Thursday night’s NFL Draft wasn’t Rick Spielman’s first rodeo. We’re talking about a dude who’s run the Minnesota Vikings draft room since 2012. Not all of those eight drafts have gone smoothly. We all know Rick’s made plenty of questionable picks along the way… but he was on top of his game last night and the NFL Draft community took notice.
The Vikings waited patiently at #14 while desperate teams like Chicago jumped in front of them to grab their newest “QB of the future”. But when Minnesota came on the clock in the middle of the 1st round, Spielman doubled down on his patience, trading back NINE spots, to #23 overall. In doing so, Rick collected two more 3rd round picks (making 4 total) and parted ways with a late-4th.
LIVE: GM Rick Spielman reacts to the 1st-round selection of Christian Darrisaw https://t.co/Pv4Ns4RcKL— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) April 30, 2021
(OL-USC) Alijah Vera-Tucker went off the board at #14 to the Jets and that meant, of the widely-accepted top-4 offensive linemen in this draft, just Christian Darrisaw (LT-Virginia Tech) remained available. And there was now a long wait to #23. But, Spielman sat… patiently… and got paid off for it. Darrisaw slipped down the board and Slick Rick looks like a genius.
Just ask everybody.
The Athletic (Dane Brugler): A
The Vikings moved back from 14 to 23 and picked up picks 66 and 86 (they gave back 143). Minnesota would’ve been justified in taking Darrisaw at 14. But the trade sets them up now with five top-100 picks. This worked out great for them.
Yahoo Sports: B+
It’s back to back Hokies as the Vikings slide down and grab a player who routinely was mocked in the teens. GM Rick Spielman typically lands good value, and this fits the bill. We weren’t quite as enamored with Darrisaw’s upside as others, but he’s a very nice player with the athletic traits to be a Day 1 starter at left tackle.
CBS Sports: “Winner”
Rick Spielman loves a move down, and boy, did he make one with the Jets, sending No. 14 and an extra fourth-rounder in exchange for No. 23 and two third-rounders. Not only that, but then he wound up getting Christian Darrisaw, a widely projected top-20 pick at left tackle, with the 23rd pick anyway. A really nice haul — plus a potential Day One blind-side blocker for Kirk Cousins — in Minnesota.
Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman masterfully navigated this year’s first round. The team’s commander moved down nine spots, added a pair of third-round picks and still landed a top offensive tackle prospect. Darrisaw can immediately move into the starting left tackle spot left by Riley Reiff when the front office released the nine-year veteran.
One of the least surprising moments of the first round was the Vikings trading out of the 14th overall spot once the Chargers selected Rashawn Slater at No. 13. Acquiring two third-round picks from the Jets (and sending back a fourth-rounder) to move down nine selections was clearly the right move, and looked even better when they found the left tackle they needed in Darrisaw at 23. Scouts did not like his inconsistency finishing plays, but he has the athleticism and strength to make it at the next level. His potential as a long-time starter at left tackle makes him a perfect fit for the Vikings.
Fox Sports: B+
The second consecutive Hokie off the board, Darrisaw is a light-footed tackle with the potential to one day challenge for Pro Bowl honors. He fills a clear area of longtime need for the Vikings, especially given the pass rushers Minnesota faces in the NFC North. Darrisaw is an intriguing talent, one with both quality tape and some clear areas in which he can improve – suggesting he has not yet reached his maximum potential. At this point in the draft, he could wind up proving a steal, just like his former teammate Farley and the Vikings’ first-round pick last year, wideout Justin Jefferson.
The Vikings pulled off another draft coup with Rick Spielman, managing to still land the rock of a left tackle they needed for their style of offensive line after trading back nine spots. They got a big upgrade from Rashod Hill to make both Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook happy. This pick is a home run, much like Justin Jefferson around the same spot in 2020.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan