Should the Vikings take a chance in the middle of the NFL draft on this undersized linebacker?

[This Eric Striker Scouting Report, with a Vikings slant, has been provided to Vikings Territory by Draft Season. Be sure to check back for more and also be sure to visit Draft Season to quench your NFL Draft thirst. All previously published scouting reports can be found by clicking here.]

Eric Striker | Linebacker, Oklahoma

Measurements

Height – 5’11”
Weight – 228 lbs.
Age – 21-22 yrs.

At First Glance

First Team All-Big 12

Projected Round:

3rd to 4th Round

Pros

Great speed. Can fly sideline to sideline.

Emotional leader on the field. Striker is vocal and gets his teammates fired up.

Uses his hands well to get off blocks.

Good bend when coming off the edge. Striker can get low and get around would be blockers.

Excellent blitzer. Comes off the ball very quickly, and can get to the quarterback in a hurry.

Disciplined. He doesn’t attack the football until he’s sure of where it’s going.

Very high motor. Striker doesn’t ever give up on a play, and keeps going until the whistle blows.

Smart, fiery leader off the field, who some consider an activist for his role in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity incident.

Cons

Size. Striker measured in at the Senior Bowl at just 5’11” and 228 lbs. That alone will scare some teams off.

Tackles too high. Striker often tackles by the shoulder pads and upper chest of the ball carrier. He won’t bring many NFL backs or receivers down doing it that way, and will be flagged often if he goes high on quarterbacks.

More of a grabber than a hitter. Striker tends to want to grab the ball carrier then wrestle him down instead of lowering his shoulder and really popping someone.

Like most college linebackers, needs to work on pass coverage. He clearly has the speed to keep up with backs and receivers but teams will wonder if his technique can make up for his lack of size.

His snapchat rant against Sigma Alpha Epsilon (NSFW Language) may be a plus for most teams, but some teams could be scared off, because they don’t want any player making any type of noise off the field, especially on social media.

NFL Player Comparison:

Shaq Thompson, Carolina Panthers

The Vikings Slant

Vikings fit? Yes.

Striker is definitely a player the Vikings could end up drafting. There is a clear need at outside linebacker with uncertainty surrounding whether or not Chad Greenway will be back for another season. The Vikings may not address this issue until the middle of the draft, a place where they could potentially land the Oklahoma linebacker. Striker may still be available in these mid-rounds due to his lack of size. He measured at just 5’11” at the Senior Bowl and some teams may write him off because of that alone. However, that would be foolish as Striker is extremely fast and can cover a ton of ground quickly. He’s also a lightning bolt on the field, playing with crazy intensity and can get his teammates fired up. Striker never gives up on a play, and goes hard until he hears a whistle. He’s a great blitzer off the edge and it’s easy to see how Mike Zimmer could have a field day utilizing this ability.

Striker does need some work in coverage, and needs to target a bit lower when tackling. But if he’s on the board in rounds 3 or 4 (and the Vikings find themselves with a hole at linebacker) then Striker could become a very realistic option.

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