A Promising Cornerback Who Is a Perfect Fit for Vikings

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Clemson defensive back Andrew Booth. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

We all know that the Vikings need cornerbacks. This is not a surprise for anyone. The Vikings cornerbacks have struggled since the amazing 2017 season when Xavier Rhodes was “Rhodes Closed.” Since then, the Vikings have drafted multiple first-round cornerbacks.

This year, there is a promising cornerback who is a perfect fit for the Vikings.

The cornerback I am alluding to might not be who you think it is. We are not talking about Derek Stingley Jr. or Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner. We are talking about Andrew Booth Jr. out of Clemson.

Most Vikings fans, myself included, are wishing for Derek Stingley Jr. or Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner to be the Vikings’ selection on April 28th. If we don’t land either of them, most of us would be happy to get Trent McDuffie. However, Andrew Booth Jr. doesn’t seem to be getting the same amount of love.

This is a bit odd, considering he played well at Clemson. Perhaps it is because he only started 15 games in his college career. Or maybe we fans have narrowed our focus a bit too much. Either way, we should open up our minds to the possibility of drafting Andrew Booth Jr., and we should be excited about that.

Why Vikings Fans be Excited for Andrew Booth Jr.

Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) during practice at the Poe Indoor Facility in Clemson in Clemson, S.C. Friday, December 17, 2021. Clemson Football Practice Dec 17 Friday

Let’s take a closer look into why the Vikings might be considering Booth. This morning SI posted this tweet with a link to their tape breakdown of Booth’s traits. It is an excellent analysis, and I encourage you to take a look. Although we will go over the portions, I am most excited about it here.

The most impressive part of his game is his ability to blow up wide receiver screens. He is aggressive to either beat the block or go right through the block to make the tackle. This is an important part of being a cornerback, particularly with today’s game, as teams look to use wide receiver screens as an extension of the run game.

If your cornerbacks can shut down these plays, your defense will be significantly better.

The next part of his game I like is his click and close in combination with ball skills. His ability to see the ball and react quickly to shut down yards after the catch is impressive. He is a good open-field tackler to prevent those extra yards.

He pairs that click and close with his long arms and ability to go through the receiver’s arms to break up passes. This combination of skills will help him excel at the NFL level.

While it is easy to hype up a player, we need to be honest about their faults. His most significant issue is opening up his hips too early, making him susceptible to quick breaking routes. This will need to be corrected early on, or the NFL wide receivers and quarterbacks will expose it.

If that tendency can be coached out of him, his all the traits and abilities to be an elite cornerback in the NFL.

Why He Is a Perfect Fit

Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) celebrates his second interception during the first quarter at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina Saturday, November 27, 2021. Clemson U Of Sc Football In Columbia

The main reason the Vikings should target him in the draft is because of his ability to play press-man coverage. Mike Santagata mentions in the article in SI that the perfect system fit for Booth is a Vic Fangio system. Guess what type of defense the Vikings will be running in 2022?

While we can still hope for Derek Stingley Jr. or Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, we shouldn’t overlook the idea of drafting Andrew Booth Jr. He has everything you look for in a starting cornerback.

The best part is, with all the hype over Stingley, Gardner, and McDuffie, there is a good chance the Vikings could trade back to the late middle of the first round and draft him. This is precisely the kind of value creation one should expect a former Wall Street guy like Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to make.

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