Olisaemeka Udoh Jersey

The Vikings added to their offensive line multiple times in the 2019 NFL Draft, including in the sixth round when they tabbed tackle Olisaemeka Udoh out of Elon with the 193rd overall pick.

Udoh’s selection was the third pick by Minnesota in a four-pick span, thanks to a trade the previous night.

Udoh started all 45 games he played at right tackle for the Phoenix after redshirting in 2014. Udoh earned placement on the All-Colonial Athletic Association First Team in 2018.In the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft the Vikings selected Elon T Olisaemeka Udoh.

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Udoh was one of the top scholar-athletes in North Carolina’s Cape Fear Region while attending Fayetteville’s Sanford High School. He stayed in-state to play football, redshirting his first season with the Phoenix. He grabbed the starting spot at right tackle in 2015 and never let go. Udoh started all 11 games in 2015 on the right side, all 11 games in 2016, and all 12 contests in 2017. He did not earn all-conference honors in any of those three seasons, but was a first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection in 2018 and recognized as an Academic All-Conference pick multiple times.

Elon University football’s offensive lineman Olisaemeka Udoh was selected Saturday, April 27, in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings to become the third Elon player selected in the draft in the program’s Division I tenure.

Udoh was selected with the 21st selection of the sixth round. He is the first Elon player to be taken higher than the seventh round since Jimmy Smith was selected in the fourth round of the 1984 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.Irv Smith Jr. has become the first Minnesota Vikings draft pick from the 2019 class to agree to his rookie deal, as reports surfaced on Thursday that the tight end has made his contract official ahead of the start of rookie camp in the Twin Cities this weekend. ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report that the Vikings have agreed to sign the second-round pick to a contract, making him the highest selection to be inked by a team so far from the 2019 NFL Draft class. Smith was the No. 50 overall pick.

A handful of other draft picks have also agreed to sign their deals, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Sixth-round picks in offensive tackle Olisaemeka Udoh and defensive back Marcus Epps are also now under contract heading into the weekend.

“Smith may never be an elite tight end at the next level, but he is a safe bet to be a consistent and reliable one,” Vikings on 247Sports wrote in Smith’s player profile. “He is athletic enough to be a good chess piece in an offense and is rock solid as both a blocker and a pass catcher. He does not have a ton of playing experience, but remember that he is coming from a pro prospect factory at Alabama. His ceiling is not quite as high as the T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant type players of this draft, but there is next to little risk in grabbing him to add to a football team. It was a bit of a shock when he was still on the board after the first five to ten picks of the second round and easily could have gone much higher, but the Vikings now have their No. 2 athletic tight end to Kyle Rudolph and probable successor to him at the position.

It started on the first night of the draft, where the Vikings proved some skeptical fans wrong when they took their biggest need of the draft and addressed it right off the bat with Garrett Bradbury, the draft’s best center prospect (who could also wind up at guard). The offense was again addressed on night two with tight end Irv Smith Jr. coming off the board in the second and running back Alexander Mattison being selected at the end of the third round after several trades back. They would open day three by taking another potential starting offensive lineman in Dru Samia out of Oklahoma. This was the first team in team history they spent the first four picks of their draft strictly on offensive players.

When Minnesota did not make the postseason after 2018, multiple assistants shifted to work roles on coaching staffs for the East-West Shrine Game. The coaches included Vikings assistant offensive line coach Andrew Janocko, who was the offensive coordinator for the East and worked directly with Udoh.

Joe Marino covered the week of practices for TheDraftNetwork.com and listed Udoh as one of the five “biggest winners” from Shrine game practices.

Marcus Epps Jersey

Wyoming Marcus Epps, who was selected from the 191st overall spot, became the second of three sixth-round picks drafted by the Vikings.

Epps went from walk-on to three-time team captain for the Cowboys. Over four seasons (following a redshirt in 2014), he racked up 325 tackles (215 solo), nine interceptions returned for 211 yards and a touchdown, 2.0 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss and 22 passes broken up.

