The Minnesota Vikings' top-30 event is well underway. Plenty of college prospects have been tweeting that they were traveling to the twin cities or enjoying their time at the Vikings’ facilities. One of those players was West Virginia safety K.J. Dillon, who arrived Tuesday morning and left in the afternoon the following day.
The Vikings were one of 28 teams represented at West Virginia’s pro day on April 4, and apparently they liked what they saw in Dillon as he arrived at Winter Park the following day.
Vikings need: The team has one of the top young safeties in the NFL currently on their roster in Harrison Smith. They are currently trying to sign him to a long-term deal, but that’s not really the issue on the back end of their defense. The issue comes from the safety position next to Smith.
The Vikings have been looking to upgrade their second safety position for a number of years and it appears to be the biggest hole they still need to fill on that side of the ball. They signed veteran safety Michael Griffin as a free agent this offseason and re-signed Andrew Sendejo to a multi-year deal. However, neither of these players seems to be the answer at that position for the long haul.
Measurables: At 6 feet, 210 pounds, Dillon is a decent size to play safety in the NFL, but it wouldn’t hurt for him to be a little bigger. He tested fairly average in almost all of the drills he ran this offseason, recording 11 reps on the 225-pound bench press, a 121.0-inch broad jump, 28-inch vertical, 4.43-second 20-yard short shuttle and a 7.27-second three-cone drill. The one drill he really excelled at, though, was the 40-yard dash, with a time of 4.53 seconds – the fourth-fastest time at the NFL Scouting Combine among safeties.
Analysis: Dillon is not a player you are going to get a good read on from watching his workouts; instead, you really need to see how he plays out on the field. He shows plenty of athleticism when running around in pads and has a natural knack for attacking the ball as receivers are trying to catch it, recording 20 pass breakups and five interceptions of the past two seasons.
He has shown the ability to play up high or move down low into the box, as well as play man-to-man against slot receivers. He often reacts quickly to the plays developing around him and has the ability to get where he needs to quickly.
However, just because he gets where he needs to, it does not always mean he makes the play. Dillon had far to many missed tackles throughout his career, according to draft analysts. There were even times when he would make the tackle, but a bigger running back or receiver would carry him for extra yards. He will also need to clean up on a few things technique-wise in pass coverage, but so do most players coming out of college.
Dillon is currently projected to be drafted somewhere in the vicinity of the fifth round. The best-case scenario for him would probably be to sit for a year to clean up on his techniques and add more strength. That could mean Minnesota is a perfect landing spot for him. They could have Griffin start for a season and then once his contract is up have Dillon compete against the other young safeties on their roster for the starting spot.