Vikings Add CB Mekhi Blackmon with the 102nd Overall Pick
The Minnesota Vikings began the second day of the 2023 NFL Draft by trading down from the 87th overall pick with the San Francisco 49ers. In exchange for that selection, they received Nos. 102, 164, and 222. With that 102nd overall pick, the Vikings have added USC CB Mekhi Blackmon.
This is now two USC Trojans in two picks for the Vikings during this draft, seeing as they also added WR Jordan Addison in the first round. Blackmon, a five-year player who was at Colorado before joining the Trojans, has been known for some incredible ball skills in the secondary throughout his collegiate career.
Over his five years in college, the cornerback recorded 142 tackles, 4 TFLs, a sack, 24 pass defenses, and 5 interceptions. 12 of those pass defenses and 3 of the interceptions came during the 2022 season.
One of the main knocks on Blackmon coming into this draft is his size, standing at 5’11 and 178 pounds, but it seems that the Vikings aren’t too concerned with the numbers that appear on the scale considering Addison also weighed in at a very slight 173 pounds during the NFL scouting combine.
However, with other CBs on the board such as a Kelee Ringo or Cory Trice, both of which possess prototypical NFL size, it’s very interesting to see Minnesota opt for a prospect like Blackmon in this situation. For some more analysis on Blackmon, here is what NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein said of the CB ahead of the draft:
Aggressive man-cover cornerback whose physical play brings both passes defensed and penalties. Blackmon gives receivers a rough ride over the first five yards, but his extended grabbing will be less tolerated by NFL officials. He’s capable of phasing routes when matching from press, but he doesn’t have the hips to transition smoothly when playing off-man coverage. He’s talented at squeezing the catch space and timing his challenges, but Blackmon’s lack of size and fluidity could limit his pro chances.
As Zierlein suggests, grabbing could lead to some extra trouble at the NFL level. If he cannot play coverage without being flagged it could lead to some long afternoons for the cornerback. However, an aggressive CB in man coverage is exactly what the Vikings need in a Brian Flores defense, so if he can learn to be a bit less grabby, this pick could turn out to be a success for Minnesota.
Prior to this draft process, Blackmon was one of the prospects selected by the Vikings for a top-30 visit, so it was clear coming in that they respected his game, and with Minnesota’s need in the secondary, he now becomes a candidate to compete for a role at CB alongside Kalon Barnes, Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, Tay Gowan, and Joejuan Williams.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.