With the 2013 NFL Draft just around the corner, it’s time to unveil team-by-team projections for the first three rounds before the three-day festivities kick into swing on April 25. Part one of the series begins with the Minnesota Vikings.
First Round (No. 23 Overall): Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Wait, what? Yes, the’re a pretty logical connection between this team and Te’o and isn’t limited to Mel Kiper’s recent statements, as Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was the only GM to attend the Irish’s Pro Day on March 27.
Minnesota has also had plenty of recent success with prospects who have come from the confides of Notre Dame—not only with last year’s No. 31 overall pick Harrison Smith, but also Robert Blanton in the fifth round last April, as well as 2o11 second round tight end Kyle Rudolph and center John Sullivan, who was selected in the sixth round in 2008.
The Vikings opt to bolster their front seven right away on draft day and pull the trigger on another star product out of Notre Dame who comes off a solid display at his Pro Day, confirming he can still excel behind a solid line a 4-3 scheme.
First Round (No. 25 Overall): Keenan Allen, WR, California
Tavon Austin or Cordarrelle Patterson might be more ideal in terms of replacing the explosive element lost in the trade of Percy Harvin, but it’s unlikely that either receiver will still be on the board in the No. 23 or 25 spot.
Though he’s not the quickest or most explosive target in this draft class, Keenan Allen is arguably the most polished prospect at his position and his addition could help QB Christian Ponder and this offense make some serious strides in 2013.
Second Round (No. 52 Overall): John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Minnesota must continue to bolster their front seven with young talent, especially up front in the trenches. John Jenkins fits the bill and is hands down one of the top prospects available after the first half of the second round.
Letroy Guion also struggled last season alongside Kevin Williams, who turns 33-years-old in August. Look for the 6-4, 346-pound defensive tackle to help this defense to defend the run and collapse the pocket with an immediate impact.
Third Round (No. 84 Overall): B.W. Webb, CB, William & Mary
The Vikings not only need to get a new starter to line up opposite Harrison Smith at strong safety, but the team also has to find a replacement for free agent cornerback Antoine Winfield, who turns 36-years-old in June.
B.W. Webb was a team leader for the Tribe of William & Mary since his freshman season in 2009. The versatile and athletic cornerback has exceptional ball skills and a tenacious attitude with ability in the return game to boot.
Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com. He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website. Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter. Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!