Most of us expected the Minnesota Vikings to address their need on the offensive line in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but they opted for Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes. Instead, they addressed the position in Round 2, and it could mean important things for another Vikings’ offensive line starter.
With the 62nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings have selected Brian O’Neill, an offensive tackle from the University of Pittsburgh.
O’Neill is a former tight end that switched to offensive tackle in 2015. He started for most of the past three seasons at right tackle for the Panthers, but has been used in other roles, and even scored two touchdowns for the Panthers this past season. To that end, in 2016 he won SB Nation’s “Piesman Trophy” award that celebrates (for lack of a better term) fat guy touchdowns.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared O’Neill to current Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jake Fisher, who was once a #2 overall pick.
O’Neill has good length and is a terrific athlete, but his inconsistencies at the Senior Bowl practices will be hard for teams to get out of their minds. What might be even more troubling is the way he seemed to panic and lose technique in certain matchups. O’Neill is a classic zone scheme blocker, but teams may take a look at him as a move guard with tackle potential rather than locking in with him as a blind-side tackle. O’Neill needs to get thicker and stronger or swing tackle could be his ceiling.
As far as his fit with the Vikings, you’d have to figure that O’Neill slots in as the starting right tackle, which means that the move of Mike Remmers inside to guard figures to be permanent. The Vikings haven’t drafted O’Neill to sit on the bench, so here’s hoping that he can gain the consistency that he needs as we approach the start of the 2018 season.
Welcome to Minnesota, Brian O’Neill!
Congratulations to @Pitt_FB's Brian O'Neill, winner of the 2016 @PiesmanTrophy! pic.twitter.com/ujxBF7nVVv— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 10, 2016
Grade the Minnesota Vikings’ selection of Brian O’Neill at #62 in the 2018 NFL Draft
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