NFL Network analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis participated in a media conference call Thursday afternoon to field a number of pre-draft questions from reporters across the league.
In their latest mock drafts, both Jeremiah and Davis have the Vikings selecting a wide receiver with the 23rd overall pick. Jeremiah is predicting TCU's Josh Doctson to Minnesota, while Davis has most recently forecasted Mississippi's Laquon Treadwell.
While Jeremiah and Davis did not specifically address the Vikings during the call, they did touch on Minnesota's NFC North division rival teams in a number of scenarios.
Green Bay Packers, 27th overall pick
After the Packers signed tight end Jared Cook earlier this week, analysts now expect Green Bay to address needs on the defensive side of the ball through the draft. Jeremiah and Davis predicted the Packers going after linebackers Darron Lee and Reggie Ragland, respectively.
"I think that Ragland has a better chance of being there [at No. 27] than Lee," Davis said. "Just because of the way the game's played and [Lee's] ability to run, I think that's going to be valued a little bit more."
Another option Green Bay could consider is converting a safety-linebacker hybrid into a full-time coverage linebacker.
Jeremiah tabbed Miles Killebrew as a potential target for the Packers, although not necessarily in the first round. Although Killebrew was listed as a safety at Southern Utah, Jeremiah feels he would be a good coverage linebacker for Green Bay.
Davis agreed, adding:
"As one scout said to me, [Killebrew] may be the most confident tackler that he's watched in this draft. He fits in there, and it doesn't matter who's coming or what's coming, this guy fits in there and makes a play, makes a tackle, and usually with a pretty good thump and oomph to it."
Davis also identified Jeremy Cash (listed as safety) and Su'a Cravens (listed as linebacker) as potentially similar options for Green Bay's needs.
"It's not the size that we grew up watching," Davis said. "But those guys can run, they're range-y, they have experience in covering people, and they have played some linebacker in college so they're used to tackling, as well. I think those [types of] guys fit pretty well."
Detroit Lions, 16th overall pick
Jeremiah was asked specifically about Lee versus Ragland as linebacker options for Detroit with the 16th pick, and he said they're ranked next to each other (11 and 12) on his top-50 list of prospects.
According to Jeremiah, Lee demonstrates more speed and athleticism and will be a dynamic blitzer that can run with tight ends.
"Just the range that he has laterally is pretty much off the charts," Jeremiah said of Lee. "But he doesn't have the same take-on ability that Ragland does – you'll see him flash it on occasion, but then he'll get completely swallowed up, and you don't see that happen to Reggie Ragland. [With] Lee, you don't get quite that thump, but you get a little more athleticism. In today's league […] I end up putting him a little bit ahead of Ragland just because of that athleticism and what he can give you in the passing game."
Although Davis most recently predicted Detroit drafting tackle Jack Conklin, he said Thursday that defensive end Kevin Dodd – whom he currently has going 10th overall – would be a good fit for the Lions if he managed to drop that far down the board.
"That athletic ability he has to go get the passer is one of the reasons we're talking about Dodd being in the first round," Davis said.
Davis compared Dodd to current Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah and said the two would make a great pair on the defensive line.
"In the national title game, he had 3.0 sacks and five tackles for loss. I don't remember him getting blocked a heck of a lot – he wreaked some havoc throughout that game," Davis said of Dodd. "Do you decide maybe he […] could fit on the other side, and then you've got two guys launching themselves at quarterbacks and helping out."
Chicago Bears, 11th overall pick
Most analysts have designed their mock drafts with quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Jared Goff going in the top eight selections. Jeremiah's most recent predictions, however, saw Goff slide all the way to No. 15, which prompted a question about the Bears taking a quarterback at No. 11 to develop behind current quarterback Jay Cutler.
"I do these mock drafts, and to me it's an exercise in scenarios – if 'this' happens, what is the aftereffect there?" Jeremiah explained. "In the most recent one I did, Goff was kind of sliding. I just thought, with his kind of slighter frame, and with the weather he'd be in in Chicago, I just didn't know if that would be a great fit for him."
Jeremiah said in the unlikely chance that Wentz fell that far, his build and North Dakota background would make him a better fit for Chicago, noting games Wentz played that weren't in the FARGODOME.
Jeremiah's current mock draft predicts the Bears taking outside linebacker Leonard Floyd out of Georgia, citing his speed and athleticism.
"He has the potential to be a big-time pass rusher," Jeremiah said. "I thought he was out of position when they played him at inside linebacker last year – I don't think that's what he is. But he's somebody, if they could work with him there, they could have a nice payoff."
Jeremiah said predictions are a little more difficult for teams picking outside of the top 10, which is true of all four NFC North teams this year.
"The tricky thing for me in this draft is that there's those 8-10 guys that you feel great about," Jeremiah said. "Then [if you're] kind of just outside that range, you're probably going to have to rely a little bit on faith and on your coaching staff and developing some of these players."