The Minnesota Vikings picked Josh Metellus with pick No. 205 in the sixth round and may have found a late-round contributor in doing so. Sixth-round picks usually don't move the needle much, and that was pretty much the case with Metellus, but Will Ragatz of Inside The Vikings thinks the pick deserves a strong grade.
"I think people generally viewed it as a solid, late-round pick," Ragatz said. "He’s a guy that could potentially outperform that spot. I honestly didn’t know much about him right away. I think one of the scouting reports I read said that he had a fifth-round grade and that if he got on the field he might win the job and not give it back."
Michigan fans know what Metellus can and can't do, and Ragatz, along with other members of the Vikings media, are starting to figure it out as well.
"It seems to me, from what I read and from the clips I’ve seen, that he’s a versatile safety," Ragatz said. "He’s got some coverage ability and some downhill ability in the box. There might be some athletic limitations, which was why he was a late, day-three guy, but overall he’s solid. He’s from a program like Michigan and was very productive there over the last three years. He’s got some interceptions and tackles for loss so he does a lot.
"One of the depth safeties the Vikings lost is Jayron Kearse, a seventh rounder from 2016 out of Clemson. He was kind of a tweener. He was a big guy (6-4, 215 pounds) who played in the box a lot but covered a little bit. He’d check tight ends in man and stuff like that. I always thought he could play some linebacker a little bit so I do think there could be a role like that for Metellus."
Metellus does have some position versatility, but he might not actually need it. The Vikings are thin at his most natural position, which could result in earlier playing time than most sixth rounders get.
"The Vikings need safeties," Ragatz stated. "Coming into this draft they only had two on the entire roster — Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris. Those guys are arguably two of of the top three or four safeties in the league, but that’s it. They got Metellus in the sixth round and then drafted Brian Cole in the seventh round and they also took Harrison Hand out of Temple in the fifth round. He’s a corner but there’s some talk that he could move to safety. They also picked up undrafted free agent Myles Dorn out of North Carolina, so I think those young guys will compete for some backup roles and depth. That’s a lot of good, young guys competing for the third and fourth safety role, which would come with some snaps in sub packages and things like that."
No matter where Metellus plays, he's going to be clawing for a roster spot and trying to prove himself. A lot of times that comes with special teams duties, which Metellus has done before.
"The Vikings put a lot of emphasis on special teams so I think you have to look at him there," Ragatz explained. "I think any time you get a late-round defensive back, you have to see if they’ll contribute on special teams. Maybe it’s as a gunner or any type of coverage unit. He doesn’t seem like a return guy, so he’ll have to prove his value elsewhere.
"Normally I'd say he'd start out there, but given the lack of depth behind the top two safeties, there might be a path to seeing some defensive snaps relatively quickly, too. I don’t know if the Vikings are going to bring a veteran safety — I would assume probably not — so there will be some good competition there."