Third round pick Scott Crichton has a big fan in CBSSports.com columnist Rob Rang. As part of his series “Finding the Fits,” Rang talks about how perfect the versatile Oregon State D-lineman could be in Mike Zimmer’s system with its emphasis on rotation and role.
As Rang argues, Crichton’s ability to line up at both end spots and inside at tackle should serve him well on Zimmer’s defense. That versatility should guarantee Crichton a fair number of snaps in his rookie season.
Rang also points to Crichton’s run-stopping ability as a plus in Zimmer’s system. Zimmer isn’t a cut-them-loose kind of guy when it comes to his D-line, which is part of the reason why his linemen seldom put up huge individual sack numbers. Zimmer likes guys who play the run and rush the passer equally well, and Crichton fits that bill.
The more you consider Crichton’s particular attributes – his motor as well as his versatility – the more you understand why the Vikings took him in the third round. This is a Zimmer pick all the way.
Crichton figures to be a major piece of the puzzle as Zimmer seeks to remake the Vikings’ defense according to his philosophies, which are very different from those employed by the last couple of regimes. Gone are the days of players like Jared Allen racking up huge sack numbers. Gone are the days of starters hogging the vast majority of the defensive snaps.
The future is all about fitting guys into specific roles, and making sure that there’s a solid rotation of multiple players. Don’t be surprised if Scott Crichton ends up having a bigger impact in the short term even than first round pick Anthony Barr, who has a steeper learning curve than Crichton.
Rang says of Crichton:
The flashy first round picks will ultimately determine the success of the Vikings’ 2014 draft. Whereas Barr and Teddy Bridgewater bring some boom or bust concerns, Crichton’s dependability against the run and pass makes him arguably Minnesota’s safest pick.