They’re always the biggest focus in every draft. Generational talents can get ignored because teams are too locked into finding a signal caller. It’s already happening now, with former New York Jets general manager and current ESPN talking head Mike Tannenbaum mocking Hendon Hooker to be taken at the number five spot. Yes, you read that right, the fifth overall pick. The Minnesota Vikings have way too many holes to fill and way too few picks to fill them to allow for a project that may not pan out. We still have Kirk Cousins for one more year, so there’s still time in the future to construct a plan. So, what attributes are making me so anti-quarterback for this draft?
With such abysmal draft capital, there’s almost no possibility to draft up for truly top-tier quarterbacks. C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, and maybe even Anthony Richardson (if a team reaches on him) will be completely unavailable by the time we’re in range to trade up or select with our original pick. Plus, if we were to carpet-bomb our 2023 draft class to select one of those QB’s, they would sit behind Kirk for a full year, which would be quite the odd move with how much it would cost. Minnesota teams also don’t need any more reason to be badgered by media outlets, and there’s nothing that pulls more speculation than benching a top two quarterback for the most highly ridiculed QB in recent history. Maybe one can slide to our spot at pick 23?
Interesting, I’ll Pass.
Hendon Hooker, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson are on this level, and it’s an interpretive one. While those three do have a chance to be available at 23, they all come with extreme caveats. Hooker and Richardson have adjacent criticisms, along the lines of “low ceilings, dreadfully low floors.” Even though pre-draft judgements are often rickety-at-best, using a late first on one of them in Minnesota’s position seems less than ideal. Will Levis is on my personal tier of “if the VIkings drafted them, I’d become a Detroit Lions fan” that houses only himself and Trey Lance. He wasn’t anything specifically intriguing to me entering the combine, and now he’s been completely “bombing interviews.” According to Chad Forbes, Levis’ interviews have been full of “arrogance, entitlement. Plus…just bizarre.” With this report, Levis may slip down to Day Two. So, all of these options are too expensive or risky. Is there any possible option in drafting a quarterback that wouldn’t make me immediately nauseous?
Panning in Muck for Gold
My preferred method of preparing for a future quarterback is a late-round pick with upside. These have a bit more flexibility than the previous categories, ranging from the fourth to the seventh round. At the higher end, a name that I’ve seen tossed around is Dorian Thompson-Robinson. In his last season at UCLA, DTR put up career highs in almost every major statistic. He also showed his ability as a rusher, running for over 600 yards. On the lower end is Malik Cunningham, coming out of Louisville. He’s at most going late in the sixth, more than likely in the seventh or undrafted. He took a sizable step back last season, but in 2021 he threw for almost 3,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards. The biggest issue with these quarterbacks is probably age (DTR is 23, Cunningham is 24) and talent level. While UCLA and Louisville are still top-tier schools, they aren’t exactly powerhouses right now, which could scare some teams away. While these prospects have a lower chance of panning out, they fit into the situation the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in today.