The Minnesota Vikings are well-situated along the defensive line for the 2013 season, with mainstays Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Brian Robison in place at three of the starting spots. But the trio, along with Everson Griffen and Fred Evans, are not under contract beyond that point. It’s rare for a team to have so much possible turnover in one position group, but the Vikings’ defensive line could look a lot different in 2014.
Despite suffering a torn right ACL and missing the final two games of his senior season at Florida State, defensive end Cornellius “Tank” Carradine remains a highly-regarded prospect. He had 11 sacks and 80 total tackles (13 tackles for loss) on his way to being named First Team All-ACC in his only season as a starter in 2012.
Carradine ran a 4.75-second 40-yard dash time at a private workout for teams on Saturday, less than 140 days after his knee surgery, and the Vikings were reportedly among the teams that attended the workout.
Is Carradine a possible fit for Minnesota? Let’s take a closer look at him.
Weight: 276 lbs.
– Shows excellent burst off the ball; closes quickly
– Has an aggressive mentality and a high motor
– Shows active hands to disengage from blockers
– Plays with solid leverage
– Displays good footwork and lateral agility; can recover quickly from a false step
– Lacks experience (11 career starts at Florida State); spent two years in junior college
– Needs to develop a better variety of pass rush moves
– Carries durability concerns coming off his knee injury
– Needs to continue to improve his recognition skills
Carradine has the physical attributes and upside that grab the attention of NFL scouts, and he would be a virtual lock to be a first-round pick if not for his knee injury. As it is Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.com and Peter Schrager of Fox Sports.com have him going of the board in the first round in their most recent mock drafts, with the Denver Broncos (No.28 overall) and the New England Patriots (No. 29) the teams that are mentioned respectively.
The Vikings could consider using one of their first-round picks on Carradine if they feel he is worth the risk, but they have more urgent needs than defensive end to address with those two picks. Carradine would be a decent fit for Minnesota, particularly since he would likely not be needed in a prominent role as a rookie, but he simply may not be available when it would be a prudent move to take him.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.