Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said it didn’t matter that Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel was still on the board when they had the 9th overall selection because they were eyeing someone who could help on the other side of the ball.
“We knew we wanted Anthony Barr; that was the guy that we were kind of honed in on,” Spielman told The Jim Rome Show. “With us losing some of our older players that were our star players here, we needed to make sure we were going to be able to rush the passer especially in this division with the type of quarterbacks that we face. So going in, we knew right off the bat, from a strategic standpoint we were going to go defense and Anthony Barr was our guy at that pick.”
The Vikings general manager also talked about trading back into the first round to select Teddy Bridgewater. Spielman shared his thoughts on why the former Louisville quarterback may have fallen to the 32nd overall pick, when some originally viewed him as the possible 1st overall pick in the draft.
“I think everybody put so much hype into that pro day workout and then everybody starts picking these kids apart and we do the same thing,” said Spielman. “But you always have to go back to what he has done in college and what did you see in tape and what did you see when you watched him play live. I had the opportunity to see him play live three times over the last two years and every time I got an opportunity to see him play in clutch situations, he seemed to have that ‘it’ factor to him.”
Another criticism of Bridgewater was some evaluators don’t believe the quarterback has the demeanor for being the face of the franchise. Spielman does not buy that.
“He may come across as not that fiery type guy,” said Spielman. “But I know what I saw and I know what we saw in the workout. I know what I saw when he interacted with his teammates when I watched him play live and I know what type of competitor I saw when he was in games.”