The Vikings have selected Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis and Pittsburgh edge rusher Patrick Jones with the No. 86 and 90 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, respectively, giving them another rookie offensive lineman with a chance to start right away and a pass rusher with a lot of upside.
After taking QB Kellen Mond and LB Chazz Surratt earlier in the third round, both of whom are developmental prospects at positions that weren't considered major needs, the Vikings addressed their two biggest holes. Davis and Jones should have a great chance to play a lot as rookies.
The Vikings landed Virginia Tech left tackle Christian Darrisaw in the first round and went back to the OL by taking Davis. He was the 53rd-ranked player on Arif Hasan's consensus board, making him the highest-ranked player still available at 86.
Davis played right guard for the Buckeyes, which is where Ezra Cleveland played last year as a rookie. Cleveland did spend some time at left guard in training camp, so I'd imagine he'll move there and Davis will slide into the RG spot. That gives the Vikings an offensive line, from left to right, of Darrisaw, Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Davis, and Brian O'Neill.
That unit has a chance to be the best O-line of the Mike Zimmer era right away in 2021.
Davis was considered a potential first-round pick at one point, but didn't have the dominant 2020 season that some thought he was capable of. Still, he has an incredible combination of balance and power in pass protection, very rarely losing 1-on-1 reps. He's athletic enough to fit the Vikings' zone-blocking scheme in the running game, as well.
Here's the scouting report on Davis from SI's NFL Draft Bible.
After serving in a reserve role his first two seasons with the team, Davis quickly asserted himself as the top offensive lineman on the team and arguably the top interior offensive lineman in the entire country in 2020. Davis is an incredibly physical interior player who plays with a nasty streak in the run game. He asserts his will on opposing defenders. Davis is rocked out in his lower body, easily creating power in some very tight spaces. With plus athleticism for the position, he is able to potentially translate to either a gap power or zone scheme. He demonstrates nice hip positioning, getting aligned well in accordance with the hole. With a nasty demeanor, Davis routinely finishes opposing defenders on the ground with high effort. In pass protection, Davis showcases solid feet to work while maintaining a square base. When posed with powerful defensive linemen, he is able to sit down and shut down power effectively. His feet can get a little lazy at times, which can cause him to have to kick into recovery mode. Davis plays with outstanding physicality, but can get a little overanxious at times. That can cause some problems with lunging in the run game, affecting his balance. If Davis can clean up some small details, there is no reason to believe that he will have to wait until after the second day to hear his name called in April.
Jones, meanwhile, gives the Vikings a pass rusher with a lot of upside. He's got a great frame at 6'5", 260 pounds, and had 17.5 sacks over the past two seasons for the Panthers.
The Vikings needed another edge rusher to come in and compete with veteran Stephen Weatherly and 2020 fourth-rounder D.J. Wonnum at the other defensive spot opposite Danielle Hunter. Jones will have a chance to earn playing time right away if he impresses in training camp. One way the Vikings may use him as a rookie is as an interior pass rusher on third downs.
Here's the scouting report on Jones:
Recording an astounding 51 sacks during the 2019 season, the University of Pittsburgh quietly boasted one of the most outstanding defensive lines in all of college football and that continued into the 2020 season. Among the class of breakout stars for the Panthers, Jones asserted himself as one of the most feared pass rushers in the nation. Sporting a long and athletic body at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, Jones has a projectable frame that should have no problem carrying an additional 10-15 pounds as he continues to bulk up. His length pops off the screen as he possesses prototypical arm length for the edge position. With flexible hips to turn and run around the corner, Jones projects favorably as a speed rusher at the next level. With continued development, he should be able to continue adding inside counters to his pass-rush arsenal. Jones suffers from an inconsistent first step, failing to time up the snap to his advantage. There will be a high emphasis for Jones to put on some weight early in his career to fill out his frame. As he is able to improve his power profile, improved hand usage and initial contact need to be polished from a technique standpoint. Far too often his hands go stagnant when tasked with length on the edge and he is ineffective within the rep. Jones is a moldable prospect who is just beginning to tap into his long-term potential. With added attention from a coaching perspective and some time in a professional strength training setting, Jones could end up being one of the premier defensive ends to come out of this draft cycle when all is said and done.
These are the final results of the first two days of the NFL Draft for the Vikings:
- Round 1, Pick 23: Virginia Tech LT Christian Darrisaw
- Round 3, Pick 66: Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond
- Round 3, Pick 78: UNC LB Chazz Surratt
- Round 3, Pick 86: Ohio State G Wyatt Davis
- Round 3, Pick 90: Pittsburgh DE Patrick Jones II
Minnesota has six more selections on Day 3: three fourth-rounders, two fifths, and a sixth.
Check back here for more coverage on the Vikings' four third-round selections on Saturday morning.
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