Stephen Weatherly, who registered 10.5 quarterback sacks and 25 tackles for loss during a three-year career, becomes the first Commodore draft selection since 2014 when wide receiver Jordan Matthews, offensive lineman Wesley Johnson and cornerback Andre Hal were picked.
Weatherly also becomes the first Commodore selected by Minnesota since defensive lineman James Manley was picked in the second round of the 1996 draft.
The versatile Weatherly, from Snellville, Ga., played both defensive end and outside linebacker for the Commodores. After contributing as a defensive end in 2013, Weatherly blossomed as a rush linebacker in Derek Mason's 3-4 scheme.
At 6-5 and 265, Weatherly could play either position at the next level. He impressed NFL personnel at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, ranking among the top position performers in the 40-yard dash and repetition bench press.
As a senior, Weatherly started all 12 games, topping the Commodores with nine quarterback hurries. He ranked second with 3.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, and contributed 29 solo tackles among 46 total tackles. Weatherly put together a strong campaign in 2014 as a first-time starter at linebacker, setting career highs with 4.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, 30 solo tackles and 55 total tackles.
Weatherly's 2014 performance against Tennessee ranks among the best ever by a Commodore defender. During the effort, Weatherly established a new team record with five tackles for loss.
Weatherly is the first Vanderbilt linebacker selected in the draft since Jonathan Goff was taken in the fifth round of the 2008 draft.