The NFL Draft is still 92 days away, so mock drafts will continue to change on a weekly basis. But that doesn't mean the early mocks any less exciting, especially when ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay come out with a new version.
In their latest mock drafts released Thursday, Kiper has the Vikings using the No. 8 overall pick on Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles. McShay projects the Vikings will try to improve their defense by choosing Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Bortles threw for more than 3,500 yards with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season while leading Central Florida to a Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor. Mosley is a first-team All-SEC linebacker. The 6-foot-2, 238-pounder led the Crimson Tide with 108 tackles.
Here's what Kiper writes about Bortles.
The Vikings lack any sense of certainty at the QB position. While I think Bortles will have a bit of a learning curve because he needs to gain much greater consistency with his ball placement, he has tremendous physical upside, with a big frame that can really move, which will provide an added dimension to help the offense move the ball as the passing aspect steadily improves. Can Bortles start right away for a team that wants to take a step forward? i think that's a question for the process.
Here's McShay's take on Mosley.
If there's anything that keeps Mosley out of the first half of the first round, my guess is it would be concerns about his durability (he's had significant shoulder, hip and elbow injuries in the past), but it's hard not to fall in love with his performance on tape. He was highly productive at Alabama, and set the tone for that defense with his motor and aggressive play. In addition to his outstanding cover skills, he's very disruptive when turned loose as a pass-rusher. He'd be a good fit in Minnesota as the Vikings' weakside linebacker.
The picks by the ESPN duo fall in line with mock drafts issued earlier this week by USA Today and SB Nation.
With Matt Cassel expected to void the final year of his two-year deal with the Vikings, Christian Ponder will be the only quarterback on the roster, so any quarterback the Vikings possibly take at No. 8 would likely be asked to start right away.