The Minnesota Vikings once had one of NFL’s elite run defenses, spearheaded by the defensive tackle duo of Pat and Kevin Williams. But the “Williams Wall” was no more after the 2010 season, and the Vikings have finished 11th in the league against the run in each of the past two seasons.
Finding a possible heir apparent to Kevin Williams, who will turn 33 in August and has shown signs of decline, has to be a priority for Minnesota early in this week’s draft. Many mock drafts have them using one of their two first-round picks on a defensive lineman, but a later pick could also be used to add another young player to the mix.
While working alongside 2012 first-round pick Fletcher Cox, defensive tackle Josh Boyd got some attention from NFL scouts as a junior at Mississippi State . But his numbers predictably fell off as a senior in 2012 (33 total tackles and 1.5 sacks) with Cox gone, sending his burgeoning draft stock down as well.
Should the Vikings have interest in Boyd? Let’s take a look at him.
Weight: 310 lbs.
– Is quick-footed; looks comfortable changing direction and chasing down plays
– Shows active hands at the point of attack
– Shows solid initial quickness and a high motor
– Was a durable three-plus year starter at Mississippi State (41 total starts)
– Needs to play with more consistent leverage; gives ground too easily against double-teams
– Needs to develop a better array of pass rush moves
– Struggles with stamina late in games; disappears too much
Boyd lacks all the ideal traits to become a nose tackle or a three-technique defensive tackle at the next level, making him the kind of tweener that NFL teams may have a hard time finding a spot for. But for the Vikings he would basically be a developmental prospect as a rookie, possibly destined for the practice squad initially, and it would only require a late-round pick to get him.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.