Tag Archives: Minnesota Vikings

2019 NFL Draft recap, pick-by-pick: NFC North

Summers (No. 42 pictured) finished his TCU career with 319 tackles, 10.5 quarterback sacks, 23.5 tackles for losses, two interceptions and nine pass break-ups.
Green Bay Packers Notable picks: DC Mike Pettine’s 30-front background makes sense considering we feel Gary is better versus the run or pass the closer he moves down inside.  Savage won’t be handed anything, but we think he could challenge for a starting role relatively early in his career.  Summers fits the profile of the linebackers currently on the roster.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (12) Rashan Gary Michigan 26/2nd Round Gary’s effort was commensurate with what you would expect from a top pick, but he still needs work rushing from the outside.  As he proved in 2017, he may be a better fit rushing the passer from an interior DL spot on third downs. He will be an effective four-technique DE.
1 (21) Acquired from Seattle Darnell Savage DB/Maryland 25/2nd Round Savage could allow the Packers to use his multi-dimensional skills on first and second down in man coverage if he wins the starting spot opposite free agent signee Adrian Amos. Incumbent starter Josh Jones has started 12 games in two seasons.
2 (44) Elgton Jenkins OL/Mississippi State 18/2nd Round Jenkins projects to center (and enjoys the position), but he has also started at tackle and guard.  It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get some looks at a couple of spots in training camp as the team seeks to play its best five linemen. 
3 (75) Jace

Sternberger

TE/Texas A&M 112/3rd Round Sternberger can run through the catch and is solid after the grab.  The team has enough depth at tight end to employ some Ace personnel (2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB) now that he has joined the mix.  He has some similarities to New York Jets TE Chris Herndon. 
5 (150) Kingsley Keke DL/Texas A&M 128/3rd Round Keke has all of the tools to develop into a multi-purpose DL.  As he has done in school, we think he is capable of lining up over the center in sub-packages in reduced fronts.  He has a chance to compete for a four-technique position in their base fronts.
6 (185) Ka’dar Hollman CB/Toledo 299/4th Round Hollman went from former walk-on to steady hand within the Rockets program.  His feel for the game gives him a chance and his special teams ability could help him compete for a fifth or sixth DB role.
6 (194)

Acquired from Seattle

Dexter Williams RB/Notre Dame 260/4th Round Williams has the ability stick his foot in the ground to get north-south.  Despite running in the high 4.5-range, he proved capable of finishing long runs in school.  He could provide a change of pace option to Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones.  How he performs on special teams could determine his fate.
7 (226) Ty Summers LB/TCU 118/3rd Round Summers’ 4.51 speed is a big reason he produced 121 tackles back in 2016.  The team used him in more of a pass rush role this past season and his numbers don’t reflect his ability to play the exchange LB.  He could surprise in training camp.  Summers finished with the second-most tackles in the Gary Patterson-era at TCU.
Ridley (No. 8 pictured) led the Bulldogs with nine touchdown receptions in 2018. His physical playing style earns high marks.
Chicago Bears Notable Pick: The team came into the 2019 NFL Draft with a couple of goals.  One of them was finding a complement to Tarik Cohen and the selection of Montgomery was a step in the right direction.  The team drafted a receiver from Georgia for the second straight year.  Whyte often played second-fiddle to Devin Singletary at FAU, but he may been the Owls best home run threat in 2018. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
3 (73) 

Acquired from New England

David

Montgomery

RB/Iowa State 62/2nd Round Montgomery is the rare running back with the peripheral vision and foot quickness to make five-yard highlight film runs.  He will complement Tarik Cohen well and make up for the loss of Jordan Howard.
4 (126) Riley Ridley WR/Georgia 86/3rd Round Ridley’s 199-pound frame supplements sufficient play strength.  He is an efficient route runner who works the sidelines well.  We think he is physical enough to play a hold-up position on punt return, possibly run down from a wing or tackle on the punt team and he should be able to contribute in kick coverage. With all of that said, he had just one career tackle in school.
6 (205)

