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SB Nation Writers’ Mock Draft: Why we selected Christian Darrisaw

How did we get here?

NCAA Football: Old Dominion at Virginia Tech Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we’re single-digit days away from the 2021 NFL Draft, the folks from the entire SB Nation family of NFL sites have been putting together the annual writers' mock draft. Today, the pick for the Minnesota Vikings came up, as you may or may not have already seen, and I wanted to explain why I went in the direction that I did.

To review, here are the first 13 picks. If you want to read more about all of them, you can check out the full stream right here.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
  2. New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, Brigham Young
  3. San Francisco 49ers - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
  4. Atlanta Falcons - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
  5. Cincinnati Bengals - Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Louisiana State
  6. Miami Dolphins - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
  7. Detroit Lions - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
  8. Carolina Panthers - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
  9. Denver Broncos - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
  10. Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
  11. New York Giants - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
  12. Philadelphia Eagles - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
  13. Los Angeles Chargers - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Now, we haven’t really talked about what the Vikings’ biggest need is after the free agent signings had taken place. We’ve seen in our Mock Draft Database thus far that the experts are pretty much split as to whether the Vikings should make the offensive or the defensive line their top priority.

The Vikings have devoted their resources this offseason almost entirely to the defense, from Dalvin Tomlinson to Patrick Peterson in free agency, getting Michael Pierce back into the fold, and getting guys like Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr, and Eric Kendricks back from injury. That offseason focus, coupled with the release of Riley Reiff, led me to believe that this pick would be best served going towards the offensive line.

With Sewell and Slater off the board, the choice for me came down to either Christian Darrisaw or Alijah Vera-Tucker. While Vera-Tucker did play left tackle at USC this past season, the consensus seems to be that he’s better suited to play guard in the NFL. Since I really don’t want to see the Vikings do a bunch of shuffling around on the offensive line (let’s move Brian O’Neill here, and then we’ll move Ezra Cleveland here, and so on), taking the pure left tackle seemed like the smart choice.

And, I’ll be honest. . .while the defensive line is a need, there aren’t really any of the edge guys that I think are worth the pick at #14. I think that they become options of the Vikings trade down in this year’s draft, but since I couldn’t do that in our writers’ mock, I didn’t want to take any of them at this spot.

With Darrisaw in the fold, four of the five spots on the offensive line for the Vikings would be set and, honestly, pretty solid. O’Neill and Cleveland remain at right tackle and right guard and Garrett Bradbury stays in the pivot, and Darrisaw slots straight in at left tackle from Day 1. I think that would make the offense a whole lot better to start the season.

That’s why yours truly selected Christian Darrisaw with the 14th pick in the 2021 SB Nation NFL Writers’ Mock Draft.

What do you think of the pick, folks?