Friday was a much, much slower day than Thursday for the Minnesota Vikings in the 2012 NFL Draft. After making two trades and picking twice in the first round, they stood pat and stuck to their sole third round selection today. But just because the day was slower doesn't mean it wasn't important--the Vikings selected a player at another need position by drafting cornerback Josh Robinson out of the University of Central Florida.
Robinson isn't a huge corner. He's 5'10" and weighs right around 200. But he is an ath-uh-leet--three syllables for emphasis--and he showed off his skills at the NFL Combine. He was clocked at 4.29 in the 40 and he jumped out of the building with his vertical (38 1/2").
But Robinson isn't just a workout warrior; he put up some impressive stats in his three years at UCF before jumping to the draft a year early. He amassed ten interceptions in his career including six in his freshman season. He racked up 46 passes defended and 176 tackles in his abbreviated college career, including starting 35 of his 38 career games. Robinson also returned some kicks and punts for the Golden Knights.
Like we've done with the first two picks, we'll give you some highlights of what Rick Spielman had to say about the newest Viking along with hearing from the draftee himself. As usual, we'll provide full unedited audio of both the press conference and conference call. Since you know, we're still
fake members of the media this weekend.
With ten draft picks heading into Friday night, the Vikings could have dealt a pick or two to get more involved. Spielman said that was a possibility, but they had the players on their board to stay put at #66 overall.
"We got a lot of phone calls wondering whether we wanted to move up or sit. We were focusing on a corner and you can see [at that point in the draft] right there in that wheelhouse where those corners started running. All of those corners were in play for us."
"We wanted to stay patient. I don't want to lose all the ammunition we have for [Saturday]. We did get a lot of calls about trading into the second round."
Casey Hayward went to the Packers at the end of the second round, but as soon as Dwayne Allen went to the Colts Spielman knew that the Vikings would get one of their guys. He claimed that Hayward, Trumaine Johnson, and Robinson were all ranked about the same on their board. (You'll never get more than that out of Spielman when it comes to his board rankings.) He was very high on Robinson's physical abilities--he used the phrase "tremendous upside" at least three times when describing the young cornerback.
Cornerback definitely seemed to be the target position for Spielman as opposed to another need for the Vikings, wide receiver:
I think it's a deeper receiver class. I think there's going to be some quality receivers coming up [Saturday]. We'll see where they stack up. There are some quality defensive linemen, some quality linebackers, so we'll see how it stacks up. There are some quality offensive linemen still too.
Josh Robinson spoke to the media from a gathering at his church, so it was a little difficult hearing him. There were a few questions that had to be repeated and a few pauses for him to address well wishers coming up to him during the call. But when the communication was there, he was able to convey his enthusiasm about being drafted and his confidence coming to the next level:
"I'm just thankful that [the Vikings] did draft me to give me the opportunity to prove to the world that I can get it done. I come from a great school that's prepared me to face anything, especially under Coach George O'Leary."
"I have the abilities to be a shutdown corner, to be one of the best corners in the game. [Leaving early] gave me the motivation to pursue this career and accomplish my goals."
Robinson acknowledged that he didn't return many kicks in college due to focusing solely on corner, but he's excited about the opportunity to do so in the NFL. With his athletic ability, it's certainly a possibility.
And of course since Robinson is a Florida kid, he had to answer the requisite Minnesota questions about snow and cold before we let him go.
Click the players below for full audio. It should be a wild day of Vikings drafting tomorrow!
Rick Spielman - Robinson Press Conference
Josh Robinson Conference Call