Compensatory pick acquired from New England

Duke Shelley CB/Kansas State 439/6th Round This is a pick that continues to account for the loss of stud nickel Bryce Callahan (Broncos) in free agency.  Shelley is tough, quick and plays bigger than his size.  He finished his career with 8 interceptions and 31 pass break-ups.
7 (222)

Acquired from

Philadelphia via Denver

Kerrith Whyte All-Purpose/FAU 380/5th Round Whyte, a junior-entry, ran 4.36 (40-yd) and posted a 42-inch vertical on FAU’s Pro Day.  He accounted for 8 rushing TDs and averaged 28.7 yds/KR in 2018.
7 (238) Stephen

Denmark

CB/Valdosta State 102/3rd Round It was encouraging that Denmark was such an aggressive tackler as a former college wide receiver, but not much of a surprise considering his 6’3, 215-pound frame.  He posted a 43 1/2-inch vertical jump and ran in the 4.4s on his Pro Day.  He has excellent late vision ball skills.
Smith (No. 82 pictured) was often a favorite target of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He averaged over 16 yards per reception in 2018 and notched seven touchdowns.
Minnesota Vikings Notable pick: The team understood value in this year’s draft and didn’t reach for any of its picks.  Smith, Jr. may serve as insurance as Kyle Rudolph enters the last year of his contract. Mattison is an explosive insurance commodity and relief pitcher for Dalvin Cook, who has struggled to stay upright.  Keep an eye on Watts. He was one of the nation’s best interior pass rush artists in 2018 after being invisible for most of his career. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (18) Garrett

Bradbury

OC/NC State 10/1st Round One of the safest players in the 2019 NFL Draft, the former tight end has unique athletic traits for the center position.  He is a perfect fit for the Vikings zone-based run scheme.
2 (50) Irv Smith, Jr. TE/Alabama 80/2nd Round If there is a knock on Smith, it could revolve around his relative lack of length.  He is an effective on the move blocker who excels creating room at the top of his routes.  He is reminiscent of New York Giants tight end Evan Engram, but enters the league as a slightly better blocker. 
3 (102) Alexander Mattison RB/Boise State 156/3rd Round The former high school wrestler is more elusive than he is given credit for running in-between the tackles. One aspect of his game that was slightly underrated was pass protection.  He contains legitimate lift-and-rise in that aspect.  Mattison also posted 60 career receptions. 
4 (114) Dru Samia OG/

Oklahoma

142/3rd Round Samia’s experience at multiple spots boosts his value.  He has the right element of ‘nasty’ in his game but quicker defenders have caused him to lose his poise at times.  He will have an opportunity to grab a fifth or sixth OL spot.
5 (162) Cameron Smith LB/USC 304/4th Round Smith surprised many in the postseason when he put together explosive pre-draft testing numbers.  He hasn’t always been consistent in man coverage, but his eye speed and football intelligence give him a chance to fight for a backup role in camp.
6 (190) Armon Watts DT/

Arkansas

307/4th Round Watts came on strong in 2018 and could have gone much higher if not for one year of production.  He could vie for a pass rushing role if he can play more consistently with his hands.
6 (191) Marcus Epps S/Wyoming 382/5th Round The Burlsworth Trophy Award finalist often drew secondary marks to safety-mate Andrew Wingard, but his ability to trigger when he sees the action stood out.  He was the safety often in coverage when Wingard roamed the field. 325 career tackles, 9 INTs and 22 PBUs.
6 (193) Oli Udoh OL-Elon 104/3rd Round It is not often that a player with an 85 1/2-inch wingspan lasts this long in the draft.  Some teams projected him to guard, but we think he has enough quickness to stay outside if he can improve his hand placement.
7 (217)

Pick acquired from New York Jets

Kris Boyd CB-Texas 99/3rd Round For the second consecutive year, the Vikings traveled to Texas to pick up a cornerback.  Boyd has one of the shorter memories in this year’s draft at cornerback, but he has to control his hands better in man coverage.
7 (239)

