The Minnesota Vikings have had great success with mid-round defensive linemen. Danielle Hunter was a third round pick who is looking like a rising star, while Everson Griffen has been consistently performing at an All-Pro level after being drafted in the fourth round. Talent can often fall a few rounds for whatever reason.
Griffen’s intensity and motor were question prior to his being drafted, and had some legal troubles in his rookie season. Griffen has since turned into one of the most intense players in the NFL, a true leader, and, apart from some mental health issues that he has been working through, a perfect example of talent falling because of scouts questioning a players motivation which can make the draft an even bigger crapshoot, both for teams and those that have been betting on the draft itself since sports betting was legalized (even if you have a michigan lottery promo code), than it already is.
Trysten Hill had his motivation and maturity questioned as a Junior at the University of Central Florida. After being a starter at defensive tackle for his first two years at UCF under coach Scott Frost, Hill spent his Junior season as a rotational player under new coach Josh Huepel.
There was obviously tension between Hill and Huepel’s staff, and Hill declared just hours after UCF’s bowl game in December. Hill was very vocal about his lack of playing time, and it appeared that he just did not mesh well with his new coaches. Whatever the case, Hill was an excellent college player. Hill finished his college career with 71 total tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks. Hill also mixed it up with a 2-yard rushing touchdown for UCF.
Hill is a big man at 6’3” and 308 lbs. His sheer size is impressive, but when you couple it with his athleticism, they become a deadly combination. Hill has qualities that remind me so much of Everson Griffen. An explosive first step, and tons of effort when he’s in the game, are what jumped off his film. Hill also brings a ton of energy and tenacity when he is on the field. Effort and energy can help win the battle in the trenches, and Hill can certainly inject life into a team. He has the raw power and energy to become an effective rotational player, and maybe even starter in the NFL.
Hill does have some physical qualities that are not intriguing. He’s not especially long in the arms, so he might have a tough time keeping offensive linemen out of his chest and chucking them. He’s also not projecting to be a 3 technique defensive tackle. Hill would be looking to study under Linval Joseph to become an effective run-stopping 1 technique. Hill has had troubles keeping his head up and being aware of what is happening around him, and occasionally takes himself out of plays by turning the wrong way. He will need to improve on his awareness to become a true starting defensive tackle.
If the Vikings were looking to get Hill, they would need to snag him in the fourth to sixth round. However, Hill has the talent and effort level of a first or second round player. Rick Spielman and the Vikings have sorted out players with character problems before, and Hill might just be the steal of the draft. I look for them to bring him in as rotational depth, and to learn under Linval Joseph, who is no spring chicken at 30-years-old.
Projected Draft Round: 4-6
Likelihood the Vikings are targeting him: Very Likely
Likelihood the Vikings could land him: Decent, other teams will certainly be targeting a guy with his talent who will be this low in the draft
Best Traits: Size, First step, Effort
Biggest Drawbacks: Character questions, On field intelligence and awareness,