Epps recorded two interceptions, including a pick-six, against Eastern Michigan in 2016.While Epps was not an NFL Scouting Combine invitee, he made the most of his performance at Wyoming’s Pro Day in early March.

According to Davis Potter of the Casper Star Tribune, Epps recorded a 38.5-inch vertical jump and leapt 10 feet, 4 inches in the broad jump. He clocked in at 4.06 in the 20-yard shuttle and “was clocked at 4.52 seconds and 4.54 seconds” in the 40-yard dash, despite fighting cramps.

Epps continued to be one of the top playmakers not only on the Cowboys, but in the Mountain West Conference. Epps finished the season with 68 tackles with 42 solo stops and 26 assisted. He also recorded one sack and five tackles for loss. Epps recorded four interceptions on the season and also broke up four passes. He recorded one fumble recovery and also forced one fumble. In his career, Epps has recorded 262 career tackles to go along with nine interceptions and four fumbles recoveries. He also has forced four fumbles in his career and has broken up 22 career passes.

Marcus Epps was a valuable playmaker in the UW secondary. He finished the season with 111 tackles ranking second on the team. He also added six tackles for loss. Epps tied for the team lead in interceptions with three. He recorded two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown against Eastern Michigan. Epps led the Cowboys this season with six pass breakups. He also forced two fumbles and recovered three. He recorded a career-high tying 13 tackles in the Mountain West Championship game. He also added 12 tackles in games against UNLV and San Diego State in the regular season home finale. He also recorded an interception and returned it for 27 yards against Air Force. Heads into the season with 194 career tackles.

Epps had a strong first season with the Pokes playing in all 11 games, ranking third on the team in total tackles and leading the Pokes in interceptions with two. He recorded 83 tackles on the season with 59 solo stops and 24 assisted tackles. He ranked fifth in the Mountain West and No. 39 in the nation in solo tackles per game at 5.4 and ranked 12th in the MW in total tackles (7.5 tackles per game). He also recorded two tackles for loss for five yards. Epps added a forced fumble and four pass breakups. He recorded a career-high 13 tackles in back-to-back contests against Utah State and Colorado State. Against the Rams he recorded a career-high 11 solo tackles. For the season, Epps recorded four double-digit tackle games. He recorded interceptions at Washington State and Appalachian State. He recorded eight tackles, one tackle for loss and two pass breakups at Boise State.

Less than a week after the 2019 NFL Draft, the Vikings are starting to sign some of their picks.

Per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, the Vikings have come to terms with second-round pick Irv Smith Jr. and sixth-round picks Oli Udoh and Marcus Epps.Yet to be signed includes first-round pick Garrett Bradbury, third-round pick Alexander Mattison, fourth-round pick Dru Samia, fifth-round pick Cameron Smith, sixth-round pick Armon Watts, and seventh-round picks Kris Boyd, Dillon Mitchell, Olabisi Johnson and Austin Cutting.

Epps becomes just the fourth player to ever be drafted from the University of Wyoming. He is the third-highest Cowboy selected by Minnesota behind defensive back Chuck Lamson, whom the Vikings drafted 43rd overall in their inaugural 1961 season, and linebacker Patrick Chukwurah the 157th overall pick in 2007. Minnesota also drafted defensive end Craig Schlichting in 1990 with the 214th spot.

To date, 46 Wyoming players have been drafted, the highest being quarterback Josh Allen, snagged seventh overall by the Bills in 2018.

Armon Watts Jersey

The Vikings draft had a rugged feel early on Saturday, as Minnesota used three of its first four Day 3 picks on defensive players.In the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft the Vikings selected Arkansas LB Armon Watts.That run included Arkansas defensive tackle Armon Watts, who was taken in the sixth round with the 190th overall selection.

