The Minnesota Vikings are set up well at offensive tackle with Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt in place, and center John Sullivan is one of the NFL’s best at his position. But there are question marks at guard, with Charlie Johnson entering a potential contract year and Brandon Fusco still an unproven player.
Adding some depth behind Johnson and Fusco should be on Minnesota’s radar at some point during the draft later this week, though it looks very unlikely they will use a first or even second-day pick on the position.
Alvin Bailey started 38 straight games during his three seasons at Arkansas, earning All-SEC Second Team honors in 2011. He made a fairly surprising move to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, but with a new coach in place at Arkansas that uncertainty may have played a role.
Is Bailey a good fit for the Vikings? Here’s a closer look at his measurements, strengths and weaknesses.
Weight: 312 lbs.
– Is naturally big and strong
– Has experience playing both right and left guard
– Is athletic enough to block on the move effectively; pulls and traps well
– Shows good balance in pass protection; slides and mirrors solidly
– Needs to work on sustaining stride quickness in space
– Needs to improve his technique and hand usage in close quarters
– Needs to improve his anticipation at the second level
– Stops his feet too often on contact, causing him to lose push strength and balance
Outside of Chance Wormack and Jonathan Cooper, there are not a lot of guards that are regarded as top-tier prospects in an overall sense this year. But there is a deep second tier at the position, which fits perfectly with what should be the Vikings’ plan to possibly add someone in later rounds.
Bailey could come in and compete with Fusco for the starting job at right guard, and he could also be a possible replacement for Johnson on the left side in 2014. At the very least Bailey has more upside than anyone else the Vikings have at guard, and that alone stands to make him hard to ignore if he’s available somewhere in the middle rounds.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.