taylor, and Peterson has been the type of back who gets injured every year. He's a great back, but he's a pounder with speed, and those style backs don't last too long.
A pass rushing defensive end would look nice here. But the consensus best pass rushers are gone (Gaines Adams is scary) and there's no point in reaching when you've picked a couple first-round DE's already (Udeze and James). This is too high for any of the corners- none are really those shutdown in the mold of Bailey-Woodson-Clements-Samuel.
So for the Vikings, that leaves QB. Last year, Brad Johnson was the disaster that arguably sunk their season. Yes, I know athletic Tavaris Jackson was picked in the 2nd round last year, and hasn't been given a real chance to develop. And maybe Brooks Bolligner will turn out to be a competent NFL QB. But I'm not exactly sure why anyone would think he's anywhere near as good a bet as Quinn, who's worst case scenario is solid and best case is perennial All-Pro. Quinn trained under Charlie Weis, acclaimed as the best QB developer today. He is the prototypical NFL size- 6"4 1/2, 230, very good arm, makes all the throws (except the Russell 65-yarder while sitting; but then again, if he's sitting while throwing it doesn't count for very much in the NFL). He's shown that he knows how to read defenses and run a complex offense, and he's demonstrated the willingness to check down when the defense is playing safe and gamble deep when the the opportunity is there. He's not perfect- he starts out some big games a little inaccurate, and he struggled in Willingham's West Coast offense. But his 24 reps of 225 show much more than his ripped body; they highlight his willingness to devote his life to becoming a great NFL QB. And most importantly, he knows how to play well in the 4th quarter- both rebounding after poor starts and finishing off great ones. When Weis was coach, every game (there were five) that the Irish were within a TD for their last drive, he led them down the field to tie it or take the lead. (They didn't always win, but it's not like he plays linebacker.) How will he adjust to the NFL? How will he survive without his maestro Weis? Is he a good fit for the West Coast offense? I think they're reasonable questions; I just think his odds are much better than Jackson's (or even Carr's)- particularly when he's got a solid defense and good ground game around him. I know some are sick about hearing his name or seeing his picture. But if Minnesota fans want somebody to both manage and lead their offense, then they should hope to hear and see a lot more of Brady Quinn.
On the clock- Atlanta Falcons(Coach Owens)
|1||Oakland Raiders||JaMarcus Russell||QB||LSU|
|2||Detroit Lions||Joe Thomas||OT||Wisconsin|
|3||Cleveland Browns||Calvin Johnson||WR||Georgia Tech|
|4||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Gaines Adams||DE||Clemson|
|5||Arizona Cardinals||Alan Branch||dT||Michigan|
|6||Washington Redskins||Jamaal Anderson||DE||Arkansas|
|7||Minnesota Vikings||Brady Quinn||QB||Notre Dame|