Friday, April 27, 2018

Five Players The Vikings Could Target in Day Two

Photo: Nevada Wolfpack

After adding a value pick for the secondary, the Vikings will likely address the offensive line during day two of the NFL Draft. Daniel House lists five players the Vikings may target. 

After adding a value pick for the secondary, the Vikings will likely address the offensive line during day two of the NFL Draft. With several options still on the board, Minnesota could trade up or down depending upon who is selected near the top of the second round. There’s even a remote chance they could draft the best player available at No. 62 and use picks next year to add a player they covet late in the second or early third round.

Here’s a few potential options:

Connor Williams, OT/OG- Texas

Texas OT/OG Connor Williams is an offensive lineman who could provide versatility for the Vikings. He likely pegs more as a guard because of his length. There are a few traits which stand out in Williams' skill-set, including his hand technique, mean streak and movement skills. He always finishes blocks to the whistle and has the mean streak you look for in an offensive line prospect. His run blocking skills are underrated and he has shown flashes as a pass protector. His pass blocking technique and footwork are far ahead of many prospects in this offensive line class.

Much of the concern related to his slide down the board surrounds his weight dropping, along with a less productive 2017 season. In his sophomore season, he allowed just four pressures and looked like a top-flight offensive tackle. Williams was once considered a top-15 prospect, but the above concerns have led him to Day Two. The Vikings would likely need to move up in the second round to snag Williams, but they could pool a few resources next year to make it possible. Williams is probably the best fit for what the Vikings are looking for in an offensive line prospect.

James Daniels, C/OG- Iowa
At one point, Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels was starting to gain a high volume of draft buzz. Many draft analysts projected he could be selected within the first 20 picks. On the surface, Daniels fits the Vikings’ scheme, especially considering how he can move in space. He drives into the second level and finishes blocks to the whistle. I project him as natural center, but he has the skill-set to play guard, too. He has mastered the technique at center and his footwork is sound. The main concern with Daniels is the inconsistent power he has shown when he is driving downhill. Teams would like to see him add more weight and strength. This is especially the case when he sees top-tier interior talent in the NFL. However, Daniels could be the best value pick if he continues to slide.

Austin Corbett- OG/OT- Nevada
The Vikings could stay put and land Austin Corbett, an underrated offensive line prospect. In fact, this is arguably the best move they could make at No. 62. He has versatility the Vikings value in an offensive lineman. He started every game at left tackle last year and was quietly an anchor of Nevada’s offensive line. He projects as a guard at the next level, but doesn’t have experience playing there.

When you fire up Corbett’s film, you see an extremely physical prospect who destroys defenders to the whistle. As a pass protector, he displayed great angles to go along with quick feet and above average agility. Corbett plays so aggressive and it’s what really stands out. He is a smart, physical, tough, technically sound and versatile offensive linemen. All of those traits match up nicely with what the Vikings generally look for in a prospect. Out of high school, knee injuries kept him from gaining a scholarship offer. He sent an email to Nevada, convincing the coaches to give him a walk-on opportunity. He quickly became a team captain after his sophomore year and was one of the most respected players on the team. His toughness, leadership and intelligence are an added bonus when you pair it with his overall skill-set. The Vikings would be making a solid pick if they added Corbett.

Dallas Goedert- TE- South Dakota State
Could the Vikings wait until the third round to add an offensive lineman? It seems unlikely, but if players they covet are available, Rick Spielman may package a few picks next year to move into the late second or early third round. The Vikings could use a mismatch tight end to stretch the defense at all three levels. There is no better option than South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert. When you watch offensive coordinator John DeFilippo's tape at Cleveland, along with Philadelphia's red zone packages, you'll see this type of player is important. Goedert can be flexed all over the field to create mismatches against defensive backs and linebackers. He can line up at split end and take the top off of defenses via a simple fade. However, he's most dominant across the middle, consistently making contested grabs in traffic. His excellent hands, body control and playmaking ability would give the Vikings another intriguing skill player for quarterback Kirk Cousins to work with. If the team elects to wait another round for a tight end, Penn State’s Mike Gesicki is a solid option, too.

Maurice Hurst- DT- Michigan

Michigan’s Maurice Hurst is probably the best three-technique defensive tackle in the draft, but a reported heart condition at the combine has him falling down draft boards. Eventually, if a medical staff feels confident about his health, a team will pull the trigger. If he’s still available at No. 62, would the Vikings consider selecting him? It seems unlikely, but it’s certainly possibility. If the medical flag had not occurred, Hurst was a potential top-ten pick. He has a sudden, explosive first step and incredibly powerful hands. His tape and skill-set are eerily similar to Sharrif Floyd, whose career ended after a failed nerve surgery in his leg. With his athletic ability and a compact build, Hurst has the potential to dominate in a scheme similar to Mike Zimmer’s. Although it seems unlikely, you just never know, especially considering free agent signing Sheldon Richardson signed just a one-year deal. If he doesn’t check the boxes medically, the team has done plenty of homework on Nathan Shepherd, who is another name to monitor closely.  

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