EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Assessments of draft picks begin within seconds of their announcement.
In the case of first rounders, a yea or nay is often offered before the selection strolls across the stage for a hug with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. By the end of the three-day selection process, opinions have mounted and some have been expanded to rate the entire class.
The ultimate success of a player or class won't be determined until stacked against the test of time, but below is an assortment of marks given to the Vikings, who selected 10 players, in their 55th annual NFL Draft.
Day 1 — Round 1, 11th overall:Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Day 2 — Round 2, 45th overall: Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA; Round 3, 76th overall: Danielle Hunter, DE, LSU
Day 3 — Round 4, 110th overall: T.J. Clemmings, OL, Pittsburgh; Round 5, 143rd overall: MyCole Pruitt, TE, Southern Illinois; Round 5, 146th overall:Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland; Round 6, 185th overall: Tyrus Thompson, OL, Oklahoma; Round 6, 193rd overall:B.J. Dubose, DE, Louisville; Round 7, 228th overall: Austin Shepherd, OL, Alabama; Round 7, 232nd overall: Edmond Robinson, LB, Newberry
The Vikings landed NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock's top-rated cornerback in Waynes, Mayock's second-rated linebacker in Kendricks and fifth-rated tackle in Clemmings (albeit in the fourth round) in his final pre-draft rankings.
Bryan Fischer, of College Football 24/7, graded all three days of the draft separately and overall for NFL.com, issuing the following:
Day 1 grade: B
Day 2 grade: A-
Day 3 grade: B
Overall grade: B
Fischer wrote "there are question marks about Waynes in off-coverage, but he has the ability to be a top-tier cornerback" and said Minnesota is a "perfect spot" for Kendricks, who will enjoy a reunion with former UCLA teammate and 2014 first-round pick Anthony Barr. Fischer concluded: "The defense was certainly improved, but the Vikings might not have done enough to help out (QB Teddy) Bridgewater if the offensive linemen don't pan out."
Mel Kiper, Jr. of ESPN.com issued an overall grade of "B," which he says is "pretty good." For reference, Kiper's "A" is "exceptional" and his "C" is "average with hits and question marks." Kiper said he had Waynes at 22 overall on his final "Big Board" and called Kendricks "one of the best picks in Round 2," saying he can "really run sideline to sideline and is the best cover linebacker in the draft. He doesn't just cover — he actually makes plays."
Kiper called Diggs "a good addition late" and said Pruitt and Thompson "have the potential to stick."
Todd McShay, of ESPN.com, listed Kendricks as his favorite pick by the Vikings in a "really strong draft" by Minnesota.
"Trae Waynes was my top-ranked corner prospect, and fourth-round OT T.J. Clemmings and fifth-round WR Stefon Diggs are outstanding value picks with big upside," McShay wrote. "My choice here is Kendricks, however, as he fills a need for the Vikings. He is the best cover linebacker in this class, and while his size-strength combo isn't ideal for the linebacker position, he makes up for it with his recognition skills, instincts and playmaking ability."
Dane Brugler wrote for NFLDraftScout.com that the Vikings got the "best defender on the board" with each of their first three picks. Brugler wrote that Hunter is "young and raw, but good value in the third round to groom."
Rob Rang, of CBSSports.com issued an A-minus grade for the Vikings, which was the highest mark he rewarded in the NFC North.
Rang praised Waynes' "agility, speed and ball skills" and said his addition in combination with 2013 first rounder Xavier Rhodes will give Minnesota the "best 1-2 punch at cornerback in a division full of frightening passing attacks." Rang said Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's track record for developing defenders will give Waynes, Kendricks and Hunter a chance to "pay big dividends in Minnesota soon."
Bucky Brooks, NFL Media analyst, wrote that Waynes, Kendricks and Hunter "are some of the most explosive athletes at their respective positions." He added that Diggs is a "sneaky athlete."
Nate Davis, of USA Today, opted for numbers instead of letters but placed Minnesota's class third overall, behind the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars.