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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Which defensive draft prospects have met with the Vikings?

By Matthew Coller

With needs on each side of the ball, the Minnesota Vikings will have plenty of options when they finally pick at No. 48 overall in the NFL Draft (or trade up?). So as we countdown to draft day, it’s worth keeping an eye on which prospects meet with the Vikings. Who are some of the most intriguing players? Are there any patterns? Let’s have a look at players on the defensive side. (Read the offensive side here).

The website Walter Football tracks reports of meetings between prospects and teams and categorizes them this way:

SR – Senior Bowl meeting.
EW – East-West Shrine meeting.
COM – Combine meeting.
PRO – Pro Day or campus meeting/workout.
LOC – Local visit. Prospect making a local visit.
PRI – Private visit. Prospect making an official 30 visit.
WOR – Private Workout. Members of an organization working out a player in private.

Here is the list (with details on the most notable prospects)

Defensive line

Malik McDowell, DT/3-4DE, Michigan State (WOR)

Projected round: 1-2

What they’re saying:

“When the motor is revving, displays an angry energy to routinely chase and make plays outside the hashes. Height/length combo to be productive on special teams units (one blocked kick in his MSU career). Versatile experience playing at multiple positions on the defensive line, both inside and outside. Solid production, tallying 24.5 tackles for loss over 23 career starts.”

– Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

Tarell Basham, DE, Ohio (SR)

Projected round: 2

What they’re saying:

“Basham has the strength and length to play as a 4-3 base end or as a 3-4 rush linebacker, but his pass rush approach will need to be sharpened as he lacks the flexibility to bend the edge and attack the pocket with athleticism alone. Basham may never produce a high sack total, but his alpha playing style will appeal to teams looking to groom a solid backup with starter’s potential.”
-Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Jaleel Johnson, DT/3-4DE/NT, Iowa (SR)

Projected round: 3

Active defensive tackle with the motor and athleticism to find production in the NFL. Johnson doesn’t have the functional anchor that teams looking for a run-stuffer will be after. However, his effort, foot quickness and hand usage should create opportunities for him as a pass rusher. Johnson has the talent to become an eventual starter as a three-technique in a penetrating defensive front and could fight for rotational reps early on as a rookie.

-Lance Zierlein

Carl Lawson, DE/3-4OLB, Auburn (COM)

Projected round: 1-2

What they’re saying:

He is a powerful tackler, selling out and leaving his feet to explode into ballcarriers. Lawson shows good hand-eye coordination and grip to rip at the ball as when other defenders are in position to make the tackle, forcing three fumbles over his career. He was voted a team captain in 2015 and 2016 and is highly regarded by the Auburn coaching staff for his commitment on and off the field.

– Rob Rang, CBS Sports

Chunky Clements, DT/3-4DE, Illinois (EW)

Projected round: Undrafted

Linebacker

Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas State (PRI, WOR)

Projected round: 5

What they’re saying:

“Lee’s playing style is more subtle than it is urgent and his upright playing style limits his tackling efficiency and suddenness in his change of direction. Lee has the speed to range all over the field and has the ball skills to warrant consideration on passing downs. If a linebacker coach can get him to play with better bend and get the play speed to match the timed speed, Lee could become an eventual starter in the league.”
-Lance Zierlein
Duke Riley, LB, LSU (COM)
Projected round: 2
What they’re saying:
“One-year wonder who produced at a consistent level despite his average athleticism and lack of starting experience. While he’s mindful of his responsibilities, he’s not overly physical and his limitations could tie him to roles as either a WILB in a 3-4 or WILL in a 4-3. Could improve stock in pre-draft workouts, but would be surprising to see him taken inside of the first three rounds.”
-Lance Zierlein

James Onwualu, LB, Notre Dame (EW)

Projected round: 7

Secondary

Rayshawn Jenkins, S, Miami (SR)

Projected round: 4

What they’re saying:

“A commanding, aggressive presence on the back-end, Jenkins loves being part of “The U” and attempts to honor the history of the safety position at that school every time he steps on the field. His instincts and closing burst to the ball are just average and he will have to earn his way up the depth chart to get a shot as a two-deep safety with some box ability.”
-Lance Zierlein

Jadar Johnson, S, Clemson (EW)

Projected round: 5-6

What they’re saying:

“Explosive height, weight, speed prospect with terrific ball skills but an inconsistent approach in run support. Johnson’s ball production, despite just one season as a starter, will likely give a team confidence that he will continue to shine in that area on the next level. Johnson has starting NFL potential and a strong workout could push him up the draft board. However, he must improve his run support to be a long-time starter in the league.”
-Lance Zierlein

Weston Steelhammer, S, Air Force (EW)

Projected round: 7

Leon McQuay III, S, USC (PRI)

Projected round: Undrafted

The post Which defensive draft prospects have met with the Vikings? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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