With the 184th pick in the NFL Draft, the Vikings selected Vederian (vuh-DARE-ee-an) Lowe, OL, Illinois. The Vikings entered the draft with this pick and didn’t trade it.
Vederian Lowe was ranked 225th on the consensus big board, and the 21st ranked offensive tackle.
Lowe played tackle at Illinois and could either compete at swing tackle or move inside to guard, where he has a higher RAS score. But he has ideal arm length to play at tackle too.
Lowe turned 23 in April.
COLLEGE GRADES AND STATS
Lowe was a 3-star recruit out of high school, and took his only Power 5 college offer from Illinois, where he grew up. He took advantage of his extra year of eligibility due to Covid in 2021, his fifth year as a starter. He started a total of 49 games at left tackle, and 3 at right tackle his freshman year. He was Honorable Mention All-B1G his last two seasons.
PFF didn’t produce a full analysis of Vederian Lowe, but they did assign the following grades:
2021: 80.2 overall, 80.3 run block, 82.3 zone run block, 60.2 gap run block, 72.2 pass block.
2020: 71.3 overall
2019: 73.5 overall
Dane Brugler, The Athletic:
STRENGTHS: Looks the part with outstanding arm length ... uses footwork to widen his base and stay centered ... adjusts his slide quickness to answer the counters of pass rushers ... flashes the strength in his hands to strike and stay connected ... keeps his feet firing to create movement in the run game ... his penalties declined each season, attracting just two flags as a super-senior (one false start, one holding) ... married and mature family man with dependable character ... durable; set the school record for career starts at Illinois (52), including 46 consecutively ... was a three-year starter at right tackle in high school and has functional experience at both tackle spots.
WEAKNESSES: His pads start high and remain high ... needs to improve his lower-body bend to sink his hips and anchor at the point of attack ... his range as a pass blocker is average and NFL wide speed will be a challenge ... too much of a catch blocker and his hands lack precision and placement ... doesn’t stay controlled when working up a level ... can be caught off guard by twists and delays ... his upper half gets overextended in the run game, sacrificing his balance ... didn’t play a snap on the interior of the offensive line in college.
SUMMARY: A five-year starter at Illinois, Lowe has been a fixture at left tackle for the Illini in former offensive coordinator Tony Petersen’s zone-based scheme. Despite cycling through three different offensive coordinators and three different offensive line coaches over the last five years, he got better each season and proved his durability with the most starts in school history. Lowe is a mature, developed player with the footwork to adjust to targets in space and allow his long arms to work for him. His pad level can get away from him and he needs to be a more consistent leverage blocker. Overall, Lowe is an average athlete and tends to be over-reliant on his upper half, but he stays under control to square up defenders as a pass blocker or drive them in the run game. He is prepared to compete for an NFL backup job as a rookie.
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Lance Zierlein, nfl.com:
Offensive line prospect who checks multiple boxes in both the traits and intangibles categories. Evaluators are sure to love Lowe’s personal character as well as his measurables. He’s big, strong and long but needs to play with better hand accuracy and technique to fully unlock those traits. Bend and athleticism are both strengths for Lowe, who is a scheme-independent talent. He’s allowed too many pressures and sacks during his career but has the tools for rapid improvement with a few coaching fixes. Lowe is worthy of middle-round consideration as a swing tackle with guard potential.
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Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network:
Vederian Lowe was someone who impressed me on film.
The underclassman left tackle blocks with leverage and strength and is moderately effective in motion. He has a next-level frame and makes great use of positioning and angles to seal defenders from the action.
I would like to see Lowe develop a nasty streak, and he is very likely to move to the right side or inside to guard at the next level.
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Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network:
Illinois offensive tackle Vederian Lowe is an intriguing prospect who appears to offer a number of enticing tools to work with at the next level. Lowe is a long-tenured starter with the Illini program who logged a program-record 52 career starts. It is difficult to ignore the step forward in play that Lowe took this past season under the direction of head coach Bret Bielema. Lowe has prototypical tackle size and measurables and did well in each of the games studied in regards to both pass protection and effective play at the point of attack. Lowe isn’t someone who should be considered a finished product and he is an older prospect, but I find myself intrigued by the flashes of improvement he’s illustrated. If Lowe is able to land in an environment with an effective offensive line coach, this is someone I could absolutely see being a starter down the road. Lowe is mature off the field, too—he’s married with two children and has illustrated an impressive ability to balance school, athletics, and family life, so he gives the impression of someone that already brings a professional mentality to the game. Lowe, a Shrine Bowl participant, is one of my personal favorite day-three offensive tackle prospects.