Acquired from New England via Philadelphia

Dillon Mitchell WR-Oregon 132/3rd Round The quick-twitched former high school basketball standout could have been played the spot at the collegiate level.  He uses that level of shiftiness to win in the slot and on the perimeter. He didn’t stand out as a punt returner, but that could be his key to grabbing a roster spot.
7 (247) Olabisi

Johnson

WR-Colorado State 317/4th Round He never caught up to his breakout performance in the 2016 Idaho Potato Bowl, but he still finished his career with 125 receptions (16.2 YPR) and 11 TDs.  He posted six tackles in 2018 and adds potential as a punt return option.
7 (250) Austin

Cutting

LS-Air Force 708/7th Round Cutting has posted long snap times as low as 0.65 seconds and generally averages in the low 0.7-second range.  He has excellent size at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds.

 

Fulgham, the Lions sixth-round pick, caught a touchdown pass in nine straight games for Old Dominion in 2018. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver has 34-inch arms and outstanding body control. He became the second ever Monarch drafted and the second in the 2019 NFL Draft.

 

Detroit

Lions

Notable picks: The selection of Hockenson could open up opportunities in the middle of the field for Stafford with Golladay and Jones on the outside flanks.  Fulgham -a receiver built in the mold of Golladay- had third-round value late in the draft. Tavai fits the type of  inside linebacker the team covets, but he has also been a good pass rusher in school.  Although Bryant went in the fourth round, he could be expected to contribute some edge presence in a room that needs to create more of a pass rush.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (8) T.J.

Hockenson

TE/Iowa 2/1st Round Hockenson, the 2018 Mackey Award Winner, has proven capable of excelling as a run blocker.  In addition, the former Hawkeye improved dramatically as a route runner during his redshirt sophomore campaign.
2 (43) Jahlani Tavai ILB/Hawaii 159/3rd Round The former rugby star has underrated pass rush skills but an even better feel for how to adjust his outside-in charge.  His game against Army in 2018 displayed his ‘want-to’ when it comes to getting to the ball. 
3 (81)

Acquired from Minnesota

Will Harris S/Boston College 141/3rd Round An experienced 41-game starter, Harris brings strong safety potential to the team.  His special teams capability stretches back to time earlier in his career.
4 (117)

Acquired from Atlanta

Austin Bryant DE/

Clemson

238/4th Round Bryant is a power rusher with just average bend.  Despite that, he was just as productive in stretches  as many of the other Clemson DL who went in Round 1.  Durability is a concern.
5 (146) Amani Oruwariye CB/Penn State 102/3rd Round The biggest key for Oruwariye in transitioning to the next level will come down to trusting his eyes.  He left a number of potential interception opportunities on the ground even after producing slick plant-and-drives.  The team will ask him to re-route receivers and play multiple coverages.  He has the skills to do both.
6 (184) Travis

Fulgham

WR/Old Dominion 84/3rd Round Fulgham has 34-inch arms and jumps well to time passes outside the numbers.  Perhaps just as impressive is his ability to stem the defensive back on short-to-intermediate routes.  His body control is a big reason he caught a touchdown in six straight games in 2016 and nine straight games in 2018.
6 (186)

Acquired from Atlanta

Ty Johnson All-

Purpose/

Maryland

111/3rd Round The Lions have an outstanding kickoff returner in Jamal Agnew, but he played in just six games in 2018.  Johnson is one of the draft’s best kickoff returners and he runs in the 4.4-range.  Expect him to battle it out for return opportunities in training camp.
7 (224) Isaac Nauta TE/Georgia 193/4th Round Postseason workouts didn’t do Nauta any favors, but he does everything better on the field than in T-shirts and shorts. In a deep tight end room, he will have to showcase sufficient field speed on special teams to find a roster spot.
7 (229)

Acquired from Detroit

P.J. Johnson DT/

Arizona

N/A Johnson posted tackles for losses in six of his ten appearances in 2018.  He has enough upper body strength to clog the middle but can also win on occasion with surprising quickness. 

