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2020 NFL mock draft: Jeff Gladney fits the Vikings’ major cornerback need

The Vikings have two first-round picks and can fix their roster in a hurry.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 26 Cheez-It Bowl - Cal v TCU Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings are one of five teams with multiple first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Vikings pick at 22 and 25, the former pick coming following the trade of wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills.

If the Vikings really wanted, they could package those picks in a trade up. They might even be able to get high enough to take Florida cornerback CJ Henderson.

Cornerback is the biggest position of need for the Vikings this offseason. Unfortunately in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, we do not allow trades. That leaves Christopher Gates and the team from Daily Norseman to go with a player who happens to be there.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

Gates: After seeing their top three players from last year’s cornerback depth chart depart this offseason, there’s little question that this is the biggest need for the Vikings. There are a lot of solid corners that the Vikings could take at this spot, but we feel that Jeff Gladney is the one who best fits the Mike Zimmer style of defense. Also, his last name isn’t Diggs, which given the events of this offseason, the Vikings might consider to be a plus.

Though Gladney possesses the athleticism to play in any type of defensive scheme, Zimmer would particularly like his ability in man coverage, which is the Vikings’ preference. His outstanding footwork and quickness will allow him to keep up with receivers at the NFL level. He has experience playing both on the outside and in the slot at TCU as well, and that sort of versatility would be attractive. He would have plenty of opportunities to contribute early to the Vikings’ secondary, and even though he isn’t the biggest corner out there, he has all of the skills to be a good NFL corner very early in his career.

Analysis: Cornerback shouldn’t be a problem for the Vikings, but it is. The team took Mike Hughes in the first round in 2018, Mackensie Alexander in the second in 2016, and Trae Waynes in the first in 2015. Alexander and Waynes are now both gone to Cincinnati, and Hughes’ play has been uneven.

The description of Gladney above is appropriate. The only thing it doesn’t highlight is his aggressiveness. Gladney might not be the biggest cornerback prospect, but he will get physical at the line of scrimmage. So much so, he actually got into a fistfight with an Iowa State player last season. Sure, that’s not smart. But it goes to show he’s a cornerback who won’t back down.

Top five remaining players:

  • 15. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
  • 18. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
  • 19. Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
  • 20. Josh Jones, OT, Houston
  • 22. Grant Delpit, S, LSU

The second pick of the day in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, Bernd Buchmasser of Pats Pulpit will be here to make the pick for New England. Could we finally see Herbert get selected?


What grade do you give the pick of Gladney by the Vikings?

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