Pittsburgh offensive lineman Brian O'Neill (70) plays against North Carolina in an NCAA college football game against Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Trader Rick Strikes; Vikings Draft OT and Trade for More Picks in NFL Draft Day 2

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Pittsburgh offensive lineman Brian O’Neill (70) plays against North Carolina in an NCAA college football game against Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Well, the start to Day-2 of the NFL Draft could not have gone how Rick Spielman had hoped. With the quote Andrew Krammer had in Saturday’s Star Tribune, from the Vikings’ Director of College Scouting, Jamaal Stephenson it looked like that caught them by surprise too: “There was a big run, obviously. I’ve never seen that many offensive guards go this high in the draft.”

The run of offensive lineman also allowed us to get an idea of how Rick Spielman feels about the offensive line prospects available. One thing is for sure. Spielman believed whoever was available, and likely to go early in the 2nd round, didn’t have much more going for him than someone Rick knew was going to fall to him at the bottom of Round 2. Even with all of these offensive lineman going before him, Trader Patient Rick stayed back, poised. And it was the right decision because, after four of the first seven picks were OL in the 2nd round, from pick-40 to the Vikings’ pick at #62, only one more O-lineman came off the board.

33. Cleveland Browns: OL Austin Corbett, Nevada

34. New York Giants: G Will Hernandez, UTEP

37. Indianapolis Colts: OL Braden Smith, Auburn

39. Chicago Bears: C James Daniels, Iowa

50. Dallas Cowboys: OL Connor Williams, Texas

Then, at pick #62 overall, the Vikings select….. well I’ll let you live the moment yourself. This is a great video.

You heard Rick say it. Brian O’Neill out of Pittsburgh is a former tight end. He was moved to tackle, where he played both sides of the line, but is still trying to adjust to the body style of the position. Coming in at 297 pounds, Brian needs to gain some weight but it’s nothing a good “diet” plan can’t fix. The Pittsburgh alum ranks near the bottom of the OT weight class in this year’s draft but 20 pounds would put him in the middle of most offensive tackles around the NFL and it’s clear the Vikings’ style would want him to be on the leaner end of average, for the zone run scheme and screen-heavy offense they want to run.

From everything I’ve read, speed and agility won’t be a problem, if O’Neill develops like the guy the Vikings hope he can. Keeping up with edge rushers, if he can master an NFL Offensive Tackle’s footwork, will be a strong-suit as well.

His deficiencies are what you’d expect from a raw OT prospect, who was just recently switched from tight end and is still trying to master blocking techniques, while trying to get up to the size of an NFL lineman. He needs to work on his run game blocking, he has issues with power rushes on his inside, and he lacks strength in general.

Here are the strengths and weaknesses from WalterFootball.com (Click for full profile):

Strengths:

  • Athletic
  • Quick feet
  • Agility
  • Fits well in a zone-blocking system
  • Can bend at the knee
  • Ability to bend
  • Quick out of his stance
  • Length
  • Height
  • Upside
  • Interviewed well at the Senior Bowl

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks strength
  • Lacks heavy hands
  • Doesn’t pack a punch
  • Doesn’t generate movement in the ground game
  • Needs to strengthen his base
  • Can react slow to rushes to the inside
  • Raw, will need developmental time

The best part of the pick might have been Kirk Cousins’ tweet, preemptively addressing the elephant in the room, after the pick of a new offensive lineman for the new Vikings’ QB:

One thing is for sure with the SKOL’s 2nd-Round pick. They still have a BIG IMMEDIATE need within their offensive line. This must mean that Trader Rick remained Patient Rick and took another lineman later in the night with his round-3 pick, right?

WRONG. Trader Rick made an appearance before night-two ended, shipping off his late-3rd for an early-4th and 6th from the Tampa Bay Bucs.

It’ll be interesting to see what Spielman does with the later picks since 6th rounders aren’t known to hit too often. The 6th rounder was clearly important because you wouldn’t just drop from the 3rd to 4th round for no reason. How this trade is judged could depend on what he does with that 6th. BUT…. as always…. #InRickWeTrust.

The draft resumes with rounds 4 through 7 today at 11 AM CST

Eric Strack (Founder/Writer Still Sometimes)
MinnesotaSportsFan.com @RealMNSportsFan

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