With the 29th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings have offered their 2nd round pick and some other crap selection to move back into the first round to which was once the Baltimore Ravens’ spot so they could select a player they probably could have had in the second round anyway, and select Golden Domer Harrison Smith!
WHO? Harrison Smith, safety from that some of a bitch school Notre Dame, is a 6 foot 2 inch tall, 213 pound senior that is described on the Vikings site as being “ultra-athletic,” which I of course don’t buy. My full disclosure here is that I hate pretty much anything that has to do with Notre Dame, don’t watch them play except for when they lose (it’s so much fun!), and only know that their defense has been leaking more than Jenna Jameson’s ass at a gang bang. On the other hand … The guy looks like he is … fine … as a player, and when put in perspective to what the Vikings had PRIOR to this, it’s obviously an upgrade. But what IS an upgrade to a car that already doesn’t have any tires, and engine, axle, frame and body, steering wheel, and is essentially just a glove compartment box?
Anyway, hurray, we have a safety.
THE GOODNESS: OK, in all seriousness the guy is smart by all accounts. He’s got good play recognition, isn’t afraid to hit people, apparently can wrap ball carriers up instead of just throwing a shoulder wildly at them, JAMARCA SANFORD, and is pretty solid in run support. This, we obviously need, as our safeties (really, our whole team …) has been the worst at taking proper angles to stop anyone, whether they are running a deep route on a pass or breaking through the front seven on a run. If I never have to see Tyrell Johnson forget what the long side of a triangle is, I will die happy. What Smith lacks in actually football skill, he makes up for in smarts and “go-get-it-ness,” which seems like the opposite kind of pick David Kahn would make, but ends up being the only type of player on his team that is actually good. He’s also shown he capacity to be able to get the big turnover when needed, and can read and react to quarterbacks well in a zone, breaking on the ball, and either deflecting or intercepting. Honestly, I didn’t even know you were allowed to do that from the safety position. I thought that was like a 5 yard penalty. Just seemed natural.
BAD NEWS BEARS: Well, I haven’t found a shirtless picture yet, so that’s bad. Also, there are legitimate concerns about his speed and ability to cover man-to-man. He’s shown he’s better in a read-and-react zone system – which is obviously why he was so coveted by the Vikings and their Cover-2 scheme – but if we ever get in a scenario where he has to drop down into the box to cover a tight end or a running back who spread out wide, we’ll be in trouble. Hopefully it won’t come to that, though, and the team will draft a linebacker that can handle some of those duties PLEASEGODJUSTDRAFTLAVONTEDAVIDALREADY.
FINAL VERDICT: It’s a big meh right now, and it’s largely because of what we gave up to draft him. As the draft broke down, you had the impression Smith would have fallen to our second round pick (or later), allowing us to also have that second rounder to pick up a much needed receiver. We still may be able to trade back into the second round to nab one, but if we don’t, I still can’t shake the feeling that it was too much to give up to draft Smith. However, I get the feeling that once I see him play my opinion will change. It’s like watching Ricky Rubio come to play for the Wolves, in a sense. You know what the player can do, but when you see it in person it somehow is even more impressive. Hearing that a player like Smith can play the safety position, will probably be an instant starter for the Vikings, and play even reasonably well, doesn’t sound all that sexy. However, the results are likely to blow people away in the sense that we’ve been so devoid of appropriate safety play for so many years that Smith will seem even more outstanding. And who knows, really. The team and scheme seem perfect for his strengths and wonderfully hide his weaknesses, so maybe he could end up being that solid starter in the backfield that we need.
If not, well, he can’t really be any worse than Tyrell Johnson, and as others have pointed out, he’ll at least be able to eat during the summer months of training camp. Bonus points for that.