The Minnesota Vikings needed to find some depth at guard after Geoff Schwartz signed with Kansas City this offseason. After not drafting any offensive linemen last year, the Vikings drafted two guards late in the draft to plug that hole.
With the addition of North Carolina guard Travis Bond, Minnesota added some beef with its second selection in the seventh round. To say Bond is a big man is an understatement. He stands 6'6" tall and is a slim and trim 329 pounds. That's slim considering that after the 2011 Independence Bowl, he weighed 375 pounds.
His teammates at North Carolina nicknamed him "Tree Top."
Despite his massive size, he did not become a starter until his junior season with the Tar Heels. In that season, he started all 13 games at right guard. According to the analysis from NFL.com, one of his weaknesses is playing too tall. That allows the defender to get underneath him and drive him backward.
Here's NFL.com's bottom line on Bond:
A massive man even among one of the biggest lines in college football, Bond’s size alone gives him a chance to be a late round draft pick. He got too big after his first year as a starter in 2011 (372 pounds), but dropped to the 330-pound range for this senior year.
Compared to the nine linemen currently on the Vikings roster, Bond is neither the tallest nor the heaviest. Starting right tackle Phil Loadholt is 6'8" and 343 pounds.
But compared to starting guards Charlie Johnson (6'4", 305 pounds) and Brandon Fusco (6'4", 305 pounds) and practice squad player Seth Olsen (6'5", 312 pounds), Bond has a size and weight advantage. Whether that translates into any advantage on the field may be determined a few years down the road.
Bond will be a bit of a project for the Vikings and will most likely land on the practice squad in 2013.