The Minnesota Vikings were one of the most surprising teams in the NFL in 2012, posting a 10-6 record and earning a playoff berth. But they have plenty of areas to address in this week’s draft, from positions of immediate urgency (LB, CB, WR) and those where some added depth is needed (DT, OG, DE).
With 11 total picks and six of the first 120 overall selections, the Vikings are well-equipped to address all of their needs depending on how they have players ranked. Cornerback was already a need, and that got even greater with the March release of Antoine Winfield. With the high caliber of quarterbacks elsewhere in the NFC North, adding some depth is essential once the draft gets going on Thursday night.
Jordan Poyer had an excellent senior season at Oregon State in 2012, tying for second in the country with seven interceptions while being named a First Team AP All-American, earning First Team All-Pac 12 honors and being a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.
Poyer is not one of the top-ranked cornerbacks in this year’s class, but is he a fit for Minnesota? Here’s a closer look at him.
Weight: 191 lbs.
– Is a smooth, fluid athlete; plays with good balance
– Shows excellent awareness and closing burst in zone coverage
– Plays with intelligence and competitive fire
– Has excellent ball skills; puts himself in position to make plays by reading the quarterback’s eyes
– Is a willing and aggressive run defender; takes good angles
– Has extensive special teams experience
– Lacks elite top-end speed
– Gives too much cushion; concedes underneath throws too easily
– Plays too aggressively at times; can be beaten with double moves
– Is too high and slow in his backpedal
– Is not a powerful tackler; needs to improve his technique and fundamentals
Poyer looks like a third or fourth-round pick right now, and recent speculation has him falling down draft boards due to a lack of speed. But his overall skill set makes him well-suited to Minnesota’s Cover-2 defensive scheme, and he could fit perfectly as a replacement for Winfield as the Vikings’ primary slot corner. If Poyer is available somewhere in the middle rounds when it’s Minnesota’s turn, it could be a perfect marriage of a player’s skills and a team’s needs.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.