|Photo: NEO Sports Insiders|
The Minnesota Vikings traded up with the New York Jets to select Ohio State center Pat Elflein with the 70th pick in the third round.
Updated: April 28th, 2016 9:16pm
By: Daniel House
By: Daniel House
The Minnesota Vikings traded up with the New York Jets to select Ohio State center Pat Elflein with the 70th pick in the third round. The Vikings were awarded the selection by sending their fifth round pick (#160) to the Jets.
Elflein was named the Rimington Award winner as a senior and earned consensus 1st-Team All-America honors. He won the award during his first year playing center for Ohio State. Elflein embraced the mental role of playing the position.
“You have to be mentally on your game every play...[at center] you are the brains of the operation up front," Elflein said.
He was also named 1st-Team All-Big Ten in each of his final three seasons with the Buckeyes and drew interest from the Vikings in the pre-draft process.
“I met with them at the combine and I came on a top-30 visit. I had an idea they were interested," he noted.
Elflein provides immediate depth for the Vikings on their offensive line. He plays with a smash mouth style and outworks his opponent. Elflein has wrestling experience and you can see it when you watch his hand technique and ability to punch and establish leverage. He finishes his blocks to the whistle and is an extremely smart player. Not to mention, he was widely known as a leader of the Ohio State team last year.
The Vikings are getting a tough, physical, and smart football player, which aligns well with the philosophy Mike Zimmer has preached during his time in Minnesota. When I watched his tape during the draft process, he was a player I thought fit the brand of football the Vikings like to play. He isn't very light on his feet, but he loves to maul defenders when he gets to the second level.
Elflein can play both center and guard and may have the chance to compete for the starting right guard spot in his first season with the team.
“I feel more natural at guard just because I’ve played there longer, but I feel like I can go in there and do either at a high level.”
The young center will come to Minnesota with the goal of earning the open right guard spot. His versatility could pull him across various spots in the interior of the offensive line. If Joe Berger retires at the end of the 2017 season, Elflein also could move to center permanently.
"I want to come in and start right away," he said. "I want to come in to work and strive for that spot and work with my teammates to be the best offensive linemen that I can.”