The big trade of STEFON DIGGS to the Bills last month left the Vikings with a treasure trove of 12 picks in this Draft, but it also left a rather large talent hole in their WR group, which was far from being deep in the first place. I would expect at least two wideout selections from them in this talented WR Prospect group. This will be an important Draft because their roster has been thinned out primarily because of Salary Cap restraints, which forced them to part ways with multiple serviceable veterans.
Round 1, Pick 22 K’LAVON CHAISSON DE/ER/OB LSU 6’3/254 (PP#24) You don’t win a National Championship these days without a plethora of talented players on your roster. And since LSU went to a perfect 15-0 to win theirs, it should be no surprise that they will have draftees all over the board in the three day NFL talent hunt. CHAISSON is almost an athlete without a position, other than to say he chases QB’s, and that’s a big deal in today’s NFL. Given the success the team has had with another such player from LSU named Danielle Hunter, this Pick should be much to the delight of Head Coach and Defensive guru MIKE ZIMMER. Like HUNTER when they drafted him, CHAISSON is still ascending, but I don’t think it will be long before he’s raising hell on the side of the field opposite of HUNTER. If they drop his weight a bit, he may have the requisite athletic skills to play some OB. Relies on his outside pass-rush a bit too much and needs to develop an inside spin to keep blockers honest. For playing in such a talented Defensive group, his 2019 stats are pretty impressive: 60 T’s-13.5 TFL- 6.5 S’s- 6 QBH’s- 1 FF and 2 PBU’s.
Round 1, Pick 25 GRANT DELPIT S LSU 6’3/213 (PP#27) Many talent evaluators have him ranked out of Round 1, but I cry fowl and point out that DELPIT played much of the 2019 season trying to nurse an ankle injury. I give him kudos for playing thru pain and still being an emotional leader on the D. However, his stats certainly did suffer and so did his rankings heading into the Draft. Even playing hurt, he came up with 65 Tackles, 7 PBU’s and 2 INT’s. His medical at the Combine would seem to have been OK, and he will be ready for whenever the NFL gets back out on the field. Combined with ANTHONY HARRIS and HARRISON SMITH, he should give the Vikes one of the most talented S groups in the NFL.
Round 2, Pick 58 MICHAEL PITTMAN WR SOUTHERN CAL 6’4/219 (PP#60) He is not a speedster (4.52/40), but he uses his size to win contested throws and can plow thru smaller DB’s after the catch. Has solid genes, with his father MICHAEL being an ex-NFL RB. He should also bring value on Special Teams, after being a 1st-Team Pac 12 Special Teamer in 2017, while earning his way onto the field as a receiver. Very high FBI, with solid practice and playing habits. His 2019 stats were exceptional, given injuries galore to USC QB’s this past fall; 101 catches, 12.6 ypc, and 11 TD’s. He has good body control and ball tracking ability. He should see plenty of action as a Rookie.
Round 3, Pick 89 KHLAID KAREEM DE Notre Dame 6’4/268 (PP#94) I would expect KAREEM to be given every chance to replace EVERSON GRIFFEN as a pass-rushing DE, who can also stop the run effectively. He was a team Captain for the Irish, and played with high energy and smarts. He is strong enough to set the edge and has a variety of pass-rush moves in his arsenal. He also has the length coaches luv to see for a DE spot with 10 7/8″ hands and 34 3/8″ arms. His 4.80/40 time is legit in pads.
Round 3, Pick 105 DAMON ARNETTE CB Ohio State 6’0/195 (PP#108) He doesn’t have to start as a Rookie, but he should be able to earn lots of playing time in Nickel and Dime coverage situations. I refer to him as a “smooth” athlete, who is also a physical cover guy. At times, he looks like a S in his play against the run. He will also jar receivers at the catch-point. The only thing that keeps him from being elite is his lack of top end speed. I will defend him and just say that he looks faster at times than his 4.56/40 from Combine timing. He may end up battling HOLTON HILL for a starting CB job as the season wears on.
Round 4, Pick 132 KEVIN DOTSON OG LA/Lafayette 6’4/310 (PP#126) The only thing keeping him from being an instant starter is technique, especially in pass pro. He is a solid mauler in run blocking, and was in my Top 100 until the Combine snubbed him, and he lost ground to others by default. He has very nice size for the Interior with 10 1/2″ hands and 33″ arms. His 5.10/40 time is also not too shabby. If he takes to his pro coaching, he might push his way into the lineup before the end of the next season.
Round 5, Pick 155 AMIK ROBERTSON CB La Tech 5’8/187 (PP#162) His size and numbers belie his ability as a football player. This mighty-might plays with abandon and has a nose for the ball. He might end up as their Slot-Corner right away. Despite being only a junior last season, he’s already a 3-year starter. Most talent evaluators would tell you that he acts like he does not understand how undersized he supposedly is. He plays his coverage loose, inviting throws, but explodes to the ball in the air. Had 5 INT’s in 2019, and returned 2 of them for TD’s. He should also make a very explosive Special Teamer. If he doesn’t play so hard that he puts his small body in harm’s way, expect him to be all over the field, and very hard to keep on the bench.
Before proceeding to their 5 Picks in the last 2 Rounds, let me point out that some of these upcoming Picks may well end up as fodder to trade up a few times in Rounds 4 & 5. Most teams don’t really want 12 Drafted players coming to Camp looking for chances to show their worth. 9 or 10 is plenty, even on a roster lacking depth. Therefore, I will limit thumbnails on the rest of their Picks to a sentence or two.
Round 6, Pick 201 JOE GAZIANO DE Northwestern 6’4/281 (PP#203) Plays hard and intense football, with a touch of FBI thrown in for good measure. He might have just enough juice to overcome athletic limitations and be a solid DL rotation guy. Of note might be the fact that amongst his 49 Tackles last season were 9 sacks. Similar to another former Wildcat named DEAN LOWRY, who is having a nice career with the Packers.
Round 6, Pick 205 JA’MARCUS BRADLEY WR LA/Lafayette (PP#213) BRADLEY was the top receiver for a very good Rajin’ Cajun team in 2019. Only his lack of top end speed keeps him from being a Top 100 prospect. He is average in all categories, but is highly competitive and dependable. He’s about a 4.50 in the 40, but has soft hands and good understanding of his place in an Offense. He should have a good chance to be their 5th or 6th wideout and make their roster.
Round 7, Pick 219 DANNY PINTER OG Ball State 6’4/306 (PP#220) He is a former TE that has bulked up, but is still athletic. He ran a 4.91/40 and looks to have good upside. His 10-yard split was even more impressive at 1.69 seconds. I think this guy has starter potential with time. Time in an NFL weight program will firm him up as a strong guy.
Round 7, Pick 249 DAVID WOODWARD LB Utah State 6’1/230 (PP#248) He is a hard charging player who must stay on the Inside, and come out on passing downs. His 4.79/40 is not a killer, and his 93 tackles last season tells you that he gets to the ball. He should be a head-hunter on Special Teams. Has a history of concussions to consider.
Round 7, Pick 253 STEVEN MONTEZ QB Colorado 6’4/240 (PP#254) He is a big guy who is athletic, and now holds a lot of Colorado passing records on some mediocre teams. His 4.68/40 at the Combine, combined with his career numbers, get attention as a developmental type. He is a great young man, with super attitude and personality. Oh, by the way, he was tied for highest ball speed as a thrower, with EASON & LUTON, at 59 mph during the Combine!