Heading into his senior year, Watts had yet to make much of an impact with the Razorbacks. The three-star recruit from St. Louis red-shirted his first year in Fayetteville and played in 11 games as a reserve in 2015 (two tackles). He spent most of the next two years watching from the sideline, however. Watts played in just one contest in 2016 (one assisted tackle) and five games off the bunch in 2017 (four tackles). He finally earned a starting role in 2018, beginning 11 of 12 games played, and wound up leading the squad with seven sacks among his 49 tackles, 8.5 for loss. He also tied for the team lead with three forced fumbles.

Ascending interior defender who committed himself to the work and took the coaching and went from a lightly-used backup to the center stage his senior season. He is an efficient, downhill rusher with the power and hand usage to pry open opportunities for pressures and sacks. His recognition and response in the run game is behind, but his ability to anchor against double teams and defeat single blocks is NFL-caliber. Watts’s size, strength and play traits should allow him consideration in both odd and even fronts as a future starter.

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The Vikings on Friday signed sixth-round pick Armon Watts, a defensive tackle from Arkansas. He got a four-year, $2.689 million contract with a $169,096 signing bonus and will count $537,274 against the cap in 2019.

The Vikings on Thursday signed eight of the 12 players they selected in last week’s draft. Players still unsigned are offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury, a first-round pick, and seventh-round selections Kris Boyd, a cornerback, and Austin Cutting, a long snapper.

Watts signed before the Vikings took the field to begin a three-day rookie minicamp.

“He is obviously a very, very good athlete,” said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. “He had a lot of production in the things that he did (in college). He has a lot of things to work on obviously. (Defensive line coach) Andre (Patterson) stood on the table early for him in the draft process.”

Armon Watts burst onto the scene his senior season, and never looked back. He racked up 7 sacks, shining amid an otherwise lackluster performance from Arkansas’ defense throughout the year. A true testament to studying technique, and being receptive to coaching, one year in John Chavis’ system changed Watts’ future, and earning him a shot at the big time.

Watts was compared to current Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen in NFL.com writer Lance Zierlein’s pre-draft profile on the defensive lineman.Watts attended Christian Brothers High School in St. Louis, Missouri, where he played three sports for the Cadets. He chose Arkansas over offers from Missouri, Kentucky, Cincinnati and Wisconsin among others.

Zierlein also wrote that Watts is an “ascending interior defender who committed himself to the work and took the coaching and went from a lightly-used backup to the center stage his senior season. He is an efficient, downhill rusher with the power and hand usage to pry open opportunities for pressures and sacks. His recognition and response in the run game is behind, but his ability to anchor against double teams and defeat single blocks is NFL-caliber.”

Cameron Smith Jersey

The Vikings added their first defensive player of the 2019 NFL Draft on Saturday by picking Cameron Smith.Minnesota took the Southern Cal linebacker with the 162nd overall pick of the draft.

In the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings added former USC linebacker Cameron Smith, who should help improve the team’s defensive depth.

Depth on the defensive side of the ball is something that many felt the Minnesota Vikings would look to improve with some of their selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.Looking at how the Vikings added all offensive players with their first four picks of the draft, it was pretty obvious that Minnesota wasn’t too worried about any of their starters on defense for the 2019 season. However, a number of Vikings defenders did miss time with injuries last year and as a result, the unit wasn’t as dominating as it was in 2017.

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So in an effort to prevent that from happening again next season, Minnesota boosted the talent level of their defensive depth with some of their selections in this year’s NFL Draft. One of these picks came in the fifth round when the Vikings selected former USC linebacker Cameron Smith. “I really wanted to be part of this organization,’’ Browing said of why he chose the Vikings. “I formed relations (during the draft process) with (assistant head coach/offensive adviser Gary) Kubiak and I just felt like it was my best option.’’

Kubiak knows plenty about reserve quarterbacks. He was John Elway’s backup in Denver from 1983-91.

For someone on the Vikings who has known Browning the longest, the guy to turn to is linebacker Cameron Smith, taken out of USC in the fifth round of the draft. The two are both from the Sacramento, Calif., area and competed against each other in youth ball, high school and in college.

“I’ve been playing against Cameron Smith since we were like nine,’’ Browning said. “It’s kind of cool.’’

