After completely ignoring defense through the first two days, Rick Spielman and the Vikings got back to their old ways with a series of defensive players on day three. But they also stayed consistent with their desire to fix the offensive line, dipping into that well twice. Here is a brief recap of Minnesota’s draft rounds four through seven.
Round 4, Pick 114: OL Dru Samia, Oklahoma
The Vikings’ focus on the offensive line continued into day three with Samia. Like the first round pick Garrett Bradbury, Samia thrived in a zone system in college, and could step in fairly early in his career into a starting role. His length and first step quickness are his most appealing physical traits.
Round 5, Pick 162: LB Cameron Smith, USC
Minnesota traded back after Blake Cashman went a few picks before their original. We do not know for sure if there is a causal link between Cashman’s selection, but given the timing and the selection of Smith at 162, it is a safe bet that they were targeting Cashman. Still, with Smith, the Vikings get a linebacker with good size, athleticism and instincts to add further depth to a relatively shallow position group.
Round 6, Pick 190: DT Armon Watts, Arkansas
Watts is a traits guy with a slight resume. He did not get starter’s playing time until this past season, and was productive in that season. But his tape is still limited relative to other tackle prospects in the class. His length and heavy hands, however, make him an interesting project in round six.
Round 6, Pick 191: S Marcus Epps, Wyoming
It took until well into day three, but Mike Zimmer got his secondary itch scratched. This was a bit of a surprise, as many had Epps as a UDFA target. His route to the roster is going to be a tough journey, so the Vikings appear to be full steam ahead with Anthony Harris, Harrison Smith and Jayron Kearse getting all of the safety minutes.
Round 6, Pick 193: OT Oli Udoh, Elon
Day three, and in particular rounds six and seven, are largely about drafting traits and hope the coaches can work those traits into a quality player. Udoh fits that mold. While not as quick as one would like a zone-heavy tackle to be, he is very long with heavy hands and adequate athleticism.
Round 7, Pick 217: CB Kris Boyd, Texas
Boyd slipped a little further than expected. But like his former teammate Holton Hill, Boyd’s slide could be the Vikings’ gain. He has some necessary athletic qualities, with decent explosion and top speed. His modest change of direction, however, could point to him being more of an outside cover in the same vein of Hill, rather than a nickel guy.
Round 7, Pick 239: WR Dillon Mitchell, Oregon
As a prospect in a vacuum, Mitchell is a good guy to get in the seventh. He has good quickness and ball skills and should be an excellent YAC guy right away. However, scouts have expressed concern over his work ethic, given his drops and slight frame that never filled out over his time at Oregon. Still, as we have said many times, Mike Zimmer seems to be one of the better motivators in the league.
Round 7, Pick 247: WR Olabisi Johnson, Colorado State
While Mitchell can be looked at as a bit more boom-or-bust, Johnson is as solid as it gets in round seven. Everything about him is tight and reliable, from his routes to his hands to his physical makeup. He has it in him to be a strong, movable receiver.
Round 7, Pick 250: LS Austin Cutting, Air Force
The Vikings closed out their draft with a specialist, the second year in a row they went that route. This time, however, they went with a long snapper, who is unlikely to alter the outcome of games to the team’s detriment. Finding long snappers is not hard, but hey, if one comes with one of the last picks in the draft and sticks for a decade, more power to them. It is probably a waste of a draft pick, but it is the 250th pick they probably wasted.
Worth noting, Cutting’s service time means he probably will not join the team for two years. So keep that in mind when judging this pick’s value.
–Sam Smith is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Vikings and Deputy Editor for Full Press NFL. Like and Follow @samc_smith.
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