We are officially one week away from the Minnesota Vikings (likely) making their first selections in the 2017 NFL Draft. We’ve looked at what the Vikings’ depth chart on the interior of their offensive line looks like as things stand right now, and I think we can all agree that plenty of help is still needed there. So, let’s have a look at some of the options that the Vikings might have available to them when they get on the clock next Friday.
Dan Feeney, Indiana - Our selection in this year’s SB Nation Writers Mock Draft, Feeney is probably the best pure guard available in this year’s draft. He has played his entire career for the Hoosiers on the right side, and that’s where he figures to be at his best in the National Football League, though he could probably handle the left side if he was asked. He’s had some medical issues in college, including a concussion that caused him to miss four games in 2016, but if the medical questions are answered he would be the answer at right guard for Minnesota for a long time.
Pat Elflein, Ohio State - We’ve talked about Elflein quite a bit, and his big selling point might be his versatility. He started at right guard for the Buckeyes, before sliding over to center in his final season, and excelled in both spots. If he were to come to Minnesota, he would probably start at right guard here as well, and then move over to center starting in 2018. He might be a safer pick than Feeney if the Vikings find themselves having to choose between the two.
Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh - If the Vikings want to get serious about improving their run blocking, Johnson should be a player they’re targeting. He’s a mauler in the run game, and he showed better mobility this past season than he had earlier in his college career. He’s also very good when he gets to the second level. If Feeney and Elflein are both off the board when the Vikings come up at #48, I don’t think selecting Dorian Johnson would be a reach.
Ethan Pocic, Louisiana State - Another player with starting experience at both guard and center, Pocic is another player that could immediately come in and start at either position for Minnesota, depending on what the team wants to do with Joe Berger. He’s very tall for a center at 6’6”, I don’t think that sort of thing is really that big a deal. I’m not sure if Pocic will actually make it to the third, but if he does he should be a top consideration for Rick Spielman.
Dion Dawkins, Temple - Dawkins was a left tackle for the Owls, but projects to be a guard at the NFL level. He’s another player that can be an inside mauler in the run game, but has the athletic ability to make blocks on the move as well. He does have an off-field red flag stemming from an incident at a Philadelphia night club, but it doesn’t appear to be the sort of thing to get too freaked out over.
Nico Siragusa, San Diego State - Siragusa was a power guy at San Diego State, helping to clear the way for Donnel Pumphrey to set the NCAA career rushing record. He’s a very good run blocker, but he doesn’t have the mobility of someone like Dawkins. But, again, if the Vikings are serious about improving their lot in the run game, guys like Siragusa will definitely merit some consideration.
Isaac Asiata, Utah - Asiata was named the best blocker in the Pac-12 by the conference’s defensive linemen in 2016, and for good reason. He’s very powerful, but sometimes has issues when being asked to pull or do things on the move. Also, as is the case with rookies from some of the Utah-based schools, he’s a bit older due to the fact that he did a one-year LDS mission (he’s already 24). And, of course, we’re familiar with his cousin Matt, who played for the Vikings for a number of years.
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia - Unlike a couple of other potential center prospects we’ve talked about, Orlosky appears to be a pure center. He’s not the biggest player, coming in at under 300 pounds, and doesn’t have the upside of Elflein or Pocic at the position, but has the ability to become a solid NFL starter in the pivot.
David Sharpe, Florida - Another player that held down the left tackle spot in college, Sharpe’s future appears to be at guard in the NFL. He’s huge, coming in at 6’5” and around 360 pounds. He had issues with speed rushers in college, which is why he’ll be moving inside at the NFL level. As you’d probably expect, with his size he’s not the most mobile prospect, but has the physical ability to be a dominant run blocker in the future.
Later Rounds (Rounds 5-7)
Damien Mama, Southern Cal - Mama was a starter at both guard spots at USC. . .not at the same time, obviously, though that would be impressive. He lost 75 pounds during his time with the Trojans, having first gotten to USC at the 400-pound mark. He projects best as a right guard in the NFL.
Zach Banner, Southern Cal - Banner played tackle for the Trojans, but is another player whose best fit in the NFL might be on the interior. He’s another massive guy at 6’8” and 360 pounds, and he’s more mobile than you might expect for someone his size.
Danny Isidora, Miami (FL) - Isidora is another “phone booth” type of blocker, although he’s more mobile than you might expect. He’s started every game at right guard for the Hurricanes over the past three seasons after red-shirting due to a foot injury.
Chase Roullier, Wyoming - Roullier has outstanding mobility and pulling ability, due largely to the time he spent at guard for Wyoming before moving inside to center this past season. He doesn’t have NFL-level strength yet, but that’s something that can be worked on with an NFL strength and conditioning program.
That’s a quick look at some. . .again, some. . .of the interior offensive line prospects that the Minnesota Vikings might be targeting in this year’s NFL Draft. We’ll continue our look around the roster as we get closer to draft night.