Monday, April 30, 2012

Fifth-Round: Vikings select Notre Dame cornerback Robert Blanton

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Notre Dame cornerback Robert Blanton with the 139th overall selection in the fifth round.

The Vikings traded their other fifth round selection to Detroit for a fourth-round pick next year, then grabbed the Fighting Irish cornerback who is projected to play safety in the NFL. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 208 pounds, Blanton has good size for the position and played in the same secondary as Vikings first-round pick Harrison Smith. Blanton made 70 tackles, intercepted two passes to go along with six pass-breakups last season for the Irish.

Blanton was a Rivals four-star high school prospect, having received offers from Michigan, Virginia Tech, Georgia, South Carolina, among others. He was in and out of the starting line-up while at Notre Dame, but started his entire senior season.

"A strong, aggressive tackler and doesn't back down against the run. Physical downfield and matches up well with bigger receivers. Tough and fiery with very good competitiveness ... high effort player... Too hands-on downfield and is an easy target for defensive holding and pass interference penalties." 

"It was initially unknown whether Blanton would be used as a safety or corner. At 6'1/208, the Notre Dame product is a physical defensive back who struggles with hip fluidity and off coverage."

"Blanton has sound zone-awareness, he's tough, durable, supports the run, is a sound tackler and has good balance... Blanton is not an explosive athlete, he has man coverage limitations, his closing burst is only average, he peddles upright and wasn't a full-time starter until his senior year." 

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