No, it’s not time to launch this year’s Mock Madness, where we select a handful of draft prognosticators to follow on a weekly basis. That will happen once we get into March and the 2013 NFL Draft is fast-approaching. But we are in the offseason, so it is time to pay more attention to this year’s NFL prospects and what the prognosticators are, well, prognosticating.
We got an early jump on this front last month when we pointed out that ESPN’s Todd McShay had already released his first mock draft of the season and projected the Vikings to take DT Sylvester Williams. McShay’s colleague at ESPN, Mel Kiper, Jr., is now officially on the board with his mock draft. Per usual, Kiper disagrees with McShay’s assessment (not surprising, though, at this stage in the process and with the Vikings selecting 23rd). Kiper sees the Vikings addressing the other side of the ball – offense.
Kiper projects Baylor WR Terrance Williams as the Vikings pick at #23 overall. Here’s what Kiper wrote about Williams:
“Last year, we saw both Josh Gordon and Kendall Wright taken out of Baylor, and Williams has the skill set to join them as a player drafted with the potential to make an early impact. Williams is first a player who can use his size and speed to stretch the field and take the top off a defense, but he also can make big plays on the sidelines, where he’ll tiptoe and make the catches as well as any pass-catching target in the draft. Williams also will beat you with the ball in his hands as a nifty runner with good size. Minnesota needs a dependable pass-catcher next to Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph.”
The part of Kiper’s analysis that stood out to me was Williams’ ability to make plays on the sidelines. As I stated earlier this week in providing thoughts about Atlanta’s victory over Seattle, a receiver’s ability to make plays along the boundary does a lot for a QB. If a QB knows his receiver has the ability to pull down a pass along the boundary, that presents more opportunities for big plays because that QB will be more willing to throw that receiver a pass even in coverage.
Williams, who measures in at 6-2, 205 pounds, is a senior who averaged 18.9 yards per catch and had 12 TDs last season, and for his career at Baylor he hauled in 202 catches and 27 TDs while averaging 16.5 yards per reception. He is scheduled to attend the Senior Bowl next week in Mobile, Alabama, and I’m slated to arrive on Monday so he’ll be one of the many players we keep an eye on next week.
Anyway, we might be getting ahead of ourselves. But it’s fun to speculate on the draft, and we’re now officially underway for 2013 draft season.