Heading into draft day, rumors were swirling that Minnesota would be taking a Defensive Back and an Offensive Lineman at picks 22 and 25. With the departure of Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes, Minnesota was lacking in the Corner department and have had a glaring need at the O-Line for a few years now. With the departure of Stefon Diggs, it would be no surprise of Minnesota took a Wide Receiver a bit higher in the draft. Let’s take a look at Minnesota’s first round picks.
Minnesota’s First Round Picks
As the clock started for pick 22, there were many good players for Minnesota to choose, but one that made too much sense. Wide Receiver Justin Jefferson from LSU was still on the board. As the Pick came in, Minnesota announced the addition of Jefferson, and fans couldn’t be more excited. Standing at 6 ft 1, and weighing 202 pounds, Jefferson is the perfect addition to the team. Jefferson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds. While only being at LSU for three seasons, Jefferson made quite the impact. 165 catches, 2415 receiving yards, and 24 touchdowns are what he ended his college career with. Keep in mind he didn’t even play his freshman season. That is impressive for 2 years of work.
With the departure of Stefon Diggs this offseason, Minnesota desperately needed a WR2 to help Thielen. Justin Jefferson is that guy. He has breakaway speed, hands that can catch any rock that Cousins throws his way, and run any route that will get him the ball. There is no glaring weakness to Jefferson’s game and he should make an immediate impact on the offense.
As the clock started for pick number 25, Minnesota announced they had traded the pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for picks 31, 117, and 176. That was a very good move for Minnesota as they still got the guy they needed and then some. As the 31st pick was up, it was announced that Minnesota had drafted TCU’s Corner Jeff Gladney.
Jeff Gladney is expected to fill the role of Xavier Rhodes. He is a fantastic outside corner and has the speed to match anyone. His big downside is his frame. Gladney is 6 ft and 183 pounds. He is going to need to put on some mass to handle the big NFL receivers. Gladney also needs to work on his press coverage. There is a notable difference with his press coverage than his off coverage. Minnesota loved to use the press coverage with Rhodes and Mike Zimmer will be looking to help Gladney improve his aggressive style.
Gladney was arguably the most battle-tested Corner in the 2020 draft. Playing a full 4 years of college football. Gladney racked up 146 total tackles and had 5 interceptions. Gladney had the ball thrown his way 232 times and only allowed 109 to get past him. Those are good stats that Zimmer will be looking to take to the next level.
Minnesota has had trouble in the first round of the draft in the past. That was not the case tonight. Rick Spielman did his job and upgraded this Vikings football team instantly. Spielman gets a Grade A for the Jefferson Pick. A young talent like Jefferson is hard to come by and he will be a difference maker.
Many knew Minnesota would take a Corner in the first round. Jeff Gladney is that Corner and Spielman knew it. Minnesota receives an A- for this pick. Gladney has all the potential and he was a good pick for the 31st.
Minnesota’s first round picks Justin Jefferson and Jeff Gladney are both players who can make an immediate impact on this team. Minnesota made the best picks they could have and with these two young men joining the team, Minnesota can get right back to work. SKOL!
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Writer on the Minnesota Vikings and writer for timeskewed.com. Professional Music instructor.