CLEMSON, S.C. — Andrew Booth, Jr. has a chip on his shoulder.
The cornerback was selected in the second round Friday night by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2022 NFL Draft. And though he appreciates the opportunity the Vikings are giving him as the 42nd overall pick, he cannot wait to prove the other 31 teams who passed over him wrong.
“There is a chip, and don’t get me wrong, I am super excited and super blessed to be here and to be a Viking,” Booth said on the team’s official website Vikings.com. “I don’t want anybody to get that twisted, but there is definitely a chip there. So, I am going to carry that, and I am going to bring it with me to Minnesota and we are going to get it rocking.”
A lot of draft analysts felt Booth was first round talent. However, he fell out of the first round when five other cornerbacks were taken before him. Then three others came off the board before him in the first nine picks of the second round.
The Vikings, who had earlier traded back from No. 34 to 52 in the second round, moved back up in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts to grab Booth at No. 42.
The First-Team All-ACC cornerback fell out of the first round because teams were concerned about his health. According to the Vikings, Booth underwent hernia surgery in April of 2021 and then had another procedure in March of 2022, which prevented him from participating on the field at the NFL Scouting Combine and at Clemson's Pro Day.
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“I watched him and loved the style of play he has," Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said when talking with the Minnesota media. “(Ryan Grigson) always says this term, ‘It matters.’ It looks like it matters to him out there. We’re watching him play, but he didn’t show up at the combine. So, you’re doing your research, and I call the agent. His agent put me in touch with his trainer.
“So, I’m talking to the trainer, ‘Hey, what was he running? How’s he doing?’ And he goes, ‘Hey, Kwes, this guy has never been healthy. He’s had this hernia thing his whole [college] career and he’s getting it fixed.’ So, you think about that, and I thought he was a pretty good player as it is. So, the chance to be even better was too good of a possibility to pass up. Ultimately, that’s why we came up in the draft.”
Booth will report for rookie minicamp on May 14.
“Man, it is a beautiful thing,” Booth said about being drafted. “Now, I am super excited to just put those pads back on and show these people what it is.”
Both was a two-year starter at Clemson and led the team in interceptions last year with three picks. He also had five passes broken up and recorded 39 tackles.
Booth’s selection gave Clemson at least one Top 50 pick in all but two drafts since 2006. He becomes the 17th Clemson defensive back drafted during Dabo Swinney’s head coaching tenure and the third drafted by the Vikings in that span.
“They are getting, first of all, a great person with a great spirit to him,” Swinney said in a release from the school. “[He is] a guy that loves to play. From a football standpoint, they’re getting a rare corner: long, explosive, fast, a physical tackler at the corner position, which is really not always the case, with great ball skills. Very instinctive guy, and I think a guy that helps the team right away.”
From 2019-21, Booth appeared in 35 career games at Clemson with 15 starts. He finished his collegiate career credited with 75 tackles (5.5 for loss), 10 pass breakups, five interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery (which he returned 21 yards for a touchdown).