Vikings 2011 Defensive Draft Picks Could Help THIS Season!
What to like: Just as Kyle Rudolph was a late first-round value in many analysts’ eyes, Ballard was a second-round value that the Vikings got in the fourth round because of another kind of red flag – a reported positive drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was a three-sport athlete in high school and brings a lot of versatility to the defensive line – he can line up at defensive tackle, defensive end and maybe even play some nose tackle.
Words of caution: It may take Ballard some time to master one spot because of all the rotational work he did for Iowa. Initially, he is likely to add to the interior of the Vikings’ defensive line, which could need help early with the expected departure of Pat Williams and the expected suspension of Kevin Williams.
Coach Leslie Frazier says: “He’s one of those rare commodities when you talk about big men. He moves extremely well and that flexibility should really help our defense.”
Brandon Burton, CB, Utah (fifth round, 139th overall)
What to like: At nearly 6 feet, Burton has decent height and good speed, and his aggressive nature on the field fits the Vikings’ Cover 2 defensive scheme that requires physical play from their cornerbacks.
Words of caution: The Vikings could use some playmakers in their defensive backfield and Burton had only three interceptions in his final two seasons at Utah.
Vikings VP of player personnel Rick Spielman says: “He has a lot of cover skills. He can be physical in
(run) support. He’s fast and a big corner, and those are the types of corners we are looking for from a defensive scheme standpoint.”
CB Mistral Raymond, S, South Florida (sixth round, 170th overall)
What to like: Raymond can play safety or cornerback, but he is expected to see his first work with the Vikings at safety. He has battled personal hardship and persevered, with his family’s home being set on fire, one sister being shot four times and surviving and a half-sister being found dead in April.
Words of caution: If he is going to come in and provide a playmaking safety, it will have to be a departure from his college career. He started only 15 games at South Florida and recorded only two interceptions there.
Frazier says: “My heart goes out to him and his family for what they’ve experienced. It says a lot about him as a person – some of the adversity he’s faced and he’s stuck with it and has not given up on life or has not given up on himself. He’s a tremendous young man and he’s overcome a lot.”
Ross Homan, OLB, Ohio State (sixth round, 200th overall)
What to like: Homan was very productive at the Big Ten level, producing 287 tackles, 17 for a loss, three forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, seven interceptions and 10 pass deflections for the top defense in the Big Ten the past two years.
Words of caution: Nothing jumps out at you about Homan’s measurables.
He isn’t quite 6-1 (a little on the short side) and isn’t the fastest of linebackers, even among the inside linebackers he worked out with at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Spielman says: “I know the knock on him is the size factor, but (he was) one of the most instinctive linebackers that was on the board and he was a lot higher on our board than where we were able to get him.”
D’Aundre Reed, DE, Arizona (seventh round, 215th overall)
What to like: He should be fresh and have a lot of tread left on his tires. He started only eight games as a rotational defensive end for Arizona, which had Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore ahead of him. But D’Aundre Reed displayed solid athleticism in a private workout for the Vikings before the draft.
Words of caution: His lack of starting experience will likely mean he comes to the Vikings pretty raw, and if the lockout continues to take away from rookie practice time, Reed’s development could be retarded.
Spielman says: “He can play the left side, the right side – they even slid him inside some as a nickel rusher. We’ve always tried to focus on guys that have some athletic skills that our coaches can work with and try to develop. He fit that mold.”
MNVikingsBlog.com Analysis: I think a lot of fans were a little worried when the first and second day of the draft netted the Vikings exactly ZERO defensive players. Now looking back we see that we have 5 players selected within rounds 4-7 that could easily add value to the team immediately. Obviously some players will be more of a project then others but you never know which one will make a name for themselves. The Vikings could take all the defensive play makers they can get.