Multiple selections at the cornerback position may have always been the plan for Minnesota, but it took two third-day picks to get it done. North Carolina's Jabari Price joins Kendall James as a Vikings draftee at the position. Antone Exum would be a third if not considered a safety.
Price is another seventh-round pick who may have a tough road to making the Minnesota roster. He will initially fall behind the likes of Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Robinson, Shaun Prater, Marcus Sherels, Derek Cox, Kendall James and maybe even Exum at the position. He has a steep hill to climb in order to reach the final roster at final cuts.
Price has the mentality teams look for in a seventh-round pick. His playing style is equal parts physical and aggressive. He will have to apply that drive to his work ethic to make his impact on the Vikings, as all seventh-round picks must do.
The schematic fit could be a good one if Price can separate himself from other cornerbacks on the roster. Mike Zimmer can play him on the line of scrimmage, let him get physical with wide receivers and utilize his man coverage skills. Optimally, Price's best fit is over slot receivers, but he could project as an outside cornerback as well.
Price was never a true playmaker for the Tar Heels. He only brought down two interceptions during his college career and just didn't make big plays. The Vikings already have plenty of cornerbacks who match that profile and are probably more talented than Price.
If nickel and dime packages are where Price ends up, his value as a tackler will be helpful. Price is a willing run defender and a reliable tackler. He can help his case by providing a physical presence in the box where other cornerbacks may be unwilling.
Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net comments on Price:
Price possesses the skills necessary to line up in dime packages at the next level. A productive special teams player at North Carolina, he could be a sleeper in camp this summer.
Special teams contributions are what enable late-round picks to make the team. It's no different for Jabari Price. His playing style, physicality and speed could all increase his value for special teams work.
Immediate expectations for Price should be almost non-existent. The Vikings will examine the multiple rookies they added to the secondary and let the best one win. Competition will rule in a secondary that lacks four or five obvious starting players.
Jabari Price needs to come into camp with the mindset that he can make the team. He has enough talent to pull it off. He's up against a large number of candidates for those spots, so he will have to earn it.