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2016 NFL mock draft: Minnesota Vikings land the versatile Su'a Cravens

In the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft, Minnesota gets a player who could find success at multiple positions.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the first round of the 10th annual SB Nation NFL writers mock draft, Christopher Gates of Daily Norseman gave the Minnesota Vikings a big impact wide receiver in Josh Doctson of TCU. Doctson fills the team's biggest need on offense. Now it's time to attack the defense.

54. Vikings: Su'a Cravens, S/LB, Southern California

Gates: After addressing the wide receiver position earlier in the draft, we turn our attention back to getting another toy for Mike Zimmer to play with on defense. The Vikings need someone to pair with Harrison Smith at the safety position. They could also use someone who could take over for Chad Greenway at the weakside linebacker position and work with incumbents Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. At this spot in the draft, we have the opportunity to take a guy who could potentially fill either of those spots.

Cravens is one of those players that, at first glance, does not appear to have a solid position at the NFL level. Is he a linebacker? Is he a safety? I don’t know myself, but I do know that he can be a playmaker at either position. He looks to be a player in the mold of a Deone Bucannon or a Mark Barron who can shift back and forth between the two. Cravens can play the run, cover tight ends, rush the quarterback as a blitzer ... basically, he could offer any defense a great deal of flexibility. If anyone would be able to get the most out of a player like Cravens, it would be Zimmer. The Vikings’ defense is already solid and adding a player like Cravens would just allow them to do a few more things and make the defense as a whole that much better.

Analysis: For Cravens to be successful in the NFL, he has to go to a team that is willing to be creative in his usage. Zimmer can be that coach. Ideally Cravens will play that Bucannon role. He's not the same type of hitter as Bucannon, but he moves around the field just as well. Cravens was used a little too much near the line of scrimmage at USC last season, but in the past he's shown the ability to cover in man and track down the run.

Dan's Top 5 players remaining

  • 40. Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
  • 41. Joshua Perry, OLB, Ohio State
  • 42. Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
  • 43. Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
  • 46. Le'Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech

Vikings picks

  • 1-23: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
  • 2-54: Su'a Cravens, LB/S, Southern California

On Wednesday we inch closer to the thrilling conclusion to the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft. Starting at 9 a.m. ET we have a pick coming from Cincy Jungle and the Bengals.


Complete draft results:

First round

1. Tennessee Titans - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (Link)
2. Cleveland Browns - Jared Goff, QB, Cal (Link)
3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State (Link)
4. Dallas Cowboys - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State (Link)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (Link)
6. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Link)
7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon (Link)
8. Philadelphia Eagles - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Link)
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (Link)
10. New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame (Link)
11. Chicago Bears - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida (Link)
12. New Orleans Saints - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (Link)
13. Miami Dolphins - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State (Link)
14. Oakland Raiders - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Link)
15. Los Angeles Rams - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson (Link)
16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State (Link)
17. Atlanta Falcons - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson (Link)
18. Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama (Link)
19. Buffalo Bills - Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama (Link)
20. New York Jets - Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State (Link)
21. Washington - Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor (Link)
22. Houston Texans - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (Link)
23. Minnesota Vikings - Josh Doctson, WR, TCU (Link)
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss (Link)
25. Pittsburgh Steelers - William Jackson, CB, Houston (Link)
26. Seattle Seahawks - Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida (Link)
27. Green Bay Packers - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama (Link)
28. Kansas City Chiefs - Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech (Link)
29. Arizona Cardinals - Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss (Link)
30. Carolina Panthers - Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson (Link)
31. Denver Broncos - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (Link)

Second round

32. Cleveland Browns - Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (Link)
33. Tennessee Titans - Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State (Link)
34. Dallas Cowboys - Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville (Link)
35. San Diego Chargers- Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State (Link)
36. Baltimore Ravens - Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (Link)
37. San Francisco 49ers - Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana (Link)
38. Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia (Link)
39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State (Link)
40. New York Giants - Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia (Link)
41. Chicago Bears - Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (Link)
42. Miami Dolphins - Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame (Link)
43. Los Angeles Rams - Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State (Link)
44. Oakland Raiders - Darian Thompson, S, Boise State (Link)
45. Los Angeles Rams - Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State (Link)
46. Detroit Lions - Jeremy Cash, S, Duke (Link)
47. New Orleans Saints - Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford (Link)
48. Indianapolis Colts - Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State (Link)
49. Buffalo Bills - Kamalei Correa, DE/OLB, Boise State (Link)
50. Atlanta Falcons - Keanu Neal, S, Florida (Link)
51. New York Jets - Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn (Link)
52. Houston Texans - Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
53. Washington - Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame