2012 NFL Draft Grades: Grading Minnesota Vikings' Selection of Harrison Smith

Louis Musto@LouisMustoContributor IIIApril 27, 2012

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

The Minnesota Vikings made a big splash to start the 2012 NFL draft, dealing the third-overall selection to the Cleveland Browns to move back one spot while adding fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round selections.

And in one fell swoop, the Vikings walked away as the draft’s big winners before even making a pick.

Then, they added top offensive tackle Matt Kalil from USC.

But they were not done yet.

The Vikings swapped their second-round pick and the Browns fourth-rounder to the Ravens to jump back into the first round at No. 29. With that pick, the Vikings bolstered their secondary with the selection of Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith.

Smith is by no means the late-first round equivalent of Tampa Bay’s Mark Barron, but he is nothing to scoff at either.

Smith is a quality strong safety prospect capable of playing against the run and the pass. He shows desirable ball skills and seems to always get a good jump on the football.

His speed hampers him in coverage and he should not be trusted with covering the NFL's best wide receivers. Despite this, Smith does boast favorable cover skills and should have no trouble playing against the game’s best tight ends, as he will most often be tasked to do.

Though 29th overall pick may be a bit of a reach for Smith, but the Vikings did what they had to do to acquire the draft’s second-best safety.

Smith is a stalwart defender that loves to lay the lumber with elite potential. He will make an immediate impact for the Vikings, upgrading one of the NFL’s worst secondary groups.

Grade: B+