The Vikings looked to add depth to their offensive line at guard by drafting Danny Isidora in the 5th round - 180th overall. In doing so, they look for an eventual replacement for Joe Berger, who may be in his last year at age 35.
Overall, Isidora seems a better fit for the new Vikings offense, with more use of zone-blocking, rather than the old one under Norv Turner which relied more on a power blocking scheme.
From his NFL Draft Profile, Isidora seems to check all the boxes in terms of desired traits at guard: 6’3”, 306lbs. is good size, 33” arms are good for an interior lineman, he benched 26 reps which was also good, and he is described as having a “thick bubble” to provide a good anchor, light feet and agility. Additionally, he has 3 full years playing RG at Miami, so his experience is good too.
The only negative on Isidora in his draft profile is that he is prone to a wide-stance, which can, and apparently did, hurt him against bull rushes at the Senior Bowl practices. Interestingly, however, in his PFF profile it states that he had plenty of exposure against bullrushes at Miami, and he was rarely found wanting. In any case, correcting a wide-stance is very coachable, and he seems to otherwise have the bulk and strength to handle bullrushes, so with a little fine-tuning, that technique issue should be corrected.
He was the 5th highest ranked guard of the PFF draft rankings this year, and had the 2nd best pass-blocking efficiency on 3rd downs of all the guards in the draft. Among the top guard prospects in the draft, Isidora looks pretty good for a 5th round pick across a range of key skills for guards measured by PFF in the chart below. Isidora is 2nd from the top.
Overall, Isidora has been good in both pass protection- especially last season at Miami, and usually good as a run-blocker, but could use to clean-up some issues with his back-side blocking, among other things. But there really doesn’t appear to be any terribly concerning problems with Isidora, just some technique issues to address and hopefully improve and/or eliminate with good coaching and development.
Given that Isidora isn’t being asked to start this year, having a year to work on his technique and any other issues could put him in good position to compete for the right-guard position after Joe Berger retires.
Isidora may face competition from TJ Clemmings, among others, for a guard position, as PFF reported that Clemmings has once again been taking reps at right guard and tackle. Clemmings was given some reps at guard in the past, but it didn’t work out well. Perhaps this time around it will be different, but who knows.
In any case, Isidora seems a solid right-guard prospect that may need only limited development time to be ready to compete for the starting job. Unfortunately developing offensive linemen has not been a strong-suit of the Vikings coaching staff in recent years- hence all the starters on the offensive line but probably Elflein are free-agent acquisitions rather than draft picks.
Nevertheless, developing a guy like Isidora seems eminently do-able, and with any luck he may prove to be a quality starter for the Vikings in the not too distant future.