Four Players the Vikings Shouldn't (or Won't) Draft in the First Round
With two first round picks and a plethora of needs to address, the Vikings have no shortage of options when it comes to players they could select on Day 1. However, as I peruse mock drafts, I've seen several names come up that don't make a lot of sense. Whether it's because the Vikings are unlikely to pick them or because there are reasons to be concerned about their value, here are five players the Vikings should avoid in the first round.
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Despite a certain recent situation where his older brother essentially forced his way out of Minnesota, there are still a lot of experts projecting the Vikings to take Trevon Diggs in the first round. That includes ESPN's Todd McShay, who projected Diggs to the Vikings with the No. 25 pick in his latest mock draft. Yes, the Vikings need cornerbacks. Yes, Diggs is an intriguing prospect because of his length, physicality, and ball skills.
But I don't see it happening. It would be an awkward addition in the locker room and an unnecessary risk. NFL Network analyst Charles Davis concurs, saying recently that "more than likely, he's not under consideration for Minnesota." Besides the obvious, there are also reasons to question Diggs' value as a potential first-round pick, including his lackluster tackling skills and a tendency to get over-aggressive at the line of scrimmage.
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
The Stefon Diggs trade made wide receiver an even bigger need than it already was, and that has become one of the most common positions the Vikings are projected to address in the first round. But if they do go for a first-round wideout, it shouldn't be Higgins.
With Higgins, there is some serious risk of a Laquon Treadwell repeat. Higgins ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash at Clemson's pro day, with a very slow 1.66 10-yard split and a disappointing 31-inch vertical. That creates concerns about his ability to create separation at the NFL level. Higgins was highly productive with 2,100 yards and 25 touchdowns over the past two seasons, but the Vikings should target a more athletic receiver in the first round or wait and capitalize on a deep WR class on Day 2.
Austin Jackson, OT, USC
When it comes to the offensive tackle class in this year's draft, there's a pretty clear top five. There's the big four of Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas, and Mekhi Becton, all of whom are expected to be taken in the top half of the first round, if not the top 11 picks. Then there's Houston tackle Josh Jones, who has frequently been linked to the Vikings late in the first round. But if Jones is off the board as well, the Vikings could still be tempted to take a tackle with the possibility of seeing the cupboard go bare by the time pick No. 58 rolls around.
With that in mind, they should avoid reaching for Jackson in the first. His mobility makes him a good fit for the Vikings' zone-blocking scheme, but there are far too many concerns about Jackson's technique in pass protection at this stage of his development to warrant a Day 1 selection. He tends to play upright and fails to get consistent leverage and balance. Jackson's footwork and processing need a lot of work, and he could stand to add strength to help him anchor against bull rushes. His upside would be interesting on Day 2, but the Vikings should steer clear in the first round.
Any defensive end
I already dove deep on this, but it bears repeating: the Vikings aren't going to take a defensive end in the first round. If LSU's K'Lavon Chaisson were to fall to 22, there might be some "best player available" appeal, but that's unlikely. Beyond him, I can't see the Vikings using a first-round pick on AJ Epenesa, Yetur Gross-Matos or Zack Baun, based on Rick Spielman's historical tendencies. Grab one of these raw, high-upside guys in the third or fourth round instead.
Join the conversation at InsideTheVikings by clicking the follow button in the upper right-hand corner of this page, and follow @WillRagatz on Twitter.