Grading every pick the Minnesota Vikings made in the 2023 NFL Draft
By Nik Edlund
Minnesota Vikings Third-Round Pick in the 2023 NFL Draft
Mekhi Blackmon - CB, USC (Pick No. 102)
The Vikings addressed one of their biggest needs in the 2023 NFL Draft when they selected Mekhi Blackmon with the last pick of the third round. They traded back with the San Francisco 49ers and were still able to land this physical corner, who should be a great fit in Minnesota's new defense led by defensive coordinator Brian Flores.
Blackmon's an aggressive corner who gets which in the face of receivers. He uses his hands well to find and swat away passes and broke up 12 in his lone season at USC. He also has shown some good ball skills, intercepting five passes in his college career.
Blackmon isn't afraid to come up and lay a hit and will be a huge asset in run support. He may not be the largest corner at 5-foot-11 and 178 pounds, but he plays much bigger and makes his presence known.
As stated earlier, Blackmon gets up in the face of the man he's covering. The problem is that he does that with his hands, and he gets too grabby at times. He drew a lot of yellow hankies in college, and he will need to polish up his technique so he doesn't become a liability at the NFL level.
Earlier in the draft season, Blackmon was seen as a late-round prospect. As the draft approached, his stock began to rise, and seeing him go at the end of round three felt like solid value. He'll always be compared to the corners who came off the board right after him, but he could end up being the best of the bunch.