Between now and the NFL Draft I am hoping to highlight prospects that I think should be of particular interest to the Vikings. I am not releasing my “targets” in any particular order, other than that I feel comfortable with the volume of film I have watched, and will aim to have a wide variety of prospects from first round talents to potentially undrafted guys.
My first draft target was running back Marcus Lattimore. If you missed that article you can click here to check it out.
Now I have jumped over the other side of the ball and identified a defensive player that I think could really start getting a lot of buzz once draftniks begin to pay a little more attention to smaller school prospects.
This particular prospect was inexplicably not invited to the Senior Bowl despite being named Mid-American Conference defensive player of the year.
Bowling Green defensive tackle Chris Jones is currently flying way under the radar, but what I have seen out of him leads me to believe he could be this year’s Bruce Irvin… by which I mean, yes, he could potentially be surprise first round selection.
Jones stands at 6’ 2” and weighs in at about 302 pounds. He is the type of player that continued to take big steps of progression throughout his college career and does not seem to have peaked, by any means.
This last season he registered 12.5 sacks (third in the nation) and 19 tackles for a loss (ninth). He is very disruptive in the middle of the defensive line and always seems to be creating chaos for opposing quarterbacks.
“For an inside tackle, operating in not so much space, to generate those kinds of numbers, well, that’s a rare guy,” BGSU Head Coach Dave Clawson says. “He’s unblockable at times in practice. If we’re working on pass offense and want to throw deep we take him out. We script it on our practice plan — CJ out. Otherwise, we get nothing accomplished.”
It is hard to find Jones included in any rankings on Draft websites. It is tough to find a scouting report on him. After seeing his tape, however, it’ll be hard to see him slipping much farther than the second round in April.
The Vikings could obviously use some help at defensive tackle. Kevin Williams is getting older and isn’t cheap while Letroy Guion and Christian Ballard have yet to really establish themselves as true forces in the middle of the line.
Here is a highlight video for Jones (#91):