Doug Wolter: Do you feel a draft?
People who know anything about me know that I am an NFL draft junkie, a fanatic capable of sitting for three days straight in front of a television set during the annual NFL meat market and moving only for the occasional bathroom break.
This year’s draft, which begins tonight (May 8, 7 p.m., ESPN) is going to be exceptional. Why? For one simple reason: Nobody has a real clue as to what will happen in the first round.
There is no lock-down No. 1 choice. It is generally agreed that there are five, maybe six, game-changers that are going to be available. But nobody knows how or when they will come off the board. As always, there is a great deal of buzz about trades up and trades down, but even barring trades it will be fascinating tonight to know, finally, what these teams really want.
What makes this draft especially volatile, I think, is the quarterback situation. The “top three” are Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, UCF’s Blake Bortles and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. Several teams high in the draft need a quarterback, including the Minnesota Vikings drafting at No. 8. But there are as many opinions about the top quarterbacks as there are general managers in the NFL, meaning QB-poor teams — including the Vikings — might be tempted to take a non-quarterback in the first round that they believe is less risky.
Of course, the wonderful thing about this quarterback conundrum is that the quarterback position is the most important position of them all. If you can get a franchise quarterback, you must take him. And you must take him in the first round. If you think you’re going to get another Tom Brady in the sixth round, you should have your head examined.
The Vikings need a quarterback. They desperately needed one in 2011 when they reached for Christian Ponder for the 12th pick of the first round.
It didn’t take fans long to figure out that Ponder wasn’t the answer. It took the Vikings a little longer to come to this obvious conclusion, but now they know. Tonight, they might be able to get Bortles — a big pocket passer — at No. 8. Not very many weeks ago, several NFL analysts predicted Bortles would go No. 1 overall.
Or the Vikes might go defense. There are disadvantages to making the wrong choice on a QB.
And what’s that?
Job security. Not the quarterback’s. The GM’s.