Rankings Show Best Draft In 10 Years

Rankings Show Best Draft In 10 Years

Many analysts have given the Vikings a strong grade for their draft last weekend. Why? Well, we've got our predraft numbers to prove why it was such a strong draft.

In the last 10 years that Viking Update staff writer Kevin Brown has been ranking college prospects before the draft, 2003 pulled the highest post-draft grade. Brown quantifies how he arrives at that statement in a pick-by-pick grade analysis.

While sports media around the country were puzzled at how the Vikings could let time run out on their No. 7 overall pick before finally registering it as the ninth pick overall, that error didn't prevent the Vikings from getting their man at that pick. It also didn't deter team personnel officials from following with another very solid six rounds of drafting.

Many analysts have given the Vikings a strong grade for their draft last weekend. Why? Well, we've got our predraft numbers to prove why it was such a strong draft.

FIRST ROUND -- In Kevin Brown's predraft rankings, the highest grade given to a Vikings draft pick in the last 10 years was Randy Moss' 7.5. When the Vikings selected Kevin Williams in the first round, his predraft grade was 6.4, tied with Duane Clemons and Dwayne Rudd for the fourth-best grade in the last 10 years.

But a tie for fourth in the first round isn't what made 2003 such a talent-rich draft for the Vikings. In each of the next rounds in which the Vikings drafted, their selections placed third or higher for that round since 1994.

SECOND ROUND -- Linebacker E.J. Henderson was given a grade of 6.2, best among the Vikings' second-round picks in the last 10 years. The next highest second-rounder for the Vikings was David Palmer in 1994 with a 5.9 grade. In fact, Henderson's predraft grade was higher than former first-rounders Dewayne Washington, Todd Steussie, Michael Bennett and Dimitrius Underwood.

THIRD ROUND -- Wide receiver Nate Burleson got a 5.5 predraft grade from Brown. That put him tied for second with Stalin Colinet and Ramos McDonald for third-round selections in the last 10 years. Only Moe Williams, with a 5.7, had a higher draft grade in the third round.

FOURTH ROUND -- Running back Onterrio Smith grabbed a 5.9 rating from Brown before the draft, putting him at the top of list of Vikings fourth-rounders in the last 10 years. Next on the list were Kivuusama Mays, Hunter Goodwin, Brian Williams, Chad May and Tyrone Carter. Amazingly, Smith's grade was higher than any third-rounder selected by the Vikings since 1994 and would have placed him right behind E.J. Henderson if he were picked in the second round.

FIFTH ROUND -- The Vikings had no pick in the fifth round this year.

SIXTH ROUND -- Brown gave predraft grades of 5.3 to linebacker Mike Nattiel and 5.25 to punter Eddie Johnson, both selected in the sixth round. Nattiel is the highest rated sixth-rounder the Vikings have selected in the last decade, and Johnson's grade ties him with former sixth-rounders Matt Birk and Nick Rogers for second.

SEVENTH ROUND -- Wide receiver Keenan Howry pulled a 5.15 predraft grade from Brown, as did 1998 seventh-rounder Tony Darden. The two tied for the highest seventh-round grades in the last 10 years.

Why was the overall draft such a success? Well, the Vikings appear to have truly drafted the best player available in most instances and not necessarily drafted for need. According to Brown's rankings, it was the best draft in the last 10 years, with the highest per-round grades given to second-rounder Henderson, fourth-rounder Smith, sixth-rounder Nattiel and seventh-rounder Howry. Now that's an impressive two days of work.