One game Smith wants to forget came in 2014 when his Granite Bay High team lost to Browning’s Folsom High team 63-0. Browning threw five touchdowns for Folsom, which went 16-0 that season and won the California state title. It’s been over five months since USC’s football season ended. In the time since, some former Trojans have been on what’s felt like a nearly half-year job interview.

For guys like Cameron Smith, it’s been a long series of workouts, combines, meetings with teams and then, most frustratingly, waiting. But now we’ve reached NFL Draft week, with the three-day event beginning with the first round Thursday.

And after the long, arduous process, Smith is wondering how the time went so quickly. “For some reason, life just keeps going by faster and faster,” Smith said. “I’m going to enjoy being with my friends as long as I can and see where it goes from there.”

The first big milestone Smith crossed was his workout at the NFL Combine in late February, where he ran a 4.69-second 40-yard dash and jumped 39 inches in the vertical jump. Like several other prospects, Smith got some unexpected questions, like how he’d rate himself in Madden or what’s something illegal he’s done that he never got caught doing.

In March, he attended USC’s pro day but limited his participation in drills. From there, Smith went into some individual meetings with teams. He worked out with the Titans and Saints, went to a Chargers pro-day camp and had a three-hour sit-down with Panthers linebackers coach Steve Russ.

The Vikings got a steal with Cameron Smith. I am a huge USC fan and watched him a lot. When healthy, he is a dominant football player. Where and how do you think the Vikings will use him? Great edge rusher in my opinion.

The Vikings obviously have two studs at linebacker with Anthony Barr and Erik Kendricks. With the defense in sub packages on more than half of the snaps, there aren’t a lot of game reps to go around for linebackers not named Barr and Kendricks. The team likes Ben Gedeon and there’s quality depth behind the top three with Kentrell Brothers and Eric Wilson. With that being said, Smith did play both inside and outside linebacker at USC, so that only increases his chances of seeing the field on defense. However, it’ll be on special teams where Smith will likely see his first and most significant opportunity to contribute.

Dru Samia Jersey

Dru Samia has been labeled as one of the better value selections in the 2019 NFL Draft when the Minnesota Vikings were able to move up in the fourth round to select another talented offensive lineman that could be a factor as early as this season. CBS Sports’ R.J. White was a fan of the Vikings moving up from the No. 120 overall pick to No. 114 and feels like the team received good value with the selection.

“Everything about this deal was solid for the Vikings,” White said. “They paid just about fair value in the move up, they addressed a position of need with the pick, and they got a guy at good value in Dru Samia. I can see him emerging quickly as a starter for a Vikings team that has to do a better job with protection, and he should have been on the radar for multiple teams between No. 114 and 120.”

Samia being available in the fourth round may be a surprise to some, but teams fall in love with measurables and he does not have the size that is ideal inside. With that being said, it is hard to find technically sound and smart offensive linemen as you move into the third day of the draft and Samia brings that to the table, as well as impressive athleticism in not only pulling situations but also in climbing the ladder and finding someone to block at the next level. He is not a mauler and might need to be schemed up a bit, but with the zone running philosophy coming to Minnesota, he absolutely could be a candidate to play fairly quickly even with Josh Kline already signed and penciled into that right guard spot. Samia has some things that are concerning to work on, but the good news is that most of it seems fixable and coachable.

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The commitment to improving the offense started on the first night of the draft, where the Vikings proved some skeptical fans wrong when they took their biggest need of the draft and addressed it right off the bat with Garrett Bradbury, the draft’s best center prospect (who could also wind up at guard). The offense was again addressed on night two with tight end Irv Smith Jr. coming off the board in the second and running back Alexander Mattison being selected at the end of the third round after several trades back. They would open day three by taking another potential starting offensive lineman in Dru Samia out of Oklahoma. This was the first team in team history they spent the first four picks of their draft strictly on offensive players.

