An interesting aspect of the NFL draft each year are players that receive the term “red flag.” It could be as simple as not having a love for the game, or as bad as serious legal trouble. But when the term “red flag” hits, it has the ability to send draft stock falling fast.
In recent drafts, the NFL has seen players such as Johnny Manziel, Laremy Tunsil, Jameis Winston, Marcus Peters and La’el Collins get the red flag treatment. Just last season, the Vikings drafted Dalvin Cook, who had his share of off-field issues. However, by all reports, Cook has been great for the Vikings and has gotten past said issues. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some prospects the Vikings could target in the draft who have similar question marks.
Holton Hill, CB, Texas
Hill started to make a name for himself during his junior season. At 6-foot-3, he has tremendous size for a cornerback. He plays with tremendous strength and can jam bigger receivers. Hill also showed the ability to make a play on the ball and athleticism to return interceptions for touchdowns. He has been at his best when guarding star receivers. He held James Washington of Oklahoma State to only 32 receiving yards.
However, the issue with Hill stems from maturity. He was suspended from Texas for a failure to comply with team rules and has reportedly failed multiple drug tests. With the NFL adopting a more strict guideline for failed tests, Hill presents a big risk. It would only take a few slip-ups for him to be banned from the league.
Hill’s size commonly brings comparison to Richard Sherman. Both are big corners that rely on technique and average speed to win their matchups. Hill could be a mid round pick for some teams. Others may have him off their board entirely. The Vikings are in the market for another cornerback, and if Hill is there in the sixth round of later, they could take a flier on him. Either way, Hill needs to be surrounded by a strong locker room presence. The talent is definitely there.
Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
The 2018 draft class at wide receiver has been deemed neither deep nor top-heavy. Calvin Ridley of Alabama tops most boards, but after that, it is up for debate. Callaway is the wildcard of all wide receivers. When he was on the field, he displayed athletic skills that would make him the top receiver in this class in some eyes. He has great feet and electric speed that gets him to the next level quickly. Callaway has also shown ability on slant and crossing routes. One misstep against Callaway and he has the ability to take it to the house.
Unfortunately for GMs, Callaway has a ton of red flags, as well. He was questioned in a report of sexual assault, but was later found innocent. However, during the meeting, he said that he was high on marijuana during the time of the sexual assault accusation. Still, the staff of Florida said that Callaway needed to show better judgment in the situation. During the previous 2017 season, Callaway was initially suspended for the first game, and then was later ruled suspended for the remainder of the season. He spent the year away from the team.
When Callaway has played, he shows DeSean Jackson abilities. He is ridiculously talented, but lacks professionalism. If a team thinks they can settle Callaway down, they may be getting the best receiver in the class. The Vikings already have Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, but Callaway would give them the true deep threat they are missing.
Will Richardson, OT, North Carolina State
In 2017, Richardson only allowed five pressures all season and never allowed more than one during a single game. He was a dependable player at right tackle for North Carolina State and helped the team reach a great level of success.
With Richardson, the issue for him has been his availability. During his freshman season, he was cited for a DUI. Also, during his most recent season, he was suspended for two games for marijuana use.
Luckily for Richardson, teams are always in need of offensive linemen. From his tape, he has shown elite ability that could get him drafted as soon as the second round. However, with questions about his suspension history, Richardson may see himself fall into the mid or even late rounds. Offensive tackle is not as big as a need as guard for the Vikings, but Richardson could provide a late round addition. Again, it comes down to whether the staff believes that his mistakes are behind him.