The team at Vikings Territory has been busy working to get to know each of our newest Vikings draft selections and this week we will give you a chance to learn everything we know about these players through our reintroduction of the “Welcome to the Big Show” series.
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Ben Gedeon is no stranger to the midwest. Born and raised in Hudson, Ohio, he made a name for himself as a two-sport athlete at Hudson High School. Gedeon played basketball and football, shining on the field as a running back and linebacker. In his two senior seasons, Gedeon finished with 2,509 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns. It was defense, however, where Gedeon earned his status as a four-star recruit.
The Explorers’ middle linebacker finished the 2013 season with more than 100 tackles, including 55 solo tackles. Before committing to Michigan, Gedeon also fielded offers from a number of Division I schools, including Boston College, Duke, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Pittsburgh.
Over his four-season career with the Wolverines, Gedeon totaled 177 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. He eventually became the leader of the defense, stepping comfortably into the role before the start of the 2016 season. ““Ben was overshadowed by the other three last year, given that they played so much,” said Wolverines linebackers coach Chris Partridge, per the Detroit Free Press. “But he took his own. As soon as they were gone, he came in in the spring and he was the guy and everyone knows it. Everyone on the defense knows that he’s the leader there, the vocal guy.””
College Attended: Michigan
Collegiate Seasons: 4
Games Played: 40
Combined Tackles: 177
Pass Defenses: 2
Weight: 244 pounds
Arm Length: 32 5/8″
Hand Size: 10″
40-Yard Dash: 4.75 seconds
Bench Press: 27 reps
Vertical Jump: 34 1/2″
Broad Jump: 119″
3-Cone Drill: 6.98 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.13 seconds
60-Yard Shuttle: 11.58 seconds
- Ideal size for a two-down middle linebacker
- Quickly diagnoses and identifies backfield action
- Capable in the trenches, with the strength and lateral agility to navigate through traffic
- Keeps shoulder pads square; fills the gap efficiently
- Six of his 6.5 career sacks came in 2016; a more-than-capable blitzer
- Potential plug-and-play contributor on special teams
- Measurables and athleticism don’t translate to the field
- More of a downhill attacker than sideline-to-sideline athlete
- Lacks the speed to beat running backs to the edge
- Ball skills are lacking; allowed 30 catches on 37 targets between 2014-2016
TALE OF THE TAPE
Lance Zierlein – NFL.com: “Gedeon has ample size and talent to become an NFL backup at middle linebacker, but his bread will be buttered as a special teams performer as he has the instincts and fearlessness needed to succeed in that area. He can step in and get you through a game at inside linebacker, but his lack of speed and short area quickness could be picked at on the next level.”
Charlie Campbell – Walter Football: “Gedeon is a similar prospect to former Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan, but the post-knee injury version of Ryan. In 2016, Gedeon totaled 106 tackles with 15.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks and two passes batted. It was a huge jump over his junior (34 tackles), sophomore (17 tackles) and freshman (19 tackles) totals when he was a backup. Gedeon is a tough run defender but has athletic limitations for pass coverage in the NFL.”
Pro Football Focus – Analysis Team: “Gedeon is a two-down linebacker who likely played at his athletic and physical capacity in 2016 due to the strength of the Michigan roster around him. He is quick to diagnose and attack run plays in front and is a sound tackler because of his ability to stay square to his targets, but his lack of playing speed and instincts in coverage make him a liability on the back end. His physicality against blockers does give him some viability on inside runs and on blitzes, but he shouldn’t be taken until the middle of Day 3.”
SELECTION & REACTION
— Ben Gedeon (@bgedeon42) April 29, 2017
The initial expert analysis of Minnesota’s selection of Ben Gedeon was mediocre across the board:
Ben Goessling – ESPN: “The Vikings needed linebackers who could stop the run and play on special teams, and Ben Gedeon figures to do both. He might turn out to be a two-down player in the NFL, but the role left open by Chad Greenway’s retirement was for a run-first player, anyway. With Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks playing in the nickel, Gedeon will join the mix of players competing for time at Greenway’s old spot.”
Spencer Hall – CBS Sports: “A one-year starter and natural leader. Never wants to come off the field and will likely add depth at LB while contributing immediately on special teams. Helps to replace the loss of Chad Greenway.”
VT Readers – Poll: Vikings Territory readers fell very much in line with the professional analysts, with the majority giving the Gedeon selection a “C.”
THE VIKINGS FIT
Gedeon’s athletic build, college experience, and role at Michigan project him as a middle linebacker in the NFL. Surprisingly, most analysts predict, at the very least, he’ll compete at Chad Greenway’s old weak side linebacker position. To start, Gedeon could easily find a role in the mold of Heath Farwell, who manned Minnesota’s special teams units for five years.
A special teams ace and thumper in the run game, Gedeon is what many teams would consider a “glue” player; he doesn’t necessarily stand out, but he’s the type of player coaches can fill in anywhere to keep things running smoothly.