We'll leave the rankings and gradings to other media. But we were curious what the numbers – the measurables – said about where the Vikings' rookies stacked up with other draft picks at their position.
Measurable don't always make the man, but have the quickness as a cornerback or receiver helps. Having long arms as an offensive lineman is considered a desirable trait. Big hands? Well, you remember the knock on Daunte Culpepper, don't you?
So how does the Vikings draft class stack up? We took a look at each of the Vikings rookies that participated at the NFL Scouting Combine and compared them against others at their position in Indianapolis to have a standard comparison and the same surface and indoor conditions for everyone competing. Here is how they fared:
Christian Ponder – The Florida State alumnus was the fourth quarterback taken, at No. 12 overall. He was only the third quarterback the Vikings have drafted in the first round, and he was taken one spot later than Daunte Culpepper in 1999. While Culpepper's fumbles were often attributed to "small hands," Ponder has no such problem. His 10¼-inch hands were the second-largest of the 19 quarterbacks at the Combine. Although only two quarterbacks (Greg McElroy and Tyrod Taylor) were shorter, Ponder was one of four quarterbacks that checked in at 6-foot-2. His 32-1/8-inch arms were 10th and his 77-inch wingspan was sixth.
While he will never be compared to Cam Newton or Jake Locker athletically, Ponder might not be given enough credit as an athlete. His 1.64 10-yard dash was fifth among QBs, his 34-inch vertical jump was fifth, his 9-foot-4 broad jump was seventh and his 20-yard shuttle (4.09) tied for first.
Kyle Rudolph – Leslie Frazier essentially admitted that there were more pressing needs for the Vikings to address in the second round, but he called Kyle Rudolph a rare commodity because of his well-rounded skills at tight end. Rudolph didn't run at the Combine because of his previous hamstring injury, which the Vikings' medical staff cleared. But compared to the other 15 tight ends at the Combine, Rudolph's measurables alone set him apart. His 6-foot-6 height and 10¾-inch hands were both tops among tight ends, his wing span of 80-5/8 was third while his weight (259 pounds) and arms (34 inches) were both fourth.
Christian Ballard – Ballard was one of the lighter defensive tackles among the 24 at the Combine, but his 6-foot-3 ¾ height was seventh and his 10-1/8-inch hands were tied for seventh. While his arms and wing span were average, he excelled in the timed events. His 1.67 10-yard dash was first, as were his 20-yard (2.79) and 40-yard (4.76) dashes and vertical jump (31½ inches). His 20-yard shuttle (4.59) was fifth and his broad jump (9-3) was sixth.
Brandon Burton – The fifth-round draft pick was less than average in many of the measurements among the 35 cornerbacks tested, but he registered top-10 marks in the bench press (18 reps for eighth place), the 40-yard dash (his 4.52 tied for 10th) and the 20-yard shuttle (seventh at 4.07).
DeMarcus Love – Although Love can play guard, he is expected to start out at tackle with the Vikings, the position at which he was listed at the Combine. Love turned out to be the 16th offensive tackle drafted, and that's about where his Combine performances ranked among the 32 tackles there. His 35¼-inch arms tied for ninth and his wing span of 83½ inches was sixth, both considered important factors for an offensive lineman. His 27 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press was 12th and his 10-yard dash of 1.87 was tied for 14th.
Mistral Raymond – The first of the Vikings' four sixth-round draft picks wasn't invited to the Combine.
Brandon Fusco – Fusco was one of only eight centers at the Combine and he measured up well against the rest, especially in the arms. His 33¾-inch arms were tied for first and his 80-1/8-inch wing span was the best. He was also second in the 20-yard shuttle (4.43) and hand size (10 inches), third in height (6-4), weight (306) and fourth in 10-yard dash (1.84). His 26 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press registered fifth.
Ross Homan – Homan worked out with the inside linebackers, where his measurements were average at best, but his timing stood out. He was first in the 10-yard dash (1.64) and second in the 20-yard (2.72). He was third in the 40-yard (4.77) and the vertical jump (35 1/2). His 32 reps on the bench press were first among the 14 inside backers.
D'AUNDRE REED – The Vikings' seventh-rounders, Reed and receiver Stephen Burton, were slightly better than average at their respective positions in the Combine. However, Reed did pull a few top-five numbers in Indianapolis. His 10¼-inch hands were tied for fourth among 29 defensive ends, as was his 30-rep bench press at 225 pounds. His 35½-inch vertical jump was fourth, his 9-11 broad jump was third and his 4.43 20-yard shuttle was tied for fifth.
STEPHEN BURTON – Although there were some predraft profiles that listed Stephen Burton as tall as 6-foot-4, the most accurate measurement is at the Combine, where his 6-foot-1-3/8-inch frame only placed him slightly better than average among the 46 wideouts at the Combine. However, at 221 pounds, he was the fifth heaviest. Although his 1.59 10-yard dash was tied for 13th among receivers, it wasn't far off the pace, indicating his initial burst is competitive with the best this draft had to offer, despite his size. His 40-yard dash of 4.56 was also in the top half of competitors, so appears he has a good mix of size and speed.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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