[Editor’s note: This is another GIF-heavy article from Darren Page. Previously, some readers have indicated that they have had trouble loading pages that have this many GIFs embedded at once, so a mobile-friendly version with the GIFs implemented as links instead of embedded images is available here - Arif]
The Minnesota Vikings made their first of multiple secondary selections by drafting Virginia Tech’s Antone Exum in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Exum started 32 games between both the safety and cornerback positions going into his senior season at Virginia Tech. A torn ACL and lateral meniscus in his right knee suffered during a pick-up basketball game cut into his final season in Blacksburg. He would return for two full games in 2013 as a shell of himself. An ankle injury suffered against Miami in his third start ended his season.
The shame of it was that Exum was coming off a heralded junior year in which he was named second team All-ACC in a talented group of cornerbacks that included current Viking Xavier Rhodes. Exum led the Hokies with five interceptions. He also logged 48 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 16 pass break-ups, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.
Exum won time at both free safety and a “rover” position during the 2011 season. He was technically a safety ever since he arrived at Virginia Tech, only platooning at cornerback the one season. That experience at safety will be important, because Exum is listed as a safety for the Vikings.
Let’s dig into the meat of Exum’s cornerback play in 2012 and translate it to safety play before looking at how the Vikings may plan on using him.