The headline here should probably read “Former Vikings Draft Targets.” Cause right now the guy in question, Sharrif Floyd, is way out of the picture for Minnesota. Only way they snag this guy is if they somehow figure a way to trade way up into the top 10. Needless to say, that is a highly unlikely scenario.
What has sent Floyd’s draft stock soaring in the month since this whole process got underway? It’s a simple matter of what is there on the tape. Floyd is looked at as a monster talent by NFL personnel men. As Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network explains, Floyd initially flew under the radar because, as an underclassman, evaluators hadn’t gotten a look at his tape yet. But now they have studied him and they are all drooling. Jeremiah says “everybody” in the league rates Floyd as a top 5 talent. ”He’s a special pass rusher,” Jeremiah says. “You put him in a three-technique, he’s capable of getting you double-digit sacks.”
Early mocks had this guy in the Vikings’ range at 23 but forget it now. He looks like a top 5 pick.
The Vikings will still have plenty of interesting guys to choose from at 23 if they want to go defensive tackle. This draft is deep in defensive line talent for sure. But Floyd almost certainly is the most talented among the interior guys and possibly the only one who has a chance to be a genuine force as a pass rusher. It’s the pass rushing ability that has people so high on Floyd. And it’s pass rushing ability the Vikings need from whoever they choose to replace Kevin Williams.
A pass rushing defensive tackle is arguably the #1 need for the defense at the present time, even above upgraded linebacker talent. Outside speed rushers are great but if you want to make QBs truly uncomfortable you need consistent up-the-middle pressure. The Vikes didn’t get that last year and one obvious result was a lot of failure in third down situations. Drafting Floyd would seemingly solve that problem but, unless his stock tumbles for some reason, he’s not going to be available at 23.