Early Vikings 2023 mock draft after Week 1 of the college football season

(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) Joe Tippmann
(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) Joe Tippmann /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Cam Smith /

First-Round Pick

Cam Smith – CB (South Carolina)

It is all about identity for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell. They made it clear that they wanted aggressive leaders on the back end of the defense when they selected safety Lewis Cine and cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. with their first two picks in this past draft.

To keep that trend going next season, no player fits the mold better than South Carolina’s Cam Smith. He’s a long, physical, and cocky cornerback that can change the game in an instant. Even with Booth, Cameron Dantzler, and Akayleb Evans on the roster, the Vikings need more impact players in the secondary.

Having too many cornerbacks is the best problem to have when fielding an NFL team, especially with the way the game is played nowadays. Smith can step in from Day 1 and be a starter at a high level that can sit on an island.

His size and ball skills are incredible for the position, and his mindset of attacking the ball will only help his cause. There is unreal potential in Smith if he puts it all together in the NFL, which I think he will.

With a pick in the middle of the first round, Minnesota would need to hit another home run. For me, Smith is the answer. A future secondary of Dantzler, Booth, Cine, and Smith is a beautiful fresh start that gives the Vikings a true identity.