The Vikings moved up in the fourth round to take Dru Samia (suh-MEE-ah), a guard out of Oklahoma, with the 114th pick overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Rick Spielman said he was the highest ranked player on their board at the time, so let’s see why the Vikings made the move to get him.
Nasty Scheme Fit
Looking at Samia’s measureables, he’s close to average among offensive linemen in just about every one. About average size and athleticism across the board - and yet he’s often noted for his athleticism in scouting reports. He’s also thought to be on the small side for a guard, but at 305lbs. that’s pretty close to average these days.
In any case, Samia brings a lot of experience - he was a 4-year starter at Oklahoma with 48 career starts for the Sooners. His first year was at right tackle, and the remaining years at right guard. During his time at Oklahoma, he was seen as a leader among the offensive line group, setting the tone with his nasty, physical demeanor - which remains his leading characteristic.
Oklahoma ran a lot of zone blocking, which is a strength for Samia, and makes him a good fit for the Vikings in Kubiak’s offense. Moreover, having played guard, rather than a tackle prospect more suited to play guard in the NFL, Samia is positioned to compete for a starting guard spot in training camp.
In meetings during the pre-draft process, Samia said that many teams asked him about his physicality and brawler style of play. Of course most teams liked his physicality, intensity and heart with which he plays, but also talked about prioritizing technique ever so slightly over his physical style of play. The reason, and this shows up on tape on occasion, is that sometimes he seems to prefer his mauling style over proper technique, which can get him in trouble against more adept defenders.
So there are technique issues for Samia to clean up and improve. These may not necessarily be new techniques he needs to learn, but rather becoming more consistent and disciplined with techniques he already knows and uses.
Last season Samia allowed no sacks, 2 QB hits and 9 QB hurries over 440 pass blocking
snaps, leading to a 98.8% pass blocking efficiency rate, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). His run-blocking success rate was 90.9%. Those measures ranked 26th and 30th respectively among guards in this year’s draft class. He also had 3 penalties.
By comparison, perhaps the top pure guard in this year’s draft class - Chris Lindstrom - had a pass blocking efficiency of 99.5%, and a run blocking success rate of 91.8%. In other words, Lindstrom had about 8 fewer negative snaps (4 each in run and pass blocking) last year than Samia over a roughly 870 snap season.
Here are some scouting report summaries on Dru Samia:
A four-year starter at Oklahoma who locked down the right tackle spot as a true freshman before moving to guard for his final three seasons, Samia is one of the smallest guards in the class, but his size is rarely an issue on tape. Highly athletic and extremely technical, Samia uses rare explosiveness and the ability to find leverage points to surprise his opponents, maneuvering them out of gaps in the run game with ease.
Of course, the NFL will provide a different level of defensive line talent than he faced in the Big 12, especially as pass rushers. Where Samia was often uncovered at the snap or had to deal primarily with bull rushes or defenders twisting inside off of a game, in the NFL he’ll face more complicated rush plans and superior athletes. How he fares against Alabama in the playoffs and at the Senior Bowl will be huge, but right now Samia looks like a lock to come off the board early in day two. - John Ledyard, TDN
Samia is already a physical, impactful blocker with a mean streak – traits that can’t be coached or taught at the next level. The bully in him, combined with his above-average athleticism and size, create for a high ceiling at the next level, and if he continues to refine his craft and polish his technique, he’ll reach it in the NFL. - Austin Gayle, PFF
A four-year starter for the Sooners, Samia spent his freshman season at tackle but played the final three years at guard where he projects best to the next level. Samia excels as a zone blocker that knows how to take advantage of angles and connect in space to create space for his running backs. He has good functional strength and a stout anchor. With that said, playing with consistent leverage, improving his hand technique and keeping his feet and upper body synced up is necessary for him to find success in the NFL. If he can clean that up, Samia has the potential to be a quality starter by Year 2/3. I can see him finding an immediate role as a utility blocker. - Joe Marino, TDN
Dru Samia brings needed levels of athletic ability and strength to play as a starting guard at the NFL level. With that said, he has a handful of technical deficiencies that handcuff his balance and ability to set first contact. Samia’s mobility projects best to a zone heavy rushing offense, where he can continue to use short area mobility to leverage defenders at the point of attack. Samia will need to focus on eliminating the “clap” with his hands if he’s to reach his ceiling. - Kyle Crabbs, TDN
Samia is an ideal athlete for the interior who regularly wins by framing rushers and striking early to maximize his length. His ability to tag second-level defenders in space will attract heavy zone teams. - Benjamin Solak, TDN
Here are some game films from 2018 featuring the Oklahoma offensive line. Dru Samia is #75 and plays right guard. The toughest opposition was the Alabama defensive front featuring Raekwon Smith (#99) and Quinnen Williams (#92).
What level will Dru Samia rise to in the NFL?
This poll is closed
Below average starter
Above average starter
Pro Bowler / All-Pro
Future Hall of Famer