Cornerback Slated Among Predraft Visitors

Among the players slated to visit the Minnesota Vikings next week is a cornerback expected to be a first-round pick. But the Vikings are far from the only team showing interest in him.

Pittsburgh cornerback Darrelle Revis is one of dozens of draft-eligible players who will be visiting the Minnesota Vikings next week. Revis likely won't make it past the first round of the draft, so the team's interest in him is probably only limited to trade-down scenarios for the Vikings, who currently hold the seventh pick in the draft.

While the Vikings' starting cornerbacks would appear to be set with Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin, the release of Fred Smoot leaves a bit of an experience void with a nickel cornerback. Dovonte Edwards, who assumed that role for part of the 2005 season, is coming off a 2006 season in which he spent the entire year on injured reserve. Behind him are youngsters Ronyell Whitaker and Charles Gordon.

In the last three weeks, Revis was graded by most scouts as a prospect likely to be selected in the bottom third of round one.  All that changed after his pro-day workout on March 16.

Teams were disappointed Revis chose not to work out at the combine.  Many questioned his speed and felt he was dodging the obvious after leaving Indianapolis without running the forty.  Yet the truth is Revis was struggling with a hamstring injury which lingered long after his college season ended.  

Officially declaring for the NFL draft near the deadline day of Jan. 15, Revis had just six weeks to rehab the injury and train for the combine.  Hence the decision was made to postpone his workout until the Panthers' pro day.

On that day, Revis ran his 40s as fast as 4.38 seconds or as slow as 4.42 seconds, depending on who you listen to.  He also turned in a vertical jump of 38 inches.  His short shuttle time was 4.08 seconds while his three-cone time was 6.56 seconds.  Only one defensive back ran faster at each during the combine.

While Revis turned in an impressive performance, it was the positive reaction from the Pittsburgh coaches which helped push his draft stock higher.  Panthers coaches told league sources they were shocked to see Revis run as well as he did.  Much of the success was attributed to his training prior to pro day.  

How much has Revis helped himself and how early will he be selected? We can confirm that two teams in the middle of round one are seriously considering selecting the former Panthers cornerback. The St. Louis Rams have Revis graded high on their boards and could select him with the 13th pick of the draft.  The Rams would love to have either Adam Carriker or Amobi Okoye fall into their laps, but that is unlikely to happen.  With the dire need for a starting cornerback, Revis is their next best option on the defensive side of the ball.

The other franchise considering Revis is the Jacksonville Jaguars at pick 17.   Conventional wisdom has the Jaguars selecting Florida safety Reggie Nelson in round one.  Nelson is the player the coaching staff wants.  Yet the personnel department is thinking in different terms.

Most in the Jacksonville organization agree Nelson fills a need and will give quick returns on the field.  Yet the decision-makers in the personnel department feel Revis will be a better player than Nelson two years down the road.  He will give the team another shutdown cornerback to play alongside Rashean Mathis.

Revis will be meeting with both teams in the next week and is scheduled to visit almost a dozen more.

Since late last week, he had already visited with the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers.  After meeting with the Dallas Cowboys yesterday, Revis will visit with the Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis to finish out this week.

Starting early next week, Revis is off to see the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins as well as Jacksonville.

The San Francisco 49ers also want to meet with Revis if time can be scheduled.

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