April 25, 2019 10:29 PM
The Minnesota Vikings chose to address their needs on the offensive line in the first round of this year's NFL Draft.
Picking 18th overall in Thursday night's first round, the team selected North Carolina State offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury.
Here is a look at the pick:
Who: Garrett Bradbury
School: North Carolina State
Height, weight: 6-3, 306
Highlights: Won Rimington Trophy as nation's top center last season ... first-team All-ACC and AP All-American selection ... a former tight end.
QUOTES FROM VIKINGS GM RICK SPIELMAN, HEAD COACH MIKE ZIMMER AND GARRETT BRADBURY
==Vikings general manager Rick Spielman==
•On drafting Bradbury:
"Once we found out what kind of offensive scheme we're going to run... Garrett was the perfect pick.“
•On the possibility of trading down with several other highly-rated offensive linemen - several tackles - still on the board when they picked:
”We had a couple opportunities - calls, but we felt strongly this was a unique opportunity to get a very good football to come into our program."
•On Bradbury’s position:
"He started at guard 2 years ago. He was a TE, but played last 2 years at center. We're just trying to get the best football players in here - in OTAs, camp, the coaches will figure out the best combination."
"One of the points of emphasis was guys with multiple positions - especially up front on the offensive line... he can play C/G, Elflein can play C/G, Klein can play C/G...
•On a statement Spielman’s wife made, that he relayed at a pre-draft press conference:
“One thing I know - he doesn't play corner, so I can go home tonight."
==Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer==
•On drafting Bradbury:
"This is a guy who's been on our radar for quite a while. Gary Kubiak had the opportunity - all fall - to evaluate a lot of college football players. This was one of his favorite guys."
•On Bradbury playing center or guard:
"We're just trying to accumulate the best players we can. They have the athletic skill set we want with the offense we're going to try to run."
•Zimmer joked he was sweating the pick knowing they wanted Bradbury, but…
“No cornerbacks have been taken… I was trying to get one!"
•On the possibility of more offensive line picks later in the draft:
"I think it's gonna work out fine. But... we could do a more as things get going here."
•On the trend they’ve been developing on their offensive line:
"The big thing with these athletic guys... If you can get them moving sideways, get one guy cut out of a gap... should be really good for Dalvin."
•Looking ahead to Day 2 of the draft:
"There might be someone we're in love with on offense and we end up taking him. But, as you know, you can never have enough corners. (laughter)"
==Vikings 1st round draft pick Garrett Bradbury==
•His thoughts on being drafted:
”I can't fit into words how excited I am. This has been a dream of mine for a long time. I can't explain how crazy this is. So many people I want to thank... I'm just kinda speechless right now."
•His view on his position - guard or center:
"I'm coming up saying I want to play football again. I'm coming up saying I'm an offensive lineman. I'll protect the QB, help run the football. I'll play any position they want me to play."
•About playing baseball as a kid, wanting to be an MLB catcher:
"I was a huge Jorge Posada fan as Yankee fan. (Having played catcher) helps a lot with mobility. In terms of communication, you kinda need it back there. I called pitches, directed the infield."
•On waiting out the draft:
"Throughout this process, I wasn't trying to piece together where I was going to go... so many mock drafts and speculations... guys told me not to pay any attention. I was just hoping to hear my name - and it's truly a dream come true."
•How he succeeded moving from TE to OL in college:
"It took a lot of coaching, lot of great teammates... we just went to work."
•Has he ever been to Minnesota?
“I have not been to Minnesota. I'll be there tomorrow and I can't wait."
With the front five again their position of greatest need , the Vikings could hardly have had the board fall to them any better. Alabama tackle Jonah Williams, who could wind up as a guard in the NFL, was the first blocker off the board at No. 11 to Cincinnati. Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom went to Atlanta at No. 14.
Then the Vikings had their pick of the rest, with Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, Oklahoma tackle Cody Ford and Washington State tackle Andre Dillard all available.
With the 6-foot-3, 306-pound Bradbury, the Vikings got a mobile anchor and a natural fit with the zone-blocking scheme they'll be favoring to try to generate more of a running game and keep the pressure off quarterback Kirk Cousins. Pat Elflein, who has been the starting center since being Minnesota's third-round draft pick in 2017, becomes a strong candidate to move to guard, his primary college position.
The Vikings did not go with another cornerback. General manager Rick Spielman even joked this week at his pre-draft news conference that his wife told him not to come home if the Vikings were to use that precious first-rounder on another player at the head coach's favorite position, where Mike Zimmer has helped develop several draft picks into standouts over the last five seasons.
Last year, the Vikings passed on a deep class of interior offensive linemen to take cornerback Mike Hughes out of Central Florida with the 30th overall pick. Hughes showed plenty of promise , returning an interception for a touchdown in his NFL debut, but he tore the ACL in his left knee six games into his rookie season.
With Hughes coming off his injury, Holton Hill suspended for the first four games this year and Trae Waynes entering the final season of his contract, cornerback wouldn't have been an indulgent selection. But the need up front, after a so-so first season under Cousins, was too glaring to ignore.
The only other time in the 13 drafts the Vikings have had with Spielman that they made an offensive lineman their first pick was 2012, when tackle Matt Kalil went to them at No. 4 overall. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, but his five-year tenure with the team was mixed at best. That was the first draft with Spielman as the final decision-maker. When he was vice president of player personnel before his promotion, Spielman shared authority with the head coach.
The Vikings have only used a first-round selection on an offensive lineman three times in the past 30 years: Kalil, Bryant McKinnie (2002) and Todd Steussie (1994). They were each picked for at least one Pro Bowl. Two of the three others taken in the first round in Vikings history, Randall McDaniel (1988) and Ron Yary (1968), are Pro Football Hall of Fame members.
Updated: April 25, 2019 10:29 PM
Created: April 25, 2019 08:44 PM
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