Bleacher Report Approves of Two Vikings Late-Round Picks

Image Courtesy of SI.com.

Bleacher Report was not emphatically high on all of the Minnesota Vikings Day 3 draft selections.

In fact, the sports-reporting entity was lukewarm on most of the picks. Kene Nwangwu (RB), Camryn Bynum (CB), Janarius Robinson (EDGE), and Zach Davidson (TE) and received ‘C’ grades in the post-draft analysis. And that’s exactly a ‘C’ for each of the men — not a plus or minus for any.

Those men didn’t really move the needle, instead channeling an “average” assessment from Bleacher Report. It will now be up to those four new Vikings to prove folks wrong. Challenge accepted.

But the synopsis on two picks was somewhat favorable from the 4th Round on down.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette, a wide receiver from the University of Iowa, was the first rookie chosen by the Vikings in later rounds to earn a decent grade. He was a ‘B’ on the A-F scale. Bleacher Report‘s Brent Sobleski had a lot to say about Smith-Marsette:

Strengths: Deep threat, instant home run capabilities whenever he touches the ball, ace returner. Weaknesses: High drop rate, won’t win physical matchups or contested catches, underneath route running needs improvement. Statistically, Iowa’s Ihmir Smith-Marsette won’t wow anybody. He registered only 1,615 receiving yards in four seasons.  Smith-Marsette grew from being the Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year into the Hawkeyes’ No. 1 receiver. Iowa simply doesn’t have a prolific passing attack and suffered from poor quarterback play.  The 21-year-old showed an aptitude for getting open, particularly as a vertical threat, but lacked the proper supporting cast to take full advantage of his capabilities.  The cliche about being a better professional than a collegian exists for a reason. A player’s situation matters. Smith-Marsette can immediately contribute as a returner (28.7 yards per kick return) while potentially thriving in a downfield passing attack. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen form a fantastic receiving duo for the Minnesota Vikings. Yet, neither would be considered a true vertical threat, at least not in the traditional sense. Smith-Marsette gives the offense yet another dimension. Plus, the wide receiver can contribute as a core special teamer.

The Mike Zimmer version of the Vikings never values or emphasizes the WR3 notch on the depth chart with too much urgency. So, Smith-Marsette certainly seems to have the flair for the role, but it remains to be seen if he can nudge Chad Beebe or Olabisi Johnson from their defacto positioning on the roster. Perhaps it will become a Jeffersonian scenario — where the team figures out three weeks into the season, “Hey, this guy is good. Let’s throw him the ball.”

The other player that Sobleski nominates for a ‘B’ grade is defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman from the University of Pittsburgh. Twyman faces an uphill battle if 2021 playing time is his goal because the Vikings have gobs of human bodies slated to fight for DT2 and DT3 snaps.

Yet, Twyman slid in the draft and is theorized by many to be a better football player than a 6th-Round talent, which is where the Vikings scooped him.

Sobleski opined on Twyman to Minnesota:

Does a change-of-pace defensive lineman actually exist? If one does, Jaylen Twyman fits the bill now that he’s part of the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive front. Dalvin Tomlinson and Brandon Pierce are massive defensive tackles and bullies in the middle of the Vikings defense. The 6’2″, 301-pound Twyman is a one-gap penetrator. His draft stock took a hit when he opted out of the 2020 campaign, and he wasn’t a fit for every team. With the Vikings, he fits as the perfect changeup to those who already man the middle.

Much like a man or woman on the dating scene, Zimmer has a “type” for the ilk of defensive player he covets. Twyman’s resume fits the Zimmer job description.

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