 

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions, 12-23-18: In-game report

The Vikings used an old formula to stay in the NFC playoff picture and defeat the Lions on the road.  Minnesota relied on a turnover- free game and a solid defensive effort to beat Detroit, 27-9. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Lions receiving weapons

In 2014, the Lions featured two 1,000-yard receivers in former wideouts Golden Tate III and Calvin Johnson.

The Lions traded away Golden Tate and now lack proven weapons on the outside.  Detroit tried to mask its deficiencies with conservative third down play calling that often featured runs and screens on 3rd and long, but those weren’t effective against a stout Vikings defense.  Kenny Golladay has become a contributor, catching 70 passes for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns on the season.  However, the Vikings began to key in on him and roll coverage his way as he posted just six catches for 58 yards on 15 targets.  Detroit has had its issues with drafting receivers in the past, but the team is in desperate need for playmakers on the outside. 

Vikings offensive gameplan

The formula against the Bears on Sunday will be simple for the Vikings: run the ball and don’t turn it over.  Despite his 29:10 touchdown-to-interception ratio, Cousins has struggled against teams with winning records in his career and this year has been no different.  Last week, the Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo before his first season as coordinator could even come to an end.  Quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski has taken over and he’s been with the team since the mid-2000s, which means he knows traditionally the Vikings bread has been buttered with its run game. Against the Lions, Dalvin Cook carried the ball 16 times for 73 yards and was the go-to man on 3rd and shorts.   Cook and Latavius Murray should both see 10-to-15 carries apiece and Stefanski will probably opt to play a conservative field position game against the stingy Bears defensive front seven.

Minnesota defense 

The Chicago Bears have dominated headlines in the NFC North but the Vikings still have a defense that can be counted upon. Their problem has been at times they have been forced to play perfect football where as in Chicago there’s a little bit more margin for error.  On the season, the Vikings rank in the top ten in passing yards allowed per game, points against and total yards allowed per game.  They also rank 11th in rushing yards allowed per game.  Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Sheldon Richardson and Tom Johnson have combined to form their own Purple People Eaters group, totaling 29 sacks.  The front end and back end complement each other well in Minnesota and this defense is still a unit to be reckoned with week-to-week. 

New Orleans Saints vs Minnesota Vikings, 10-28-18: In-game report

In a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Playoff matchup, Minnesota and New Orleans put on a less entertaining showing on Sunday Night Football.  New Orleans took advantage of two costly Vikings turnovers to win 30-20.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

Saints Quarterbacks 

Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill (pictured at BYU in 2016) has been a jack of all trades for the team.

Sean Payton is one of the most innovative play callers in the NFL and he lived up to the hype on Sunday night against the Vikings, who came into the game ranked No. 10 in  total defense. The former quarterback, turned head coach, used backup quarterback Taysom Hill in Wildcat formations and empty sets and even lined him up at wide receiver while Drew Brees was under center. Hill is 6’2, 220 pounds and can run in-between the tackles and throw the football. His ability forces opposing defenses to have to game plan for something else while still preparing for Brees, the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards.  On one possession in the red zone, Payton even put Hill in shotgun and lined quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees out wide.  Hill ran up the middle for no gain but it goes to show Payton isn’t afraid to experiment with some new alignments and he may have used the wacky formation to get something on film for a later use.  Hill finished with one completion for 44 yards and three rushing attempts for -2 yards.  The former BYU quarterback has run for 123 yards and one touchdown so far this season. 

