After spending their first two picks on the offensive side, the Vikings went defense at #109.

The pick was Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson.

“I’m excited, my family is excited,” Johnson said. “This is definitely a dream come true. This is something I’ve waited for my entire life, to get a chance to play in the National Football League. … I’m ready to get to work.” (twincities.com)

Johnson led the Hawkeyes last season with 10 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. He was named first-team all-conference.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS

Has good foot quickness and a plus motor. Early bird into the neutral zone off the snap. Accelerates into blockers with forceful punch at point of attack. Maximizes his length. Uses one-arm jab and long-arm push to disengage from blockers and generate a bull rush. Loose hips and flexible upper body are play-making tools. Plays with good energy and gives you what he’s got. Won’t catch him leaning on blocks for a rest. Hands and feet are in constant concert to improve positioning and defeat run or pass blocks. Rushes with both effort and skill. Always working to the edge of a blocker with quick feet and violent hands. Change-of-direction talent creates difficulties for plodding guards. Had one of his finest games in upset over third-ranked Michigan.

WEAKNESSES

Too upright at point of attack. Narrow base and elevated pad level create issues for him against double teams. Might not have the anchor necessary to operate inside a two-gap scheme. Contact balance is below average. Unable to consistently fight back against a quality down block. Is a little soft around the middle and lacking thickness through arms. Limited number of tackles for loss. Can be a little slow to recognize screen passes. (NFL.com)

Linval Joseph is one of the best defensive tackles in the league, but considering that Sharrif Floyd’s career may perhaps be over, he could use a good tackle next to him. Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen are very good backups, but not starter material. 
The Vikings defense should once again be among the best in the league, but if they could get some production from J.Johnson, it will help the unit tremendously. They especially could use help defending the run. They were 20th in the league with 106.9 yards allowed per game. The defense as a whole was ranked third overall and sixth with 19.2 points allowed per game.
Asking a rookie, especially a fourth rounder though to contribute right away is a lot to ask for, but you never know. Stefon Diggs was a fifth round pick two years ago and contributed as soon as he saw the field. A couple things Johnson has going for him is that he will have a defensive guru as his head coach and will have plenty of good defensive players around him to open things up on the field.
Another good pick by general manager Rick Spielman and his staff.

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