Former Minnesota Golden Gopher Heads to a Vikings Rival

Aug 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Tyler Nubin (27) celebrates a stop against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the fourth quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Minnesota Vikings do not currently own any picks in the second or third round of the NFL Draft.

However, that doesn’t mean there was no news out of the state of Minnesota. Former Minnesota Golden Gopher Tyler Nubin was drafted by the New York Giants with the 47th pick of the draft. Nubin was the first safety to be selected in the draft.

Minnesota Golden Gopher Heads to the Big Apple

Minnesota Golden Gopher
Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Ryan Selig (33) and Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Tyler Nubin (27) celebrate a defensive stop during the NCAA football game against the Purdue Boilermakers, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue Boilermakers won 49-30. Alex Martin/Journal and Courier.

The Giants lost former starting safety Xavier McKinney to the Packers in free agency, so the former Golden Gopher should step into a large role. McKinney was a big loss for the Giants, so the Nubin selection makes sense. In 2023, McKinney racked up 116 tackles, two tackles for loss, and three interceptions. The safety earned a stellar 87.8 PFF grade for his performance, which was the fourth-highest grade among all safeties.

Nubin spent five seasons with the Golden Gophers and tallied 207 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, and 13 interceptions. Nubin owns the Golden Gopher’s record for career interceptions. In 2023, Nubin earned the honors of Second-team Associated Press All-American and First-team All-Big Ten Conference.

Oct 7, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Roman Wilson (1) runs while Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Tyler Nubin (27) defends during the third quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The scouting report on Nubin mentions that the DB has elite ball skills and should be a plus starter in the NFL. Nubin has the size and length of an NFL safety but must work on his pursuit angles and tackling. Nubin disappointed at the combine, finishing with the 24th-ranked Athleticism Score among safeties. However, the production is undeniable and Nubin’s ball-hawking skills clearly intrigued the Giants.

Prior to the draft, many mock drafts had Nubin as the first safety to be selected. Nubin becomes the highest-drafted Golden Gopher since Boye Mafe went 40th overall in 2022. Brevyn Spann-Ford, a tight end, is another Golden Gopher who figures to hear his name called this weekend.

Spann-Ford is a massive tight end, standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing in at 270 pounds. The tight end caught 25 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns. The Minnesota native had issues with drops in college, but NFL teams could be intrigued by his size and blocking. In a tight end class that is not considered deep, Spann-Ford should hear his name called on Saturday.

Minnesota’s Tyler Nubin celebrates after beating Michigan State on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Nick King/Lansing State Journal.

Defensive tackle Kyler Baugh is another Gopher who has an outside shot to be drafted. The lineman collected 41 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks in 2023. If Baugh doesn’t get picked on Saturday, he should be a priority undrafted free agent.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Sports Reference CFB.