When the 2017 NFL draft kicks off in Philadelphia, the Minnesota Vikings will not hold a first round pick. The team traded what became the 14th overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Quarterback Sam Bradford, who had a career year with the Vikings, despite the team’s disappointing 8-8 record. As the draft has drawn closer, fans and pundits have been predicting how the Vikings will use their first pick. However, both recent team trends and NFL history suggest the Vikings would be better off trading up or down.
The Minnesota Vikings Should Trade Out of the 48th Pick
History of the Pick
50 players have been drafted with the 16th pick in the second round since 1966. With the exceptions of 2015 and 2008, it has been the 48th overall pick since 2002. Last year wide receiver Michael Thomas was selected with the 47th overall pick by the New Orleans Saints. The year before, linebacker Denzel Perryman was drafted by then-San Diego Chargers. Perhaps the most well known name drafted in this spot is current Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who was drafted in 1984 by the Chicago Bears. The most popular position group drafted in this spot has been defensive back.
The Vikings have held the pick three times before, drafting linebacker Ray Berry in 1987, linebacker Dontarrious Thomas in 2004, and cornerback Cedric Griffin in 2006. None of them were named the All Pro or Pro Bowl teams, although all three played out their rookie contracts.
Since 1966 only six players drafted in this spot have been selected to a Pro Bowl. Only two were named to two Pro Bowls. Running Back Le’Veon Bell (arguable the best pick ever at this spot) and wide receiver Webster Slaughter were both named to two Pro Bowls. Bell and defensive back Samari Rolle (who made the Pro Bowl once) are the lone All Pros. Tight end Ken Dilger, wide receiver Gerald McNeil, and linebacker Jim Youngblood are the other players drafted with the 16th pick in the second round who made a Pro Bowl. With eight total Pro Bowls in 50 years, there is a 16% chance of a player drafted at this spot to make the Pro Bowl.
The Pro Bowl may not be the truest measure of a player’s success, being in the Hall of Fame is. No player drafted with the 16th pick in the 2nd round is enshrined in Canton.
Recent Vikings Draft History
Vikings fans will agree that general manager Rick Spielman has a talent for amassing sheer numbers of draft picks. Since 2012 when he took full control of the front office, Spielman and the Vikings have made 47 draft picks. Only the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers have made more picks.
Spielman has drafted 6 Pro Bowlers in 47 tries since 2012. That is a slightly better clip than the 16th pick in the 2nd round has had. However, the of those players (wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, linebacker Anthony Barr, and free safety Harrison Smith) have been named to two Pro Bowls a piece, giving Spielman and Company a 21.3% rate of drafting Pro Bowlers.
There is a 5% difference in the rate of drafting Pro Bowlers and the complete lack of Hall of Fame players drafted with the 16th pick in the Second Round. Additionally, Spielman tends to trade up into the first round or down to amass as many picks as possible. It is appears the most logical course would be for Minnesota to attempt to trade out of the 48th pick.
The team has several needs, including linebacker, running back, offensive line, and nickel back. The only reason to stand pat would be if player too good to pass up falls to them.
The Vikings currently hold eight picks in the draft. They may be wise to make sure the 48th pick is not among them.