NFL Combine Winners: Defensive Tackles Who Could Interest Vikings
This was a huge week in the draft process for the Vikings, as they flocked to Indianapolis to interview and observe many of the prospects on their big board during the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.
A prospect's game tape from college is the most important thing in their evaluation. But their interviews, measurements, medical reviews, athletic testing, and drill performances at the combine go a long way, too. With that in mind, let's go over some of the biggest winners from this year's combine at positions of need for the Vikings.
We start with the defensive tackle position. While cornerback and offensive line get much of the attention, the Vikings have a major need at defensive tackle, with Linval Joseph's production declining with age and Shamar Stephen offering an insufficient amount of pass-rushing ability at the three-technique spot. Both 2019 starters could be cap casualties, and the young depth pieces on the roster (Jaleel Johnson, Armon Watts) are far from sure things.
Here are a few players who could interest the Vikings after strong weeks in Indy.
Ross Blacklock, TCU
There's an undisputed top tier at the defensive tackle position in Auburn's Derrick Brown and South Carolina's Javon Kinlaw, both of whom could be top-10 picks. After that, there are several players competing for the IDL3 spot, which could mean a late first-round selection. Plenty of experts had Blacklock leading the way heading into the combine, and he did nothing to change their minds in Indy. At 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, Blacklock posted solid marks in athletic testing, including a 4.9-second 40-yard dash. But where he really shined was in the on-field drills, showing off impressive footwork and agility. Blacklock could be a possibility for the Vikings at No. 25 overall, especially if some of their top offensive tackles and corners are off the board.
Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
Another guy competing with Blacklock for IDL3 is Madubuike, who showed off his remarkable athleticism at the combine. The 293-pound Madubuike ran a 4.83-second 40, posted a 7.37-second three-cone drill, and did 31 reps on the bench press. All three of those marks were among the best among interior defensive linemen. Those testing numbers, when combined with his eye-popping explosiveness on film, could potentially vault Madubuike into the first round.
Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
Gallimore is another name to know in the second tier of defensive tackles (as is Auburn's Marlon Davidson). He started generating significant buzz after a dominant week at the Senior Bowl, and as expected, was impressive in Indy. Gallimore's 4.79 40 at 304 pounds was remarkable and confirms the speed that shows up on tape. His burst and motor make him an exciting interior pass-rushing prospect. The thing with Gallimore, Madubuike, Blacklock, and Davidson is that they all might be considered reaches with the 25th pick, but it's unlikely any of them make it to the Vikings' second pick at No. 58 overall. Rick Spielman might want to move around in the first two rounds for value reasons if the Vikings are enamored with one of these guys.
DaVon Hamilton, Ohio State
Moving into the middle and later rounds, Hamilton is a nose tackle who could be a potential replacement for Joseph at a fraction of the cost. He led all defensive players with 33 bench press reps, and showed off some solid athleticism at 6-foot-4, 320 pounds. I had Hamilton going to the Vikings in the fourth round in my last seven-round mock draft, but his stock may have risen enough that he won't last that long.
Khalil Davis, Nebraska
Davis made himself some money this week. At 308 pounds, he posted a freaky combination of a 4.75 40 (fastest among all DTs) and 32 bench press reps (trailing only Hamilton). That 40 time is historically fast for a 300-plus pound defensive lineman. Davis doesn't have ideal length, but he's an intriguing three-technique player who the Vikings could target on Day 3.
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