Vikings Receivers 

The Minnesota Vikings have two number one receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.   Against New Orleans, Thielen caught seven passes for 103 yards and set the record for most consecutive 100-yard receiving games to start the season with his eighth straight.  He ranks first in the NFL in receiving yards and receptions. On the other side, Diggs caught 10 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.  Most impressive is that the two combined for 17 receptions on 18 targets. Not only are Diggs and Thielen productive, but they make sure to catch anything and everything that comes their way. The Vikings made an effort to attack Saints cornerback P.J. Williams instead of testing Pro Bowler, Marshon Lattimore. Minnesota has two number one level receivers which allows them to pick on cornerbacks, who they deem more of a liability.  Both players made critical mistakes that resulted in big plays for the Saints defense.  With the Vikings up 13-10 and driving in for a score at the Saints’ 18-yard line with 1:11 left in the second quarter, Thielen fumbled after a hit by linebacker Alex Anzalone.  The fumble was recovered by Lattimore and took potential points off the board.  Then, in the third quarter (5:58), Diggs failed to continue to run across the field on a crossing pattern while being covered by Saints cornerback P.J. Williams.  Williams ended up picking off the crossing pattern by Kirk Cousins and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown.  It put the Saints up by 14 and stymied the Vikings attempt to tie the game.  Despite the mishaps, the Vikings will continue to be a force in the passing game behind the production of Diggs and Thielen. 

Saints defense 

Davenport has four sacks for the Saints thus far in his rookie campaign.

Earlier in the week, New Orleans acquired Eli Apple from the Giants for a fourth round draft pick.  Apple led the team in tackles on Sunday night but a lot of those tackles came after he had given up catches.  Apple, who started the game, should form cohesion with the Saints secondary in time as he is accompanied by fellow former Ohio State Buckeyes Marshon Lattimore and Vonn Bell. With the emergence of defensive end Marcus Davenport (two sacks against Minnesota) alongside Pro Bowler Cam Jordan, New Orleans has the makings of a solid defense.  If defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who served as the secondary coach during the Saints championship season, can get the secondary on the same page then New Orleans could match a strong offense with an equally strong defense. 

Update: Davenport was recently reported to have a toe injury that could keep him out for an extended period of time.

Alabama’s Miller making his mark

Alabama outside linebacker Christian Miller is blessed with NFL bloodlines.  His father, former NFL linebacker Corey Miller, enjoyed an eight-year NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants that included 72 starts, 14 sacks, seven interceptions and a host of tackles.

Miller hasn’t been able to get his career on the same upward trek up to this point, but he has shown flashes in the past.  Before going down to a biceps injury versus Florida State in 2017, he had already run through the Seminoles offensive tackles on a couple of occasions when defending the run out of a two-point stance.  Well- balanced at 6-foot-4, 247 pounds, he has enough length to occasionally battle with offensive tackles on the edge (see picture vs. USC’s Chad Wheeler in 2016).  He possesses the necessary bulk to create separation while deciphering the action.

So how has he grown mentally over the last year?

First of all, he didn’t allow the biceps injury to end his 2017 campaign.  He rehabbed religiously to make a comeback in time for Alabama’s national championship run.  His arduous journey draws high marks if for nothing more than its pure tenacity.  Miller put it best when he described the passage prior to the team’s Sugar Bowl contest against Clemson in early January.

“I feel good. This is what we wanted,” Miller said. “This is the opportunity that we wanted. Obviously had a rough start to the season with getting injured in the first game. But I rehabbed and worked back, and now I’m back.” (https://www.seccountry.com/alabama/christian-miller-describes-grueling-rehab-shit-not-easy).

And he didn’t just come back, he contributed.  In the 2018 National Championship Game, he was seen lining up on the punt team at the left tackle spot.  In the same game, he used a right-handed post versus a tight end and just wouldn’t quit on a down that resulted in a quarterback sack after he re-mapped his course.

Coming into this season, the true test would be to see if his pass rush variety would improve coming off the edge.  Last week vs. Ole Miss in Oxford, he put together arguably his best career performance to date (5 tackles, 2.5 QB sacks, 2.5 TFLs).   His first quarterback sack came on a play from the left defensive end spot.  He took a shoulder away and then surfed around the corner to wheel the edge and get the quarterback on the ground. On this play, he displayed an increased skill running the loop.   He later ran over a running back (in a one-on-one blitz pick-up) with a speed-to-power rush that resulted in his second quarterback sack.

These types of plays create a baseline to judge Miller on for the rest of the season.  As a competent complementary pass rusher alongside Dylan Moses, Isaiah Buggs and Raekwon Davis, the former five-star recruit may give the Crimson Tide’s defense even more room to blossom.

