This week, I’ll be breaking down the draft prospects that were taken in the sixth and seventh round of the 2016 NFL draft.
By Jordan Wright
If you didn’t catch last week’s article, I broke down the Vikings’ first four picks Laquon Treadwell, Mackenzie Alexander, Willie Beavers and Kentrell Brothers.
With the fifth pick of the sixth round (180th overall), the Minnesota Vikings selected Moritz Boehringer, wide receiver from Germany. Moritz, or Mo as his friends call him, did not play or watch football before the age of 17, which is when he stumbled upon a YouTube highlight of Adrian Peterson. After watching the highlight, Mo decided to look into this strange new sport he had just discovered. When Mo decided he wanted to play football, he went to try out for his local team. Unfortunately for him, there were only seven or eight players who showed up to try out, so the team was dismantled and Mo was forced to find other ways to play the game he had started to love. Ironically enough, it was YouTube that led scouts to discover Mo, who had earned German Football League 2015 Rookie of the Year honors for the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns.
Mo stands 6-foot-4-inches tall, weighs 230 pounds and ran a 4.43 40-yard dash. While he is still very raw in terms of simply understanding all the nuances of the game, Mo is very athletic and is determined to make it in the NFL. It will be interesting to see how well he can do against and NFL caliber defense, because the level of competition he faced in Germany was not even close to what he’ll see as a pro. I would imagine the Vikings will try to get Mo onto the practice squad so he can get acclimated to a new country, new teammates and new level of competition. There is no doubt, however, that Mo has the athletic potential to be a great wide receiver in the NFL.
“A great story becomes a remarkable one as the long-shot draft pick from Germany lands on his favorite team. He’s as raw as it gets, but Norv Turner likes big, fast receivers that can stretch the back end of the defense. That could be Boehringer’s niche once he graduates from special teams.” –Mark Dulgerian, NFL Network
With their second pick in the sixth round (188th overall), the Vikings selected David Morgan, a tight end from the University of Texas-San Antonio. Morgan, who is 6-foot-4 and 262 pounds, is the first player ever drafted from UTSA (which was the 2nd first for the Vikings, as Mo was the first player ever drafted who didn’t attend school in North America).
While not a fast tight end, Morgan is known best for his blocking. A former basketball player, Morgan has the ability to catch the ball and battle for positioning. However, with Rudolph and Pruitt on the roster (two faster, athletic, pass catching tight ends) look for Morgan to be used primarily as an extra blocker, and possibly some full back duties.
“Morgan is a rare inline TE who can block and catch. He was a very productive receiver despite being the focal point for defenses. Minnesota can utilize him in “Heavy” packages and work him into the rotation on pass downs.” –Mark Dulgerian, NFL Network
In the seventh round (227th overall), the Vikings selected Stephen Weatherly, a linebacker from Vanderbilt. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 267 pounds, Weatherly projects as a defensive end for the Vikings. If nothing else, he will be a great teammate to have around for the rookie talent show, since he has the ability to play nine different instruments.
Weatherly has a build similar to that of current Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. Everson was listed as 6-foot-3, 273 pounds at the combine, and ran a 4.66 40-yard dash. While slightly taller and leaner, Weatherly ran his 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds. Weatherly will be another candidate for the practice squad, as he will have a hard time cracking the current rotation of Griffen, Brian Robison and Danielle Hunter. However, with a year or two of tutelage under coach Zimmer, he has the potential to be a great defensive end down the road.
“Weatherly has the size and overall length to intrigue NFL teams as a developmental prospect, but he will need additional work to become a more competitive pass rusher off the edge,” Lance Zierlein, NFL Network
With their final pick of the 2016 NFL draft (244th overall), the Vikings selected Jayron Kearse, safety from Clemson. Kearse, the nephew of former NFL great Jevon Kearse and cousin to NFL cornerback Phillip Buchanon, stands 6-foot-4 (I’m starting to notice a trend here with height!) and weighs 216 pounds. Kearse is the big, tall safety that teams in the NFL covet these days, and I’m sure Mike Zimmer was salivating at the thought of teaming him up with Harrison Smith on the back end.
The biggest knock, and the reason Kearse fell down draft boards, is his consistency. If he can find a way to put his natural attributes to work and to bring the drive and determination that is required to succeed in the NFL, I think he might be a very good player. Luckily, I don’t think Mike Zimmer will have any issues getting 100 percent effort out of Kearse.
“He’s a big guy, but he just doesn’t make many plays. You see him out there just drifting around sometimes and you just wish he had the same attitude and fire that the rest of that defense has because he could be so much better. Do you draft him on traits and hope your coaches reach him?” — NFC southeastern scout to NFL Network