Once upon a time there was a Vikings running back named Onterrio Smith, who famously declared before his rookie season that he would turn out to be the steal of the draft. So confident was Smith that he would prove his doubters wrong, he even had the initials “SOD” shaved into his head.
That first season Smith would run for 579 yards and 5 TDs – a decent rookie campaign but hardly great enough to bear out his prediction. In his second year Smith ran for 544 yards and 2 TDs. And in his third season…well, Onterrio didn’t have a third season, because in 2005 he got arrested for carrying dried urine and an illegal drug-test-defeating device known as a Whizzinator. Smith got suspended for the 2005 season and never appeared in another NFL game. Not only was Smith not the steal of the draft, he ended being remembered more as a punchline than a football player.
Fast forward to 2012. Another brash young Vikings rookie, Greg Childs, had pulled an Onterrio Smith and declared himself the steal of the draft. Like Smith, Childs was taken in the fourth round. Talent-wise, both Smith and Childs probably deserved to be taken higher, but there were legit reasons for both men to slide to the fourth. That’s where their stories diverge. Smith’s issues were all character-related. Childs has no character red flags, but he did suffer a knee injury that set back his career and caused a lot of teams to shy away.
Maybe Greg Childs will, unlike Onterrio Smith, actually live up to his brazen self-hype. Truth be told, I believe Childs is a long-shot to fulfill that promise. He has ability but he also has a major injury in his past. The Vikings basically took a flyer on him. With Jerome Simpson and Devin Aromashodu already in the fold, they probably aren’t counting on Childs to be a major contributor this season if at all.
If Childs does somehow catch on and develop into a legitimate weapon it will look like a terrific draft choice, but my guess is they Vikings are hoping he develops into a solid #3 at most. That would not exactly qualify Childs as a draft steal.
I like Childs’ confidence, but at the same time I can’t help cringing any time a young player drops the “steal of the draft” line. For obvious reasons, that phrase carries lots of negative baggage for Viking fans. You never want to be compared to Onterrio Smith, in any context, for any reason silly or serious.