GRADE DESCRIPTION ROUND
9.00
8.00
7.00
6.50
6.00
5.90
5.80
5.70
5.60
5.50
5.40
5.30
5.20
5.10
5.00
4.50
4.00
3.00
Once-in-a-lifetime player.
Perennial All-Pro player.
Potential All-Pro as a rookie.
Immediate starter as a rookie (except QB).
1st-round pick; should start by 2004.
Early 2nd-round pick.
2nd-round pick.
2nd-round pick.
3rd round pick.
3rd round pick.
4th-round pick.
5th-round pick.
6th-round pick.
7th-round pick.
Priority free-agent.
Free-agent who could make a team.
Worth bringing to training camp.
Possible camp player.
1
1
1
1
1
2
2
3
3
3
4
5
6
7
FA
FA
FA
FA

 

Year No. Player Predraft Grade
ROUND ONE
1998 21 Randy Moss 7.5
1999 11 Daunte Culpepper 6.7
2002 7 Bryant McKinnie 6.7
2003 9 Kevin Williams 6.4
1996 16 Duane Clemons 6.4
1997 20 Dwayne Rudd 6.4
1995 11 Derrick Alexander 6.2
1995 24 Korey Stringer 6.2
2000 25 Chris Hovan 6.2
1994 18 Dewayne Wahsington 6.0
1994 19 Todd Steussie 6.0
2001 27 Michael Bennett 6.0
1999 29 Dimitrius Underwood 5.6

 

ROUND TWO

Year No. Player Predraft Grade
2003 40 E.J. Henderson 6.2
1994 40 David Palmer 5.9
1995 42 Orlando Thomas 5.8
1994 55 Fernando Smith 5.8
2001 57 Willie Howard 5.8
1999 44 Jim Kleinsasser 5.7
1995 55 Corey Fuller 5.7
2002 38 Raonall Smith 5.6
1997 49 Torrian Gray 5.6
1998 51 Kailee Wong 5.6
1996 45 James Manley 5.5
2000 55 Fred Robbins 5.5
2000 56 Michael Boireau 5.1

 

ROUND THREE

Year No. Player Predraft Grade
1996 75 Moe Williams 5.7
2003 71 Nate Burleson 5.5
1997 78 Stalin Colinet 5.5
1998 80 Ramos McDonald 5.5
2000 88 Doug Chapman 5.45
2001 69 Eric Kelly 5.2
2002 70 Willie Offord 5.1

 

ROUND FOUR

Year No. Player Predraft Grade
2003 105 Onterrio Smith 5.9
1998 110 Kivuusama Mays 5.7
1996 97 Hunter Goodwin 5.55
2002 105 Brian Williams 5.5
1995 111 Chad May 5.5
2000 118 Tyrone Carter 5.5
1994 125 Mike Wells 5.4
2000 106 Antonio Wilson 5.3
1999 120 Kenny Wright 5.25
2001 131 Cedric James 5.2
2002 132 Ed Ta'amu 5.2
1999 125 Jay Humphrey 5.15
2001 130 Shawn Worthen 5.05
1997 113 Antonio Banks 5.0

 

ROUND FIVE

Year No. Player Predraft Grade
1995 157 James Stewart 5.5
1997 151 Tony Williams 5.3
1996 148 Sean Boyd 5.3
1999 169 Chris Jones 5.2
1998 144 Kerry Cooks 5.15
2001 157 Patrick Chukwurah 5.1
2000 165 Troy Walters 5.1
1994 134 Shelly Hammonds 4.9

 

ROUND SIX

Year No. Player Predraft Grade
2003 190 Mike Nattiel 5.3
2003 180 Eddie Johnson 5.25
1998 173 Matt Birk 5.25
2002 177 Nick Rogers 5.25
1997 183 Robert Tate 5.1
1999 185 Talance Sawyer 5.1
2001 189 Carey Scott 5.05
1999 199 Antico Dalton 5.05
1995 189 John Solomon 4.9
1994 179 Andrew Jordan 4.8

 

ROUND SEVEN

Year No. Player Predraft Grade
2003 221 Keenan Howry 5.15
1998 225 Tony Darden 5.15
2002 218 Chad Beasley 5.1
1998 208 Chester Burnett 5.0
1994 211 Pete Bercich 4.9
1995 232 Jose White 4.9
1995 243 Jason Fisk 4.9
2001 225 Brian Crawford 4.85
1997 235 Matthew Hatchette 4.75
2000 248 Lewis Kelly 4.75
1996 223 Jon Merrill 4.6
1999 236 Noel Scarlett 4.0
2000 244 Giles Cole 4.0

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