Karl Dunbar checks out prospects at alma mater
Vikings defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, a Louisiana State alum himself, represented the Vikings at the recent Louisiana State Pro Day.
Among prospects on display for the Tigers: DE Tyson Jackson (6-4, 296, 4.91), WR Demetrius Byrd (6-0 ½, 196, 4.37), OG Herman Johnson (6-7 ¼, 356, 5.53), ILB Darry Beckwith (6-0 ½, 234, 4.70), DT Ricky Jean-Francois (6-2 ½, 294, 4.96), S Curtis Taylor (6-2 ¼, 207, 4.57), FB Quinn Johnson (6-1 ¼, 250, 4.75), DE Kirston Pittman (6-2 ½, 250, 4.72) and C Brett Helms (6-2, 286, 5.16).
Jackson could be a first-round consideration for the Vikings. He’s not a player at a position of pressing need, but at No. 22, he might be an excellent value if he were on the board as an anchor end in the team’s 4-3 defense. After all, Ray Edwards will be approaching free agency after this season, and the future of Kenechi Udeze is still a question mark as he courageously battles back from leukemia.
Byrd would be a mid- to late-round consideration and possesses superb numbers for the position, but he lacks refinement and consistency. Still, you cannot teach some of the physical tools he brings to the table.
Johnson is a real load but is more an inside player, whereas the Vikings need help at tackle. He’s an early- to mid-round pick.
Beckwith is a Cover-2 style linebacker who might be a later-round consideration to add depth for the Vikings.
Jean-Francois has some talent but lacks some maturity and would be a bit of a project, not unlike Letroy Guion, who the team picked in the draft last year.
Johnson appears slotted for a late-round selection, but he does not fit the mold as a West Coast offense fullback for the Vikings, because he does not catch the ball well enough.
Helms is a scrappy, overachieving pivot-man who is more a priority free-agent type. He would fit the team’s zone-blocking scheme pretty well but has limitations to develop into a top-flight starter in the NFL.
Tyson Jackson is the LSU player worth tracking on draft day. Most mock drafts would have him going around the middle of round one, well ahead of where the Vikings are scheduled to pick. But if he dropped, they might be compelled to grab him.
One thing that is for sure is Dunbar’s ties to LSU makes the Vikings very well informed about what he has to offer and how he would fit in with their scheme.
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