Over the course of his time as General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings, Rick Spielman has shown an ability to find talent in the later rounds of the draft that make immediate contributions to the team. The folks from Pro Football Focus have tabbed one of the team’s Day 3 picks as someone that is in a highly favorable situation, and someone that could potentially even start right away.
That player is defensive tackle James Lynch, who the Vikings selected with one of their fourth round picks two months ago. PFF thinks that the big man from Baylor has an opportunity to contribute immediately.
The 3-tech position for the Vikings was a barren wasteland in 2019. Starter Shamar Stephen was one of the most ineffective defensive linemen in the entire NFL and managed all of six pressures on 350 pass-rushing snaps. Conversely, Lynch led all of college football with 70 pressures on 501 pass-rushing snaps for Baylor last season. The Vikings didn’t add anyone else to address the position this offseason, meaning the path looks wide open for Lynch to take the job.
Lynch was ridiculously productive in college in his final year in Waco. He finished the season with 41 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, and 13.5 sacks en route to winning a ton of awards (Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, and First-Team All-American honors). He also had three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, five passes defended, and even blocked two kicks.
As PFF points out, there isn’t a whole lot standing in Lynch’s way if he’s going to make a run at claiming the starting job. Stephen isn’t really a three-technique tackle, at least in my opinion, and while the rest of the Vikings’ options at the position may provide some competition, it’s quite easy to envision Lynch being out there next to the newly-acquired Michael Pierce in the middle of the Minnesota defense when the 2020 season starts.
Do you think that James Lynch can be the starter for the Vikings at defensive tackle in 2020?