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Minnesota Vikings: Getting to Know 1st-Round Pick Harrison Smith

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 03: Harrison Smith #22 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish awaits the start of play against the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. South Florida defeated Notre Dame 23-20.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Sammy SucuSenior Analyst IApril 27, 2012

The Minnesota Vikings drafted the man they have been coveted for months now, Harrison Smith, by trading their second-round pick (35th overall) and fourth-round pick (98th overall) to Baltimore for their first-round pick. 

Smith will provide the Vikings a solid starter at that position, something they have not had since Darren Sharper left the team in 2008. Smith will also benefit the team because of his knowledge of the Cover-2 and his superb tackling ability. 

Plenty has been said about Smith and how great he is in the Cover-2 scheme, but not much else is known about him. 

Smith played for Knoxville Catholic High School as a running back on offense and a safety on defense. In his senior season, he rushed for 19 touchdowns, caught six touchdowns, forced two fumbles and intercepted two passes.

It's obvious that he was a heck of an athlete and for being so dominant in high school, he was named the Gatorade Football Player of the Year in 2006. 

Smith was recruited by Notre Dame in 2008 as an strong-side linebacker in 2008. In 2009, he moved to the safety position before moving to the linebacker position for the last six games of the season. Smith had his best year as a senior in 2010 by recording 93 tackles and seven interceptions. 

As a student, Smith had his bachelor's degree in management-entrepreneurship. He was accepted into the management-entrepreneurship graduate program, and that eligibility enabled him to play in the 2011 season. 

Smith is a great pass-defender and run-stopper.

Standing in at 6'2" and 214 pounds, Smith will provide the Vikings secondary with size, strength, speed and intelligence. The Vikings finally get their ball hawk in Smith, and he will definitely not allow opposing teams to throw for nine touchdowns of over 20 yards like they did in 2011. 

Having been the captain for Notre Dame's defense, he also provides the Vikings with some more leadership on their squad. Even though the Vikings desperately need a wide receiver to give Christian Ponder another option, the talent pool at safety was virtually non-existent after Smith.

The Vikings could address the wide receiver position by trading back up into the second round or in the third round. With Stephen Hill, Reuben Randle, Alshon Jeffery and Brian Quick still on the board, the Vikings made a great decision by locking up the last great safety left in the draft. 

Don't expect the Vikings to be ranked 26th overall in pass defense next season—Smith will now automatically give the team something they have not had in years, a great secondary. 

 

Sammy Sucu is a featured columnist for the WWE. Sammy also writes for the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Lakers. You can follow him on Twitter.

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