Vikings fans wanted offensive line help in free agency but did not get the big spending like some of them had hoped for. Instead, they settled on Kline, who they brought in as the probable starter at right guard to fill another spot up front in the trenches. They really just need Kline to be serviceable and a calming presence at the right guard spot as opposed to the be all, end all solution. His job feels guaranteed at this point, but he could get pushed by rookie fourth-round pick Dru Samia if should he somehow lose out on that job, it means that Samia was just that much better. Kline feels like an alright starter and a known commodity but has to be more of a Joe Berger presence in his spot as opposed to what Mike Remmers was there last year.

The Vikings moved up in the fourth round to take Dru Samia (suh-MEE-ah), a guard out of Oklahoma, with the 114th pick overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Rick Spielman said he was the highest ranked player on their board at the time, so let’s see why the Vikings made the move to get him.

Dru Samia brings needed levels of athletic ability and strength to play as a starting guard at the NFL level. With that said, he has a handful of technical deficiencies that handcuff his balance and ability to set first contact. Samia’s mobility projects best to a zone heavy rushing offense, where he can continue to use short area mobility to leverage defenders at the point of attack.

Samia will need to focus on eliminating the “clap” with his hands if he’s to reach his ceiling. – Kyle Crabbs, TDNHere are some game films from 2018 featuring the Oklahoma offensive line. Dru Samia is #75 and plays right guard. The toughest opposition was the Alabama defensive front featuring Raekwon Smith (#99) and Quinnen Williams (#92).

Alexander Mattison Jersey

If you’re in a fantasy dynasty league, your rookie draft is likely right around the corner.We didn’t waste our time and already had ours. A player who went in the third round, much like he did in the NFL Draft, is Vikings draftee Alexander Mattison.While Mattison is slotted as the team’s backup running back behind Dalvin Cook, Cook has missed 17 games in his first two seasons, making his backup valuable in the real and fantasy world. There’s a reason why Latavius Murray had more than 1,300 yards to go with 14 touchdowns in his two seasons with the Vikings.

In his junior season at Boise State, Mattison ran for 1,415 yards to go with 17 touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for 173 yards.I don’t think Mattison is going to be the Rookie of the Year, so let’s not get wild. But if you can snag him late in your rookie draft, especially if you can handcuff him with Dalvin Cook, that could pay off for you as the season progresses.The Vikings used their third-round pick to add to their running backs room with Boise State’s Alexander Mattison.

Minnesota initially was slated to make the 81st overall selection but made some trades – four times, to be exact – and ended up grabbing Mattison at the 102nd spot.

Mattison played three seasons for the Broncos and became the first Boise State player to lead the conference in a season by totaling 1,415 rushing yards as a junior in 2018.

“I think my versatility [is a strength],” Mattison told Twin Cities media members via conference calls. “I also think I’m a smart football player, and I make great decisions when I’m on the field and am very instinctive. Along with that, that versatility kind of pays off, and that makes me the back that I am.”

As a first-grader, Mattison joined the Dual Immersion Program at his school. He remained a part of the program through graduation and is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Mattison was faced with a decision of transferring to a high school more heavily recruited by Division I schools or remaining at San Bernardino High School (California). He opted against leaving the school – and Dual Immersion Program – and went on to graduate with a cumulative 4.7 GPA. He was named a 2016-17 Academic All-Mountain West team.
The Vikings capped the second night of the 2019 NFL Draft on Friday by drafting Boise State running back Alexander Mattison with the 102nd overall pick and final selection of the third round.

Mattison, a native of San Bernardino, California, played three seasons for the Broncos.

He garnered selection to the All-Mountain West First Team and became the first Boise State player to lead the conference in a season by totaling 1,415 rushing yards as a junior in 2018.

Mattison ranked eighth in the country in rushing yards, and led the Mountain West and ranked seventh in FBS with 17 rushing touchdowns. He posted six 100-yard rushing games, including games with more than 200 yards on the ground against Utah State and Fresno State.
There was major disappointment in Broncoland over Brett Rypien going undrafted over the weekend, but at the other end of the spectrum was Alexander Mattison. The Boise State running back produced a different kind of surprise when he was taken at the very end of the third round by the Minnesota Vikings.

