Minnesota Vikings visitor: Ohio State LB Darron Lee analysis

The Minnesota Vikings bring in Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee for a visit. The team has shown a lot of interest in Lee throughout the offseason, but will he really be a player they consider selecting come draft day?

The Minnesota Vikings are entering into the time of year where pro days are coming to an end and visits begin. The team will be hosting a number of different college players leading up the draft on April 28, with the majority of them today and tomorrow for their "top 30 visit" as a way to help get to know them better and clear up questions they have.

Players have already started trickling into the Vikings’ practice facilities as Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee tweeted that he was in town on Tuesday.


Lee is a player that the Vikings have shown a lot of interest in all offseason. He was one of the players that the team interviewed at the NFL Scouting Combine, they attended his pro day and now he is visiting the team’s practice facilities.

Vikings need: The Vikings do not have a pressing need at linebacker after re-signing veteran Chad Greenway and bringing in free agent Emmanuel Lamur. Both of those players are expected to compete for the starting weakside linebacker spot, which is also where Lee best fits into a defense. 

Measurables: At 6-foot-1, 232 pounds, Lee is considered to be a little undersized for an NFL linebacker, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in athleticism. He recorded the fastest 40-yard dash time among linebackers at the combine (4.47 seconds) and the best broad jump (133.0 inches). He also placed in the top five in the vertical jump (35½ inches) and the 20-yard short shuttle (4.20 seconds). 

Analysis: Lee is also a very instinctual player who has a knack for finding the quickest routes to the ball carrier through traffic. He plays with loose hips and quick feet, which help him excel in the open field. Even though he is a linebacker, he is very good in coverage, which is a big plus in today’s game.

Apart from his smaller size, the biggest knock against Lee is that his strength does not match his listed weight and that leads to broken tackles. Too often he comes flying in and gets his arms on a ball carrier but is not able to bring him to the ground. He needs to learn to use his shoulder more when hitting the opponent, which would help minimize the broken tackles.

There is a possibility that Lee could be a tough fit in the NFL because he does not appear to have the size and strength to handle the rigors of the NFL. His success will likely depend on his ability to add strength in the weight room while maintaining his speed, and fitting into the proper scheme. If both of those work out in his favor, he has a chance to be a very good player.

Lee will be a first-round pick later this month based on his production in college and his athletic ability. The real question for the Vikings then becomes whether or not they can justify drafting him there, especially after signing other linebackers who play the same position as Lee earlier this offseason.

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