Going into this year’s pre-draft process, Mississippi State cornerback Cameron Dantzler was projected as a potential first-round selection. A Combine performance that was deemed sub-optimal hurt his stock (despite having a pretty solid Pro Day, from all accounts), and he wound up falling into the laps of the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Early returns on Dantzler seem to be pretty good.
Dantzler has been the talk of camp early on, at least in the portions that the media has gotten to see some of and bring us news on. He’s even gotten the attention of a guy that knows a thing or two about what makes a good cornerback in wide receiver Adam Thielen.
“We like him a lot on tape,” Zimmer said of Dantzler. “Adam Thielen came up to me during practice today and said ‘27’s gonna be really good.’ He’s got long arms, he’s got good length.”
I know that it’s way, way too early to ascribe stardom to someone that hasn’t even taken the field in an official NFL game yet. But if guys like Zimmer and Thielen are giving the young man praise already, there might be something to it.
Dantzler is one of the players that is going to be counted on to give the Vikings’ secondary a quick turnaround after losing its top three cornerbacks this past season. He, along with first-round pick Jeff Gladney, will be expected to make contributions very early on. They’ll get an opportunity with the Vikings’ young group at the position.
How young are the Vikings’ corners? Here is the age of every cornerback on the Vikings’ roster at the present time:
- Kris Boyd - 23
- Nevelle Clarke - 23
- Dantzler - 21
- Mark Fields - 23
- Gladney - 23
- Harrison Hand - 21
- Holton Hill - 23
- Mike Hughes - 23
- Nate Meadors - 23
Yes, with the departures of Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander, players like Hughes and Hill are officially the “old guys” in the cornerback room for the Vikings. Those two are both in their third season in the NFL, having joined the Vikings in 2018. Both of them have missed substantial amounts of time for different reasons. . .Hughes because of injuries and Hill because of suspensions. . .but they’re going to be counted on to lead this crew.
If Dantzler and Gladney can get up to speed quickly and Hughes and Hill can stay on the field, the Vikings’ cornerback position can go from a question mark to a strength pretty quickly. Dantzler already appears to be trying to make that happen.