While the shock of the Minnesota Vikings using a first-round pick on an offensive lineman is starting to wear off for most of us, there are experts around the internet that are weighing in with their thoughts on the picks that were made in Thursday night’s first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
We’re going to round up a bunch of the grades that are already out there and put them here for your reading pleasure. Let’s find out what the experts think of what Rick Spielman and company did on Thursday night.
I like this pick. It’s a B-plus for me. The Vikings couldn’t move anybody off the line of scrimmage last year. Bradbury is very athletic, not a very big kid, but he can move.
If you’re going to take a center with a top-20 pick, I suppose Garrett Bradbury is the kind of center you take. He has the movement skills and power to develop into a top center. But Minnesota needed a tackle and Andre Dillard, the best pass protector in the class, was on the board and the Vikings passed.
I’ve slotted Garrett Bradbury to the Vikings for several weeks, so I wouldn’t have been surprised by this pick heading into the 2019 NFL Draft. However, I expected them to choose Andre Dillard when he slipped to them. Minnesota apparently wanted to stick to the plan and upgrade the middle of the offensive line. Pat Elflein was the worst center in the NFL last year, so he absolutely needed to be upgraded. Elflein will now move to guard, where he should perform better, meaning the Vikings are getting two upgrades with one pick. This is a good choice, as the Vikings absolutely had to bolster Kirk Cousins’ protection.
Mike Zimmer wants to run the ball and last year’s fired offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo, felt they couldn’t because of shoddy guards. Those guards, Mike Remmers and Tom Compton, are gone. But their replacements, Danny Isidora and Josh Kline, are not much better. Bradbury can take over one of their spots or play his college position at center, moving Pat Elflein to guard. However it shakes out, this is case of player and need meeting together perfectly. New offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski wants to employ an outside-zone scheme to fit Kirk Cousins, who is at his best throwing play-action off those outside zone looks. Bradbury is viewed unequivocally as the best outside zone blocking interior lineman in this draft.
Center is a crucial cog for zone blocking offenses, and the Vikings grab my top-rated player at that position here. Bradbury has quick feet and other-worldly balance, and his innate ability to reach and seal play-side defensive tackles on runs could be the spark that Mike Zimmer needs to ignite the team’s disappointing ground game. The first-team All-American and winner of the Rimington Trophy (as the nation’s top center) is strong in pass protection, plays with an edge, and should be a plug-and-play starter at either center or guard.
Bradbury began his college career at tight end before he (briefly) moved to the defensive line and finally settled at center for the Wolfpack, with whom he won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center during his senior season.
Bradbury is quick-footed, moves well laterally and is nimble when readjusting to strike a second-level defender or blitzer. He verified his athleticism with an excellent combine. On the downside, he’s more likely to get rocked back by his defender than rock him, and he lunges and ends up on the ground too often.
A starter for several seasons at guard and center who has blocked for a variety of NFL players and prospects (quarterback Ryan Finley, running backs Nyheim Hines and Jaylen Samuels), Bradbury is experienced and dependable. He will quickly develop into a capable NFL starter. The crippling ennui of Vikings football aside, this is a fine pick.
A year after giving a massive contract to Kirk Cousins, this is the player the Vikings needed to take. That’s why it became so popular in mock drafts. Bradbury is an athletic center who will get up on the second level in the run game. As a pass blocker, he has quick feet to mirror defenders. With him at center, Pat Elflein can move to guard. Suddenly the Vikings have bolstered their interior in front of Cousins.
Another great matchup of need and value, Bradbury is the best interior blocker in this class, and the Vikings desperately need to reload the offensive line across the board. There’s not a flaw in Bradbury’s game, and he’ll be an immediate upgrade inside for Minnesota.
Bradbury is athletic and tough, considered one of the best center prospects to be picked in some time. Minnesota’s offensive line was in dire need of improvement so this selection will make quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook extremely happy.
We’ll add some more grades to this as we find them, but this is a pretty good start for now. For the most part, the reception appears to be positive. . .I’m not sure what the guy that gave the pick a C- was thinking, except that he apparently doesn’t watch many Vikings games. But, I think it was a good pick, and judging from our early polling, most of you do as well.