2018 NFL Draft Recap, pick-by-pick: NFC North

NFC North

 

Green Bay Packers
Alexander (No. 10 pictured) may be relied upon to work at the nickel back spot for the Packers.

Notable picks: Alexander and Jackson could eventually develop into the two outside starting cornerbacks. Alexander’s ability to return kicks, play outside or in the slot makes him one of the more versatile players in the 2018 NFL Draft. The potential combination of Alexander, Jackson and Kevin King could be game-changing for the Packers secondary.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (18) Jaire

Alexander CB-5’10 196

Louisville 40 (2nd Round) Teams relied heavily on his outstanding 2016 film. Believes in his recipe. Will he play the nickel with Jackson and King on the outside.
2 (45) Josh

Jackson

CB-6’0 196

Iowa 55 (2nd Round) Jackson is used to this part of the country and the elements won’t be a factor. His ball skills will aid a defense which finished 23rd in pass defense.
3 (88) Trade from Carolina Oren

Burks

LB-6’3 233

Vanderbilt 71 (3rd Round) Burks adds another coverage linebacker to a group that needs more on-field speed. The former safety has all of the tools to develop into at least a nickel contributor in Year 1.
4 (133) J’Mon

Moore

WR-6’3 207

Missouri 160 (3rd Round) Moore was the rare SEC wide receiver to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
5 (138) Cole

Madison

OL-6’5 307

Washington St. 127 (3rd Round) Former TE with good feet, durability and tackle experience. While he played RT in school, he could battle former UCF star Justin McCray (8 starts in 2017) for playing time at OG.
5 (172) JK

Scott

P-6’6 208

Alabama 411 (5th Round) Four-year starter who punted and kicked off the ‘Tide. Can be dominant kicking in Domes. Catch-and-kick times average between 1.15 and 1.25 seconds. Reminiscent of former Clemson punter Bradley Pinion.
5 (174) Marquez

Valdes-Scantling

WR-6’4 207

USF 281 (4th Round) Valdes-Scantling built on a good junior campaign with a breakout senior campaign.
6 (207) Equanimeous

St. Brown

WR-6’5 214

Notre Dame 80 (3rd Round) St. Brown probably may have more to give than even the team’s fifth-round pick. Regardless of the team’s QB play, he didn’t finish on the ball as well in 2017.
7 (232) James

Looney

DL-6’3 287

California 243 (4th Round) NFL bloodlines are complemented by a steady diet of lateral quickness and strong hands. He is an inconsistent pass rusher and Tyson Alualu-type.   35 ½” VJ.
7 (239) Hunter

Bradley

LS-6’3 241

Mississippi State N/A (long snappers, page 388 of Corey Chavous’ 2018 Draft Guide) Bradley, a long snapper, ran in the 4.7-range and was a big reason for P Logan Cooke’s success.
7 (248) Kendall

Donnerson

DE-6’3 250

SE Missouri State N/A Donnerson turned heads in private workouts prior to the draft with a 40” VJ and 10’11” BJ.

 

 

Chicago Bears
Smith’s ability (No. 3 pictured) to run down plays laterally could increase the speed of an already formidable Bears rush defense.

Notable Pick: Smith could make life painful for opposing running backs as he combines with playmaker Danny Trevathan. He rejoins former Georgia Bulldog teammate Leonard Floyd.   All of the linebackers will have to pay attention to fourth-round pick Joel Iyiebuniwe. He could challenge for playing time.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (8) Roquan

Smith

6’1 236

Georgia 13 (1st Round) Smith’s speed will increase a defensive unit that is going…all the way up.
2 (39) James

Daniels

6’4 295

Iowa 41 (2nd Round) Daniels has he mobility to challenge for a starting offensive guard spot right away. In addition, he is athletic enough to backup at a tackle position.
2 (51) Anthony

Miller

5’11 201

Memphis 43 (2nd Round) Miller’s quickness will open up options on the outside or in the slot. His play speed will make him a major option in the run-pass-option game with Trubisky.
4 (115) Joel