And in the process, Mattison became the second-highest Bronco back ever to be drafted behind first-round pick Doug Martin in 2012. It sounds like a calculated move by the Vikings, as incumbent Dalvin Cook has missed half of the Vikings’ games the last two seasons due to injury. Minnesota likes Mattison’s combination of short-yardage bulldozer, pass-catcher and third-down pass protector. And the Vikings love his durability—witness the 77 carries he had the last two games of his Bronco career.When the NFL Draft gets into the seventh round, especially with quarterbacks who haven’t been chosen, it’s better to go undrafted at that point so you can choose a path that gives you the best chance.

That’s the situation for Boise State’s Brett Rypien, who’s now a Denver Bronco with the unwelcome UDFA tag—undrafted free agent. Denver liked Rypien all the way along, just not enough to draft him. The Broncos took Missouri’s Drew Lock in the second round, an ideal insurance policy should Joe Flacco not work out after coming over from Baltimore. So Rypien’s assignment will be to compete for the No. 3 job and what could be a practice squad spot. As it stands now, that will be against former Stanford standout Kevin Hogan and one-time Mountain West foe Garrett Grayson, the Colorado State product.

It’ll be several years at least before Boise State will be able to break this quarterback drought in the NFL Draft. There’s never been one chosen in the top seven rounds. Will it be Chase Cord? Hank Bachmeier? Some unknown recruit currently in middle school? Marquee Bronco players (and their fans) have been through this type of draft day disappointment before. Seven years ago the most popular player in program history was on the board all the way through the Mr. Irrelevant pick. Kellen Moore stuck it out for six seasons in the league (and things have worked out for him in another facet of football). And 10 years ago Ian Johnson, who scored the most important two points Boise State has ever known, went undrafted and never played a regular season NFL down. Root for Ryp like you rooted for those guys.

Irv Smith Jersey

“Smith is still green in terms of overall experience, which shows up in run-blocking and route-running, but he has plenty of talent and is likely to get much better in both areas. He has combination tight end talent but really flashes as a move blocker at fullback or wingback spots. His buildup speed sets him apart as a big, field-stretching option and once he gets rolling after the catch. O.J. Howard was bigger, and a better athlete, but like Howard, Smith offers Pro Bowl potential as a well-rounded tight end prospect.” – Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

“Irv Smith projects favorably as a modern day tight end. Smith has consistent flashes in the receiving game and will enter the league with blocking chops as well. There’s not a lot of cons to Smith’s profile, he’s a very well rounded player who should be able to transition quickly to the pros. Smith’s ceiling is as a Pro Bowl caliber Tight End, his well rounded skills will enable him high snap percentages and his versatility as a receiver will allow him to excel in nearly any offense.” – Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network

With tight end Kyle Rudolph entering the final year of his contract, his longterm future remains uncertain.

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With the No. 50 selection in the second round of the NFL draft, Minnesota on Friday night took Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. General manager Rick Spielman said Smith and Rudolph are different sorts of tight ends and could play together but he would not speculate on Rudolph’s future beyond 2019.

Rudolph will make $7.275 million in the final year of his contract. He said last week he would like to sign an extension, but that the Vikings have not offered one.

“You know I never talk business,’’ Spielman said when asked if Rudolph could be given an extension.

The Vikings made four trades in the third round and eventually selected running back Alexander Mattison of Boise State with the No. 102 and final pick in the round. The Vikings now have nine picks in the final four rounds, which will be held Saturday.

Smith caught 44 passes last season for 710 yards. He is the son of former NFL tight end Irv Smith Sr.
After drafting tight end Irv Smith Jr. with their second-round pick in this weekend’s NFL draft, there is no way the Minnesota Vikings are going to pay Kyle Rudolph the $7.63 million he is scheduled to make this season. If the Vikings can’t trade Rudolph — rumors of a deal with New England persist — the cash-strapped Vikings might even..

