NFL Draft report card: What experts think of the Vikings' 1st round


Wheeling and dealing once again landed the Minnesota Vikings multiple first round picks in Thursday night's NFL Draft. First, the Vikings grabbed UCLA outside linebacker/edge rusher Anthony Barr at No. 9 after a one-slot swap with Cleveland. Minnesota then gave a second- and fourth-round pick to Seattle in exchange for the final pick of the opening round, where they took Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

What did the experts think? We've compiled grades and impressions from around the Web for you to chew on.

Full 1st Round
1. Houston: Jadeveon Clowney – DE, South Carolina
2. St. Louis (via WAS): Greg Robinson – T, Auburn
3. Jacksonville: Blake Bortles – QB, Central Florida
4. Buffalo (via CLE): Sammy Watkins – WR, Clemson
5. Oakland: Khalil Mack – LB, Buffalo
6. Atlanta: Jake Matthews – T, Texas A&M
7. Tampa Bay: Mike Evans – WR, Texas A&M
8. Cleveland (via MIN): Justin Gilbert – CB, OK State
9. Minnesota (via CLE, BUF): Barr – OLB, UCLA
10. Detroit: Eric Ebron – TE, North Carolina
11. Tennessee: Taylor Lewan – T, Michigan
12. NY Giants: Odell Beckham Jr – WR, LSU
13. St. Louis: Aaron Donald – DT, Pittsburgh
14. Chicago: Kyle Fuller – CB, Virginia Tech
15. Pittsburgh: Ryan Shazier – LB, Ohio State
16. Dallas: Zach Martin – T, Notre Dame
17. Baltimore: CJ Mosley – LB, Alabama
18. NY Jets: Calvin Pryor – S, Louisville
19. Miami: Ja'Wuan James – T, Tennessee
20. NO (via ARI): Brandin Cooks – WR, Oregon State
21. Green Bay: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – S, Alabama
22. Cleveland (via PHI): Manziel – QB, Texas A&M
23. Kansas City: Dee Ford – OLB, Auburn
24. Cincinnati: Darqueze Dennard – CB, Mich. St.
25. San Diego: Jason Verrett – CB, TCU
26. Phil. (via CLE, IND): Marcus Smith – LB, L'ville
27. Arizona (via NO): Deone Bucannon – S, Wash. St.
28. Carolina: Kelvin Benjamin – WR, Florida State
29. New England: Dominique Easley – DT, Florida
30. San Francisco: Jimmie Ward – S, Northern Illinois
31. Denver: Bradley Roby – CB, Ohio State
32. Minnesota (via SEA): Bridgewater – QB, L'ville

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: Prisco went with letter grades, giving the Barr selection a flat B and Bridgewater a B-. "I like this pick for a team that needed to get faster at linebacker," Prisco writes of the pass rusher. "He will amp up the blitz package." As for Bridgewater, Prisco says he likes the Vikings' move to trade up, as it "makes sense when you don't have a quarterback."

ESPN: No grades here, just a thumbs up or down. The Vikings get a thumbs up from beat writer Ben Goessling. He says Barr is a "big, athletic linebacker for Mike Zimmer's defense." As for Bridgewater, he says the Vikings' concerns following his bad pro day apparently "were alleviated in a private workout."

NFL.com: No grades here, just different tiers. The Vikings landed in the highest possible tier, the "Passed with Flying Colors" category. "The Vikings could have gone a number of directions, but they shored up both sides of the ball in the best way possible," the site says. It calls Barr a "perfect Jared Allen replacement," and says Bridgewater is a "polished passer" Norv Turner will like. The Texans, Rams, Raiders, Browns, Ravens and Packers also "Pass with Flying Colors."

Sports Illustrated: Chris Burke grades the Vikings' first pick, dishing out a B+ for the Barr selection. Burke calls it a "slightly surprising" pick, but says the grade could change it the former Bruin "develops from something of a one-trick pony rusher to a complete player." Doug Farrar loves the Bridgewater pick, giving it an A+. He says kudos to the Vikings for not allowing Bridgewater's poor pro day to cloud their judgment too much, adding that while he's not a perfect quarterback, "when it comes to combining innate skills and developmental potential in an NFL view, it’s hard for me to put anyone above Bridgewater at the position. He already has a lot on the ball, and with time and patience, he could be the kind of quarterback that defines a franchise."

Walter Football: The site gives the Vikings a B for both the Barr and Bridgewater picks. The writer calls Barr a "decent" selection as the top pass-rusher available, and says Zimmer will use the young rusher similar to how Denver uses Von Miller. He's less bullish on Bridgewater, calling it "solid," but reminding people almost every team passed on him. Bridgewater doesn't have any great traits or obvious negatives, which means he'll be an average starter at best. But adds: "'average starter at best' is a big upgrade over what the Vikings have had at quarterback since Brett Favre."

YAHOO! Sports: No grades are given, but capsules for each pick are provided. The analysis says Barr and Everson Griffen could make a solid pass-rushing duo, and that "Barr might be raw and in need of positional instincts, but he is too gifted to let slide." The site then calls Bridgewater a "fantastic consolation prize" after missing out on Johnny Manziel, as he "has the intangibles and ability to be a star in Minnesota."

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