Vikings

Andrew Booth Jr. Is the Steal Of the Draft

Photo credit: Ken Ruinard-The Anderson Independent Mail via USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings drafted two first-round-quality defensive backs this year: Lewis Cine, who was literally a first-rounder, and Andrew Booth Jr. I’ve been preaching that the new front office embodies value over anything else. Booth is Exhibit A. He’s the steal of the draft.

There are reasons Booth didn’t end up being a first-round pick. He was the seventh cornerback taken (42nd overall), but experts consistently ranked him as a top-three to -four CB, pre-draft. So how did the Vikings get him in the second round? He had some red flags.

Booth did not participate in the NFL combine due to injury. He suffered a torn quadricep while training for the 40, so there was some uncertainty about his straight-line speed since there were numbers on him.

Some past injuries may have hampered his draft stock as well. Most notably, Booth’s core surgery in March. But that didn’t stop the Vikings from trading up for a first-round talent.

“He was too good of a possibility to pass up,” Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said. “We talked to the surgeon, all the people who were in his surgery and his rehab. We feel good about the situation.”

Like many of their other picks in this draft, the Vikings capitalized on his stock falling. Adofo-Mensah appreciates value above all else, and Booth was the best example of this.

In the video documenting the draft the Vikings just released, Adofo-Mensah said Booth was by far the best guy on their board after they took Cine. I highly recommend watching that video if you have any doubts about the front office’s moves in the draft or if you just want to see the new draft process from the inside. They had a plan to get Cine, Booth, and the other standout picks. They discussed it in the draft room and acted on it with the trade-up.

It took two trades to end up at 42, where they took Booth, a trade down with the Green Bay Packers, then a trade up with the Indianapolis Colts. The Vikings were committed to Booth because they gave up three picks to move to 42.

Here’s a flowchart that breaks down getting the Booth pick:

The two trades that resulted in Andrew Booth Jr.

They gathered those picks to move up into the sweet spot in the draft. Kevin O’Connell illustrates that in the draft room video from the Vikings. “Now we also have where we think the most value in the draft is, is that 34 to 77,” O’Connell said. “And now we have four picks in that range.”

So what does Booth add to the Vikings’ CB room? Well, new ESPN analyst Luke Keuckly thinks Booth and Cine will make an immediate impact because Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith will mentor them.

Some fans won’t buy it, considering how weak the Vikings’ secondary was last year, but there’s a chance Booth becomes a starter by the end of the year. He might be the second-most talented cornerback on the roster already.

He’s already listed as Dantzler’s backup on the depth chart, ahead of Kris Boyd. He could surpass Dantzler unless Dantzler proves he can continue to start in the NFL. It’s a good spot for the Vikings to be in because both are good situations to be in.

Booth has first-round talent, but he will have to overcome some injuries. However, he can develop into a reliable starter thanks to his length and athleticism if he does. NFL.com compared him to Jackrabbit Jenkins on their pre-draft profile. If so, he was well worth a trade-up and could end up being the starting CB on the Vikings as soon as the second half of this year. The Vikings got a steal with this one.

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Photo credit: Ken Ruinard-The Anderson Independent Mail via USA TODAY Sports

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