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Thread: NFL draft: Vikings take OL Willie Beavers, will move T.J. Clemmings to LT

  1. #1
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    NFL draft: Vikings take OL Willie Beavers, will move T.J. Clemmings to LT

    By CHRIS TOMASSON | ctomasson@pioneerpress.com
    April 30, 2016 | UPDATED: 1 day ago

    Willie Beavers played guard for the first time last January at the Senior Bowl. He might stay there awhile.

    The Vikings on Saturday selected the 6-foot-5, 321-pound Beavers, a starter at left tackle for Western Michigan, in the fourth round with the No. 121 overall pick on the final day of the NFL draft. General manager Rick Spielman said he first would be tried as a guard.

    “I know (offensive line coach) Tony Sparano gave us some specifics that we need to look for at that position, and it’s size, it’s strength, and what he calls the ability to dent people when you hit them,’’ Spielman said. “Technically, he’s not all there yet, but it is those type of guys that have his traits that are the guys that our coaches really want to work with.’’

    The Vikings entered the draft wanting to select at least one offensive lineman after taking three last year. There was news

    Saturday on one of those three.

    Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that T.J. Clemmings, who started all 16 games at right tackle as a rookie, will move to left tackle. The Vikings are overloaded at right tackle, also having free-agent signee Andre Smith and Phil Loadholt, the previous starter who was replaced by Clemmings after he missed all of last season with a torn Achilles’ tendon.

    The move likely means Clemmings won’t start next season. However, he could be groomed to be the eventual starter at left tackle if Matt Kalil, entering the final year of his contract, doesn’t return in 2017.

    With the selection of Beavers, the Vikings are thinking well down the road. Although he is highly aggressive and has a powerful base, he is a project.

    “I just want to thank the Vikings for believing in me,” Beavers said. “I’m just so happy. It’s a surreal feeling (being drafted).”
    Beavers said his only contact with Minnesota before the draft was an interview at the NFL scouting combine in February. He said he’s open to moving to guard.

    “Wherever they put me on the offensive line, I will be good,” he said. “I just showed my versatility (at Senior Bowl practices). It wasn’t to boost my draft stock, it was just me doing that because that’s what a lot of teams wanted to see.”

    Beavers originally signed with Illinois to play on the defensive line, but he was dropped after the Illini had signed too many players. However, he figures it eventually all worked out.

    “It was hurtful,” Beavers said. “Growing up, I was a huge Big Ten fan. That was a dream of mine to play in the Big Ten. But I’m a big faith guy, and I just prayed on it and God got me through it.”

  2. #2
    I hope left tackle works for Clemmings but I have my doubts. He's got a lot to learn, having only played tackle for what, three years including college? Couldn't be worse than Kalil could he?

    I think we should at least inquire about trading for one of the OTs on teams that just drafted another young OT. Eric Fisher (KC), Luke Joeckel (Jax), Eugene Monroe (Bal) might be worth checking into.

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