This might push Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. into the second round, but the team that drafts him will be in for a treat.

Smith played three seasons for the Crimson Tide and attended Brother Martin in New Orleans before college.Nov 4, 2017; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tight end Irv Smith Jr. (82) celebrates his touchdown against the LSU Tigers during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports (Photo: John David Mercer, John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

an 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tight end Irv Smith Jr. (82) celebrates after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 CFP national championship college football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsIf Smith’s name sounds familiar in NFL circles, it’s because it is. He shares his name and NFL talent of his father.

The elder Smith played seven seasons in the NFL and was a first-round draft pick by the New Orleans Saints in 1993.

Garrett Bradbury Jersey

When the final mock drafts rolled in, a handful of analysts projected Minnesota to snag N.C. State center Garrett Bradbury with the 18th overall pick.

And when the 2019 NFL Draft kicked off for real in Nashville last night, the Vikings did just that.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who most recently mocked Bradbury to end up in Purple, reacted to the pick by immediately saying “well done” during the NFL Network broadcast.

“Kirk Cousins, we don’t have video of him, but he’s celebrating along with Garrett Bradbury,” Jeremiah said. “This is the best center in the draft and one of the best to come out in the last handful of years. I call him the ‘Grim Reacher,’ Coach [David Shaw], because I’ve never seen somebody reach more guys in the run game than what Garrett Bradbury does.

“He is outstanding with his quickness,” Jeremiah added. “You think about guys he reminds you of, you go back and look at Jason Kelce and Ryan Kalil, he is that type of center. The quickness is off the charts.”

ESPN’s Todd McShay also predicted the Vikings would use their first-round pick on Bradbury.

On a conference call with media members in March, McShay called the center “clearly the best interior offensive lineman” in this year’s draft class.

“You look at it, and I think if you can get a player of his quality there and know that you have a plug-and-play starter for the next eight, nine, 10 years … you have to feel pretty good about it,” McShay said.

“Bradbury has great agility and is quick off the ball in run blocking,” McShay said.

Months before Bradbury stood on the stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, he was praised by analyst Lance Zierlein in advance of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Zierlein wrote in Bradbury’s NFL.com bio that his “body control, core strength, movement skills and intelligence check very important boxes” for teams looking to bolster the interior of their line.

“His pass-pro tape against Clemson proves he can hold his own against a variety of pass-rush flavors, while his strength and athleticism make him scheme flexible,” Zierlein said. “He is a candidate to become an early and long-time starter in the league.”

“Minnesota’s No. 1 goal this offseason has been to find ways to keep its $84 million quarterback upright. Bradbury is nasty, versatile and tough. He had a great week in Indianapolis at the combine and is projected to be a Day 1 starter in the NFL at one of the three interior OL positions.” – Schrager’s explanation for projecting Bradbury to the Vikings

“Bradbury has outstanding athleticism and mobility for the position with the alert awareness required to lead an offense. He can be knocked off balance at times, but he is quick to recover and understands the biomechanics of the position. Overall, Bradbury will have the occasional trouble vs. power, but he is exceptionally quick, instinctive and tough, ideally suited for a zone-blocking scheme in the NFL where he has Pro Bowl potential.” – Brugler in his 2019 NFL Draft Guide

As much success as N.C. State has had in the NFL draft recently, it hasn’t produced first-round picks in consecutive years since 1979 and ‘80.

And 1980 is the last time a Wolfpack offensive linemen, the great Jim Ritcher, went in the first round.

Charlotte’s Garrett Bradbury figures to knock off both milestones on Thursday night at the NFL draft. The athletic N.C. State center (6-foot-3, 306 pounds) is projected to be a first-round pick and the first center off the board.

With defensive end Bradley Chubb going No. 5 overall last year, that would give N.C. State back-to-back years with first-round picks. That hasn’t happened since running back Ted Brown, the ACC’s all-time leading rusher, went to Minnesota (No. 16 overall) in 1979 and a year later the Buffalo Bills made Ritcher the No. 16 overall pick.