Ideal role: Developmental starting left tackle
Scheme tendencies: Scheme diverse
Balance: Lowe carries his weight well and was not stressed when tasked with getting outside on the perimeter. He does well to recover his balance when taking lateral contact or punches. He does well to keep his base active after contact to ensure he doesn’t fall off his blocks.
Pass Sets: Lowe has enough functional mobility for me to believe that he can play on the edge and protect the edge. He played in a high run-volume offense for effectively his entire career—the Illini never averaged more than 28 pass attempts per game across all five seasons of play. His angles, as a result, can be irregular and he’ll be forced to bail early off his set. But when faced with tight-angle rushers or when not stressed with pure speed from wide angles, he clearly has the foot speed to frame effectively.
Competitive Toughness: I’ve watched Lowe on a number of plays ride defenders through the end of the whistle, playing chippy and riding them well out of the frame. He’s got good functional strength and when he’s on his base and well-timed with his hands, he can deliver quite the stun. He can have his power compromised by poor technique and will need to continue to focus on hands and timing to play at a sustainable level for the pros.
Lateral Mobility: Lowe is sufficient in his lateral agility and ability to string out the point of attack. He’s turned out the end man on the line of scrimmage in multiple games and successfully transitioned to steer them out of the frame. His short-area agility when oversetting appears to be at a level that can help him protect versus inside counters in a more high volume, dropback passing offense.
Length: Lowe has a prototypical build for playing on the edge in the NFL. He’s got a broad torso and plenty of reach in his wingspan to pay with a large area of influence.
Football IQ: This is a highly experienced starter who seemed to really take to Bielema’s coaching and presence in 2021. I am intrigued about how much further his technical advancements can continue, as he’s a high-tools prospect who will meet thresholds to be considered a tackle. His ability to identify twists and stunts up front in pass protection is a big plus.
Hand Technique: His placement on first contact can be wide and I would like to see continued attention paid to resetting hands to work and get an inside fit—too often he was content with high and outside placement. He has shown a strong clamp to seal leverage and control a gap. Grip strength at full extension is strong to help him maintain control of blocks.
Anchor Ability: His raw ability to sit down on power rushes is notable when he isn’t stressed and trying to flip and carry off the edge. He handled exchanges on twists and stunts well to get fully framed and absorb contact before sitting down on his hips. His punch timing and hand placement are going to go a long way in determining his consistency here.
Power at POA: I was impressed watching him against the EDGE defenders of Penn State and Wisconsin—both of which he had a significant size advantage over but still managed to apply that power on the edge. He’s got good upper-body strength and sufficient leg drive and foot speed.
Versatility: The Illini have taken opportunities to cook up unbalanced lines and put him on the right side, but I would generally consider him to be a left tackle first and foremost. He moves well enough to stay sticky in zone and has enough power to uproot and move defenders in gap concepts.
FIT WITH THE VIKINGS
While Vederian Lowe could compete at swing tackle, I get the sense from the Vikings scout who commented on him, Chisom Opara, that the Vikings will look at him inside at guard. Opara talked about Lowe’s position versatility and that he has the body type to play guard. He also talked about the Vikings being more of a mid-zone team now rather than a wide-zone team, and the impact that had on the type of offensive linemen they select. They’re looking for guys who have the footwork and enough athleticism for the mid-zone scheme, but who can also ‘dent’ opposing defenders, suggesting a greater preference for size and power. I doubt he’d have gone down this road if the intent was to keep him at tackle. The bottom line here is that they’re okay with good, not great athleticism if that also means greater size and power at the point of attack. Lowe has that.
But from his game film, he isn’t particularly dominant nor a consistent finisher. He seems to depend a lot on winning with his hands and length, and when he doesn’t win the hand fighting, he tends to lose the rep. He’s a little awkward at times as well, which leads you to think he could have more difficulty with more polished pass rushers in the NFL. He’s not someone who’s going to give up bull rushes, and some of his difficulties may be mitigated with a move inside, but that remains to be seen.
Overall, Lowe showed a jump in performance his last season with the Illini, but still needing to improve his technique after five seasons in Illinois may be a bit of a red flag. If he continues to improve under NFL coaching, he could work his way up the depth chart, but he’s unlikely to be active for games as a rookie.
Lowe is #79 and playing left tackle.
What level will Vederian Lowe reach in the NFL?
This poll is closed
Top 20% of guards or tackles
Above average starting guard or tackle
Average starting guard or tackle
Below average starting guard or tackle
He won’t be a starter