If Brad Childress was still the head coach of the Vikings, one of the first things he would say when discussing sixth-round draft pick DeMarcus Love was that he has "position flexibility."
Chilly would have been giddy about the flexibility Love brings. A four-year starter, he played both guard and tackle and played on both sides of the center. He spent his last two years playing tackle, but, in the Arkansas system, he lined up on the opposite side of the tight end, which could put him at right tackle on one play, left the tackle the next and back to the right side of the next.
There are some scouts who believe the adage that he was a jack of all trades, but the master of none. When asked if his movement along the O-line as a four-year starter (he started 37 of 45 career games for the Razorbacks) may have hurt his draft stock and his honing in on technique aspects of his game, he was honest in his self-assessment.
"It probably does," Love said. "I've never had a chance to really lock in a position, because I'm always flipping sides. Every series I lined up on a different side in (head coach Bobby) Petrino's offense. One thing about that is I have versatility that, when the time comes, it gives me, I feel, an edge by knowing both."
His role with the Vikings is yet to be determined. He could play outside. He could play inside. As far as he's concerned, as long as he's on the roster, he would be willing to play fullback if needed. Any spot is just fine.
"It doesn't matter – either side is good with me," Love said. "My strength is versatility. You can slot me at guard or tackle on either side. It wouldn't matter."
While his versatility is a plus, he wasn't happy with his showing at the Senior Bowl all-star game. He practiced and played at right tackle against some of college football's elite competition and was inconsistent – and frustrated. He thinks it negatively impacted his draft stock and did him more harm than good.
"I don't feel like that was my best performance, but, at the same time, I don't feel like you should judge anybody off just one event," Love said. "I don't think the Senior Bowl was good for me. I played in the Senior Bowl in January and learned a lot from it and I've been working on things to correct – the things I made mistakes on."
His versatility has laid the foundation for Love to be put in one spot and kept there, but what that position will be remains a mystery. Will he play tackle? Will he project as a guard? Love said he doesn't care. He'll play wherever the team wants him to play.
"I think I'll be able to play both positions," Love said of the tackle/guard conundrum. "I don't know exactly what the coaches want me to play, because I haven't talked to them about my positions, but I played guard and tackle at Arkansas and played both sides as well. I think anywhere I'm able to fit in, I'll be able to play or contribute to the team."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Lineman defines ‘position flexibility'
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