The Vikings selected offensive players with their first 2 picks of this year’s draft, so you can bet the defensive coaching staff was pleased to add a player like DL Christian Ballard with the team’s first pick on Saturday.
“He’s a total player,” Vikings defensive coordinator Fred Pagac said when I asked what he liked about Ballard in evaluating the University of Iowa product. “He comes from a program that plays good defense and produces a lot of NFL players and we’re excited about getting him.”
At 6-4, 283 pounds, Ballard has the size to battle offensive linemen in the trenches but he also possesses the quickness to get past them and be a disruptive force in the offensive backfield. Ballard spent the first 2 years of his career at left DE before moving inside and starting all 13 games of his junior season at DT. In his final season, Ballard rotated often at both spots, starting 8 contests on the outside and 5 more inside.
I have a feeling he’ll be more of an interior lineman with the Vikings, but it’s a luxury to have a guy who can slide to the outside should a need arise there. I’d also expect Ballard to be a core contributor on special teams as a rookie in 2011.
Here are a few stats from Ballard’s official bio: Ballard started 39 of 49 games for Iowa (21 at left defensive end, 18 at defensive tackle)…Recorded 153 tackles (60 solos) with 12.0 sacks for minus 78 yards and 21.5 stops for losses totaling 99 yards…Forced 2 fumbles and blocked 1 field goal attempt…Deflected 3 passes and tallied 10 QB pressures.
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft, Chrsitian Ballard, Fred Pagac
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