The Chargers continued to remake their offensive line with pick 13, opting for Christian Darrisaw out of Virginia Tech. The powerful left tackle can start for LA right away and protect Justin Herbert’s blindside. With rushers in the AFC West like Bradley Chubb, Frank Clark, and Maxx Crosby, protecting Herbert is the number one priority.
The Vikings are up next. Most experts see them going offensive line or edge rusher with this pick, and those seem like likely options with the way the board has fallen. It would surely hurt Minnesota to see Darrisaw go one pick ahead, but there is one highly-rated lineman left. After releasing Riley Reiff this offseason, an already shaky line is left with a sizeable hole at tackle. They could go for Alijah Vera-Tucker with this pick and possibly move Ezra Cleveland outside or keep him inside and play Vera-Tucker at LT. His versatility could give them options here. They also have their pick of edge rushers, as both Kwity Paye and Jaelan Phillips are on the board. This could give the Vikings a bit more security at the position with Danielle Hunter reportedly being unhappy about his current contract. Let’s run down the picks so far.
- Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
- San Francisco 49ers - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- Atlanta Falcons - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- Cincinnati Bengals - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
- Miami Dolphins - Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
- Detroit Lions - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
- Carolina Panthers - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
- Denver Broncos - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
- Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
- New York Giants - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
- Philadelphia Eagles - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
- Los Angeles Chargers - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Now let’s dive in to the Vikings options at 14.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
One of the more versatile linemen in the 2021 draft class is Vera-Tucker, who was an All-Pac 12 performer at left guard in 2019 and at left tackle in 2020. He might project best on the inside in the NFL, but he won the award as the conference’s best offensive lineman this past year while protecting the blind side. His testing at USC’s Pro Day is indicative of a player who moves well and would work well as a pulling guard in the run game.
Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
One of the most physically imposing edge defenders in this draft class, Phillips had a very good junior year in 2020 after sitting out 2019 following his transfer from UCLA to Miami. Phillips posted eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in the fall, then posted a very good workout at Miami’s Pro Day. However, Phillips’ big questions will be on the medical side, after missing most of his sophomore season to injuries, including multiple concussions. To make matters worse, Phillips missed the pre-draft medical re-checks in Indianapolis due to a positive COVID test.
Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Think Rashan Gary 2.0. Paye is almost as impressive an athlete as Gary was coming out in 2019, though Paye is a bit smaller at 6-foot-2-½ and 261 pounds to Gary’s 6-foot-4, 277-pound frame. Still, the two players share similarities in that they both had production that did not quite live up to their pro projections, with Paye’s 2020 limited to four games by injury and the COVID pandemic. Still, Paye averaged one TFL per game over his last two seasons and posted 8.5 sacks in his last 16 games, and it’s not hard to imagine a team falling in love with his tools the way the Packers did with Gary.
Who will the Vikings select with the 14th pick?
This poll is closed
Will the Vikings add to their defensive line after Everson Griffen left in 2020? Or will they grab the versatile lineman from USC who has all the tools to execute their zone blocking scheme? Grabbing Phillips or Paye would give the Vikings an immediate upgrade over Stephen Weatherly, and form a nice 1-2 punch with Danielle Hunter. While Vera-Tucker gives the team options if Ezra Cleveland is unable to win the LT job outright.
Be sure to vote here and on Twitter @acmepackingco and check back tomorrow for more picks. At 11 AM EST, the Patriots are on the board at 15, an unfamiliar spot after years at the back of the draft. Then, at 4 PM EST, we’ll be looking at the Cardinals’ options at 16 as they look to build on their young core.