Iyiebuniwe

LB-6’1 229

Western Kentucky 112 (3rd Round) The Bears continue to overhaul their LB corps with a ‘backer who can run and hit.
5 (145) Bilal

Nichols

DT-6’3 306

Delaware 97 (3rd Round) Nichols very easily could have gone higher if not for questions regarding his pad level. He could provide a challenge for DE Jonathan Bullard.
7 (224) Javon

Wims

WR-6’4 215

Georgia,

Belhaven

223 (4th Round) The Bears took a late-round flyer on a player who excelled adjusting to tough passes in 2017. He’s another tall, long wideout in the mold of current Bears Robinson and White. Can he play special teams?

 

 

 

Minnesota Vikings
Carlson connected on 13 field goals of 50 or more yards in school.

Notable pick: Carlson’s ability to hit field goals near the midfield mark will extend the team’s offensive range. Jalen Holmes brings positional versatility to the table and could be a big factor on third downs rushing from an interior line position.   Aruna could become a Day 3 find with his immense level of athleticism.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (29) Mike

Hughes

CB-5’10 183

UCF 16 (2nd Round) Hughes not only offers sub-package immediate potential, he is one of the draft’s best returners.
2 (62) Brian

O’Neill

OT-6’6 298

Pittsburgh 66 (3rd Round) O’Neill has starting potential as a left tackle if he can learn to sit down with more urgency.
4 (102)

 

Jalen

Holmes

DE-6’5 283

Ohio State 156 (3rd Round) Holmes can play up-and-down a defensive front.   He is improving with his hand usage.
5 (167) Daniel

Carlson

PK-6’5 223

Auburn 267 (4th Round) Despite six blocked kicks in school, he kicked 13 field goals of 50 yards or more.
6 (213) Colby

Gossett

OL-6’5 311

Appalachian State 105 (3rd Round) Gossett started 37 games at RG, 8 games at RT and one game at OC in school.
6 (218) Ade

Aruna

OLB-6’5 262

Tulane 219 (3rd Round) Former two-star recruit was much better in 2016 when he stood up as a two-point OLB much of the year.
7 (225) Devante

Downs

LB-6’1 245

California 515 (6th Round) Downs finished his career with 211 tackles and five interceptions despite missing significant time as a senior.   His eye speed makes up for ordinary explosion.

 

Detroit Lions
Johnson’s workhorse mentality was complemented with an ability to throw the halfback pass.

Notable picks: Detroit went into this draft with the desire to get more physical on both sides of the ball. They drafted Johnson to run behind Ragnow and then selected the draft’s best blocking fullback in Bawden. Johnson will make-or-break this crop. If he can provide a one-two punch with some of the current Lions backs, it will finally take pressure off of Matthew Stafford.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (20) Frank

Ragnow

C-6’5 307

Arkansas 121 (3rd Round) Ragnow has always carried starter-traits, but leverage can be an issue for him vs. squatty nose guards.
2 (43) Trade from New England Kerryon

Johnson

RB-5’11 213

Auburn 101 (3rd Round) Johnson’s power and stride length make him look like a 6’2 runner on the field. He contains underrated lower body explosiveness at 213 pounds.   Easy mover.
4 (114) from New England Da’Shawn

Hand

DL-6’4 297

Alabama 137 (3rd Round) Hand is a player with heavy hands and an ability to defend the run. He may never be a great pass rusher, but he fits the profile desired on an underrated defensive front.
 
5 (153) Tyrell

Crosby

OT-6’5 319

Oregon 14 (1st Round) Crosby ranks as one of the best steals of the draft.   He may not look the part, but his 11-inch hands and 35-inch arms will make a difference at the right tackle spot.
7 (237) Nick

Bawden

FB-6’2 240

San Diego State 210 (4th Round) Bawden –a former college quarterback- reads through defenses with an ability to seek and destroy.   A true passion player with huge upside as a blocker. He adds substance to the team’s desire to run effectively in December.