Ohio State’s Darron Lee doesn’t have a lot of experience at linebacker, but athleticism and intelligence might make him a target for the Minnesota Vikings.
Raw, athletic players are sometimes preferred for NFL teams when looking at who to draft. With a player like that, franchises can develop the player to be exactly what they are looking for and not worry about it conflicting with too many other methods they learned in the past.
Darron Lee could be the kind of clean slate a team may value highly. The Ohio State linebacker’s performance at the Combine verified what a lot of teams saw from him on tape: a fast, agile, smart player who could do a lot of different things an any defensive scheme. He can catch fast ball carriers, cover a receiver, or even blitz the quarterback effectively.
But teams might not like what they see as far as his physical characteristics. He doesn’t have the kind of power and strength that might be needed for tougher assignments at the professional level. Lee also needs to work on his tackling technique, as he too often reached for ball carriers instead of squaring up and wrapping up. He can also struggle shedding blocks from physical blockers and needs to be more patient when plays are coming to him.
Here are Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee’s numbers from the events at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine according to NFL.com:
Darron Lee compares to:
- CBS Sports: Kwon Alexander, Buccaneers
- NFL.com: Zach Brown, free agent
Fit for the Minnesota Vikings:
The Vikings will be looking for a linebacker in the 2016 NFL Draft and picking Darron Lee would allow the team to keep Eric Kendricks on the inside while adding another fast, athletic player to the group. However, Minnesota may be looking for a more sure tackler to let Barr go into coverage or blitz a quarterback.
All of Darron Lee’s faults are things that can be worked on. He can work with the Vikings coaching staff to get stronger and develop better tackling techniques. If the team thinks they can get him to improve on those two things, Lee would be a fantastic addition to the team and would solidify a young linebacker grouping that the Minnesota Vikings can grow and develop with long in to the franchise’s future. The team should heavily consider him at #23 overall if he is available in the 2016 NFL Draft.