The Vikings have made their most unique pick of the 2021 draft so far, taking Central Missouri tight end/punter Zach Davidson in the fifth round (No. 168 overall). You know it's an interesting pick when Adam Schefter goes out of his way to tweet about a fifth-rounder.
Davidson was primarily a punter in high school and began his career at UCM there, earning all-conference honors as a punter in all three of his college seasons. He started to get some playing time as a tight end during his sophomore year, and broke out with 894 receiving yards and a school-record 15 touchdown catches as a junior in 2019. He didn't have a 2020 season due to the pandemic.
Standing at 6'7", 245 pounds, Davidson has a long, lanky build. The reason he was picked by the Vikings is that he's a phenomenal athlete who runs a 4.6 40 and makes D-II defenders look silly on tape.
Davidson is obviously extremely raw at tight end because he just started playing the position a couple years ago. He also lacks the build and strength to offer much as a blocker. But his athleticism is obvious and gives him the potential to slowly develop into an intriguing player in the NFL. Davidson will compete with Brandon Dillon to be the Vikings' third tight end, but might be a practice squad candidate in 2021. He'll also presumably be the backup punter to Britton Colquitt. Punting isn't a side gimmick for him, he legitimately has an excellent leg and a lot of experience, albeit at a low level.
Here's Dane Brugler's scouting report on Davidson:
A one-year starter at Central Missouri, Davidson was a tight end in head coach Jim Svoboda’s offense, lining up inline and detached. Once he enrolled with the Mules, he started learning the tight end position as a sophomore in 2018 (primarily a punter in high school) and had an All-American junior season (also earned All-Conference as a punter). Davidson is a very unique prospect due to his unorthodox journey to this point and he has yet to play his best football. However, he is currently at the basement level in terms of his understanding of route-running and coverage and needs extensive strength work. Overall, Davidson has splashy tape with his raw athleticism and receiving skills, but he needs a patient coaching staff willing to invest in his development. He projects as a draft-and-stash tight end and backup punter.
The Vikings have one pick left, No. 199 overall in the sixth round.
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