When the Minnesota Vikings traded up in the 5th round with the Indianapolis Colts, I was expecting the Vikings to make a flashy pick or perhaps nab someone who can contribute immediately. So when it was announced that the Vikings had selected defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy out of LSU, initially I was a bit surprised.
I understood that the Vikings needed to add depth to the defensive line, so the pick wasn’t completely out of left field. However, It’s clear that Roy is much more of a developmental prospect, in the same way that fellow 5th-round pick Esezi Otomewo was coming out of college. Thus, Roy isn’t likely to get a ton of snaps this season with veterans Dean Lowry and Jonathan Bullard firmly in the mix at defensive end.
Another thing I struggled to understand is why the Vikings felt the need to trade up for Roy. It’s not like there was a run on defensive tackles late in the 4th round or early in the 5th round. After the Vikings selected fellow LSU teammate Jay Ward with the 134th pick, three quarterbacks were selected along with two edge rushers and a cornerback. So there was no real urgency to trade up to that spot.
So why did the Vikings trade up for Jaquelin Roy? I believe that Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones had a big influence on the Vikings drafting Jaquelin Roy. Jones was the defensive coordinator at LSU in 2021, but only spent a year there before being relieved of his duties. However, during that time he got to coach Jaquelin Roy.
In an interview with 9Sports, Daronte Jones said he and former defensive line coach Andre Carter rode Roy harder than any player in practice. The reason for this was that they saw the potential Roy had, and they wanted him to live up to it. Under the tutelage of Daronte Jones, Roy had the best season of his collegiate career. So much so, that PFF even did a Way-Too-Early Mock Draft which had Roy being drafted with the 7th overall pick by the New York Giants.
After the dismissal of Jones, the LSU Tigers hired Brian Kelly as their new defensive coordinator. The change in coordinators forced Roy into a new role as more of a run-stuffing nose tackle, which ended up having a negative impact on his performance. This doesn’t really show up on the stat sheet due to the position he plays, but Roy looked a lot more comfortable when he was playing defensive end than he was at nose tackle.
The decision to trade up for Jaquelin Roy was not a reactive decision. There’s a decent chance that Roy would’ve been available at pick 158 anyways, so one could make the argument that the Vikings didn’t necessarily need to trade up to draft him. Especially since there was not a single interior defensive lineman that was drafted between Minnesota’s two 5th-round picks. The Vikings trading up for Jaquelin Roy was a defensive maneuver.
Clearly, the Vikings coaching staff think very highly of Roy. The team must’ve felt that the upside Jaquelin brings compared to everyone else who was available at his position, was significant enough to merit trading up in the draft for. While it’s too early to tell if Jaquelin will ever reach his potential, at least we know that the trade for Jaquelin Roy was likely spearheaded by none other than former LSU Tigers defensive coordinator Daronte Jones.