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Monday Morning Mailbag: Draft Review Edition

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I have learned not to second guess Rick Spielman, who has built a hell of a team. But I'm going to second guess him on this one. Why would we pass on Will Hernandez, a stud offensive lineman, when we have so many holes in that position group? -- Steve Crescenzo

An offensive lineman at No. 30 would've made sense, but Mike Hughes was the highest-rated player on the Vikings board when they were on the clock, so they took him. Hughes projects to be not only a cornerback, but also a potential returner and possibly a contributor in other special teams phases, too. He could compete along the inside with Mackensie Alexander or he could train outside behind Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. Or he could train in both spots. There's a lot to like about Hughes and the Vikings were ecstatic he was still on the board at No. 30.

Bleacher Report gave us a B. Seems everyone is high on Mike Hughes. I'm still waiting on your overall grade. I know you don't hold back on your view. -- Chris Kulak

Oh come on, Chris! You've been writing in and talking football with me long enough to know that I am not going to be grading any team's picks. I don't understand how you would possibly assess teams' draft classes because these guys haven't played yet. We're talking about 20-year old kids joining teams that are comprised of fully-grown adults who've already proven themselves on NFL rosters. If you think your team's prospects for 2018 hinge on draft picks, your team is already out of the race.

Did we pick from need first, best available player or a combination of both? I would have loved to have picked the stud guard, Hernandez, with our first pick as a need, but the cornerback (Hughes) could bolster an already strong secondary. -- Nicholas Balkou

It's all about picking the best player. When a bunch of players have the same grade at the top of your board, then you can use need as a way to prioritize/break ties. But let's not act like cornerback wasn't a need for the Vikings. Beyond Rhodes and Waynes, is there anyone on the roster right now who has proven they can be on the field for 40 snaps a game? Teams are using three cornerbacks on most snaps now, plus coach Zimmer said during a press conferences that he would consider a sub package that consisted of four cornerbacks and one safety.

I like our draft. We got athletic football players. I like the pick of Brian O'Neill from Pittsburgh. He is an athlete…4.8 in the 40-yard dash. It may take some coaching, but he will be good. Your thoughts? -- Gerald Goblirsch

I'm not buying the narrative that O'Neill can't be a starter in 2018. If you someone wants to run with that, go ahead. But why write someone off already? All of these picks need some coaching. There wasn't one player taken in this year's draft who is a finished project and doesn't need coaching. Yes, O'Neill needs to develop under the guidance of offensive line coach Tony Sparano, but he has the traits this offensive staff is looking for in offensive linemen and I don't think the Vikings would've taken him as early as they did if they didn't think he could develop into a starter.

With John DeFilippo coming from Philly do you think he will want to utilize O'Neill in some creative or different ways? Considering O'Neill entered college as a tight end, do you think he could be used as a tight end as well as an offensive lineman? -- Nate Atkins Minneapolis, MN

I'm never going to rule anything out with DeFilippo. But seeing O'Neill line up in any kind of tight end drills this year would be an absolute stunner to me. This kid has a high ceiling and could really be a good player for the Vikings, but in order to do that he's going to need to be right near coach Sparano at all times. Now, once he's gotten his feet wet and he knows his way around the offense, he could be considered for some wrinkles here and there given his background. But we're a ways away from that right now.

I really like that the Vikings drafted Mike Hughes. Not everyone is going to like it and some will say we should've taken an offensive guard. But with our upcoming schedule with these Hall of Fame QBs, Super Bowl-winning QBs and QBs on the rise, you can't go wrong with defense, especially with drafting a defensive tackle and a defensive end on Saturday. -- Brandon Peterson Spicer, MN

The Vikings took some Day 3 defensive players who bring a lot of potential to the table. There's an old saying in the coaching ranks that goes something like "You're potential is going to get me fired one day" but you get my drift. Once you get to the third day of the draft, the perfect prospects are all gone and you need to find players who have a trait or combination of traits that are special and that give them a chance to overcome their deficiencies.

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