Fans often talk about the Vikings bringing rookies along slowly like it is a habit, but something rang untrue about that to me…
ZIMMER’S FIRST ROUND HISTORY
Mike Zimmer was the defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys from 1994 to 1999. During that time, his team never drafted a cornerback or safety earlier than the third round.
Zimmer was then promoted to defensive coordinator through the 2006 season. In back-to-back seasons (2002 and 2003), the Cowboys selected first round defensive backs Roy Williams (8th overall) and Terence Newman (5th overall).
Williams not only played in every game of rookie season, but he started every game of the first five seasons of his career. He got some votes for defensive rookie of the year and then played in five consecutive Pro Bowls from 2003 to 2007.
Williams’ career then took a three-year dive, starting with the introduction of the horse collar rule following his own aggressive tackle It also included a reunion with Zimmer in Cincinnati before Williams was out of the league following the 2010 season.
Similarly, Newman started in every game for the Cowboys through his first four years in the league. Newman has played in two Pro Bowls and is now one of the league’s oldest players as he plays in his 14th season with the Minnesota Vikings (still making interceptions, by the way).