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Christian Darrisaw Drafted by Vikings: MIN's Updated Depth Chart After Round 1

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

FILE - Christian Darrisaw smiles after completing a set of offensive line drills during Virginia Tech Pro Day in Blacksburg, Va., in this Friday, March 26, 2021, file photo. Darrisaw is a possible first round pick in the NFL Draft, April 29-May 1, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Matt Gentry, File)
Matt Gentry/Associated Press

The Minnesota Vikings selected Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw with the 23rd overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

Oregon's Penei Sewell was almost universally regarded as not just the best tackle on the board but also one of the top players overall in this year's draft class. In the B/R NFL Scouting Department's Final Big Board, he was the No. 4-ranked prospect.

For teams that didn't stand much of a chance to land the Ducks left tackle, Darrisaw became one of the most obvious alternatives. Here's where he fits in the Vikings depth chart:

QB: Kirk Cousins, Jake Browning, Nate Stanley

RB: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Ameer Abdullah, Jake Bargas

FB: C.J. Ham

WR 1: Justin Jefferson, Olabisi Johnson, Dan Chisena

WR 2: Adam Thielen, Chad Beebe, K.J. Osborn 

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TE: Irv Smith Jr., Tyler Conklin, Hale Hentges, Brandon Dillon

LT: Christian Darrisaw*, Rashod Hill

LG: Dakota Dozier, Kyle Hinton, Zack Bailey

C: Garrett Bradbury, Mason Cole

RG: Ezra Cleveland, Dru Samia

RT: Brian O'Neill, Olisaemeka Udoh, Blake Brandel

  

Depth chart info provided by Ourlads and Over the Cap.

The Upper Marlboro, Maryland, native made an immediate impact for the Hokies, starting 12 games as a true freshman in 2018. The 2020 season was his best in Blacksburg as he went on to earn All-ACC first-team honors.

PFF's Seth Galina wrote how Darrisaw excelled as a run-blocker and showed big progress in that category from year to year. His run-blocking grade rose from 64.0 to 78.6 between 2018 and 2019 and jumped significantly to 93.4 last year.

The Athletic's Bob McGinn also spoke to an anonymous scout who described the the 6'5", 314-pound blocker as "super light on his feet." However, multiple scouts also expressed concerns about his effort level, explaining how he was so good that the game came easier to him, which won't be the case early on in the NFL.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared Darrisaw to two-time Pro Bowler Russell Okung:

"Athletically gifted left tackle prospect with the natural talent to be as good as he wants to be. Darrisaw plays with plus body control. He has the initial quickness and smooth agility to get to any and all blocks in the run game. The tape shows a player who's able to make jaw-dropping cutoffs on the backside but who gives half-hearted effort securing down blocks and squeezing down to help protect the B-gap. He's flexible and loose in pass pro, with the foot quickness and hand strength to punch and close up shop on would-be edge rushers."

Darrisaw has the size and athleticism to stick at left tackle. His ability to open running lanes means at worst he should slot in as a starting right tackle for years to come.

And as long as he can address the questions about his focus and effort, he should collect multiple Pro Bowl nods across his time in the NFL.

Riley Reiff started 58 games at left tackle over four seasons in Minnesota, but his time with the franchise came to an end in March. That created a clear need for the team early in the draft.

With Sewell and Rashawn Slater already off the board, Darrisaw was the most obvious option for the Vikings to replace Reiff on the left side of the line.

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