via seniorbowl.comIt's the most wonderful time of the year...
We've officially entered draft season, folks -- with the East-West Shrine Game in the books and the Senior Bowl on the horizon, we can really start to look at what players will fit in with the Vikings (ya know, since we have a head coach and all).
I've already outlined a few underdog prospects on the defensive side of the ball who will be playing this weekend (DT Caraun Reid and CB Pierre Desir, so keep an eye out for them on the South and North teams, respectively). And the usual suspects like DT DaQuan Jones and LB Kyle Van Noy will get a lot of attention as Day 2 prospects.
But here are three players that you probably don't know (or, perhaps, don't know a lot about) who I expect will be picking up steam over the following weeks as their stocks rise, and will be potential targets for the Vikings on the second day of the draft.
S Deone Bucannon (Washington State)
6'0 7/8, 216lbs, 31" 3/4 arm length
Bucannon is a hard hitter who has a propensity to cause turnovers. He is sound in coverage with good range. Safety might not be high on the priority list, and Zimmer might be able to squeeze more out of Sanford (and even Sendejo showed flashes of potential); but if Bucannon slips to the 3rd rd, he will be a steal.
OT Billy Turner (North Dakota State)
6'5, 316lbs, 33" 1/4 arm length
Turner was a big part of NDSU winning three straight FCS championships. A multiyear starter at LT, some scouts believe he'll move inside to OG at the next level. In my eyes, he's either an eventual starting guard or a helluva swing tackle (which we need). If Zimmer can get the most out of our current roster and/or land a solid player or two at positions of need via FA, Turner will be great BPA value with one of our picks in the third round.
NT Justin Ellis (Louisiana Tech)
6'1 7/8, 342lbs, 32" 1/4 arm length
A stand out during East-West Shrine Game week, Ellis earned an invite to the Senior Bowl this week. For those of you looking for a big-bodied NT but don't want to use our 1st rd pick on Nix III, Ellis may be your guy, as he is a prospect who can push the pocket and command double-teams. Teams running a 3-4 are reportedly high on Ellis -- and even if we end up sticking with a 4-3, Zimmer has emphasized stopping the run as a priority.
What do you think, DN?? Are there any other under-the-radar prospects you'll be watching this weekend??