Weight: 244 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 5/8″
Hand Size: 10″
For the first time during the 2017 NFL Draft, Rick Spielman has the Vikings faithful scratching heads. Minnesota spent its second pick in the fourth round (120th overall) on Michigan linebacker Ben Gedeon.
Gedeon was a tackling machine at Michigan, always finding a way to be around the ball. He possesses solid instincts at showed some ability to sift through blocks to track down ball carriers.
In coverage, Gedeon’s average athleticism hides his ability to read the quarterback and play zone coverage. He will disrupt short routes over the middle often, but likely will have trouble keeping up with pass catchers in the NFL, especially those with supreme athleticism.
This isn’t to say Gedeon isn’t a good athlete. He put up some impressive numbers at the NFL combine, including a 4.75 40-yard dash. The athleticism on paper just didn’t necessarily show up on the field.
Gedeon was a four-year contributor on each of Michigan’s special teams cover units, and he was dominant in that role. He recorded 23 special teams tackles in his career.
Gedeon’s ultimate ceiling is an average starting middle linebacker in the NFL. His floor appears to be a career-long special teamer.
Gedeon’s profile suits him best as a mike linebacker in the NFL. With the Vikings, that puts him in a backup role for Eric Kendricks.
There is potential for Gedeon to fight for playing time in base defense. Kendricks has the skill set to play outside linebacker, which would allow Gedeon to fill in the middle role.
The most likely scenario is that Gedeon enters Minnesota and fills a role on special teams to begin his NFL career. His ability and tendencies make him very similar to Minnesota’s 2016 draft pick Kentrell Brothers.
Minnesota does need some special teams help on cover teams, so Gedeon should help that unit improve right away.
Quick reaction tells me Rick Spielman reached a bit for one of “his” guys for this selection. It’s an eyebrow-raiser that seems to show Spielman has something up his sleeve with the pick.
But for now, we can only speculate on what we have seen from Gedeon. And that is a middle linebacker will good instincts and nose for the ball who will be a bit overmatched by supreme NFL athletes to be a starter.
2017 NFL DRAFT PICK INSTANT ANALYSES: