Former Scout Evaluates Defensive Free Agents

The Vikings agreed to terms with nine defensive rookie free agents following the draft. Here are the predraft evaluations on them from former NFL scout Tom Marino.

Within three hours of the conclusion of the NFL draft, the Vikings had assembled a good-looking list of rookie free agents. Here are the ones they agreed to terms with on the defensive side of the ball, with predraft analysis from former NFL scout Tom Marino, who was in scouting departments for 35 years.

DE Martail Burnett, Utah: Not a top-50 defensive end.
6026 (6-foot-2 6/8), 257 pounds, 4.79-second 40, Free-agent value.
Marino says: Unevaluated.

DT Leger Douzable, Central Florida: 42nd-ranked defensive tackle
6046, 302, 5.43, Free-agent value.
Marino says: Conference USA first-team in 2007. Lacks quickness and playing range. Showed strength and the ability to stack on the inside. When he kept his pads down was a solid run down player.

Erin Henderson, Maryland: Sixth-ranked middle linebacker
6026, 244, 4.79, Fourth-round value.
Marino says: Overachiever, solid college player. Has missed playing time due to injuries (knee reconstruction on 2005). Is not a take-on guy (struggled to disengage from blocks inside – plays small). On the inside and I would have to question his overall playing instincts. Struggled some in pass coverage (breakdown in the open field). Was productive in terms of total tackles and made plays outside the tackle box. Good range and tackling skills. Far from a complete player, but has some upside. Round three or four consideration.

J. Leman (Jeremy), Illinois: 15th-ranked middle linebacker
6016, 245, 4.95, Late seventh-round value.
Marino says: Small player, lacks the required size. Make a lot of plays, but is as limited an athlete as there is in this year's player draft. Tough and highly instinctive. Was non-explosive on contact and just doesn't run well. Very limited play range. Took intelligent angles and played very hard, but doesn't have the speed or closing burst. Tight in his lower body (hips), which seriously limits his participation in coverage. That being said, has too much smarts and heart not to play, but just isn't the answer. Round seven or priority free agent.

Marcus Walker, Oklahoma: 24th-ranked cornerback
5103, 191, 4.61, Late seventh-round value.
Marino says: Over-achiever, solid college player. Smooth, athletic Cover-2 corner prospect with good feet, balance points and pedal. Has good speed, but I didn't see the suddenness that is necessary to cover speed on the outside. Let receiver close the cushion too quickly and was late to turn. Has man cover skills, but I didn't think he showed much in the way of ball skills. Not a very physical player. See him as a sub package corner and special teams contributor. Round five to six consideration.

Brandon Sumrall, Southern Mississippi: 50th-ranked cornerback
5097, 195, 4.66, Free-agent value.
Marino says: Unevaluated.

Husain Abdullah, Washington State: 23rd-ranked safety
5117, 204, 4.69, Seventh-round value.
Marino says: Over-achiever, solid college player. A four-year regular and playmaker who led WSU in both tackles and picks in 2007 (took two to the house). Brother plays with the Denver Broncos. Does a lot of things that contribute to winning football games, but does not run well. Is going to have match-up problems with people in the slot and has very questionable recovery skills. Physical tackler who will factor on special teams. Like his game, but has limitations. Late-round consideration.

Marcus Griffin, Texas: 26th-ranked safety 5102, 201, 4.81, Late seventh-round value Marino says: Small player, lacks required size. Not near as talented as his football-playing brother. Is smart and has played well on special teams over his career, but his playing instincts were marginal and I felt he missed far too many tackles. Runs OK in his pads, but I didn't see a closing burst. Don't see this player as having starting potential, but looks like he may have the overall skills to make a roster (backup at both safety positions and special teams contributor). Late-round or priority free agent consideration.

Travis Key, Michigan State: 52nd-ranked safety
5084, 182, 4.65, Free-agent value.
Marino says: Former walk-on who played hard and made plays, but is undersized, lacks top-end speed and is mismatched in pass coverage. I liked his aggressiveness but also realize that he has some real limitations that will follow him. Priority free agent.

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