MINNEAPOLIS — It was an interesting draft for the Minnesota Vikings, one that's been given a mixed bag of reviews after they made two trades with division rivals in order to acquire more draft picks.
In the end, it was 10 players Minnesota came out of the 2022 NFL Draft with, including Georgia safety Lewis Cine and Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. as their first two selections in the draft at pick No. 32 and 42, respectively.
The most "questionable" move from the Vikings' draft was trading down with the Detroit Lions, as Detroit moved up to get lethal catch and run receiver Jameson Williams, while arguably the draft's top safety, Kyle Hamilton was available. The Vikings then used Detroit's 32nd pick on safety Lewis Cine out of Georgia.
On Monday's "The Ron Johnson Show" part of Locked On Sports Minnesota, a new podcast feed from Locked On dedicated to all of Minnesota's sports teams, former NFL safety and former ESPN analyst Ryan Clark joined the show to talk about what he actually really liked about the Vikings' draft.
When you look at Kyle Hamilton vs. Lewis Cine, what are the Vikings getting in Lewis Cine?
“I think the Vikings get a player that, from a run and hit standpoint, is the best safety in this draft," Clark said on The Ron Johnson Show. "I do believe Hamilton had more ball disruptions. I still believe Cine has more range. He’s a faster, more explosive player than Kyle Hamilton.”
Clark said being on Georgia’s defensive unit in 2021, which saw eight defensive players drafted including four first round defensive players drafted, it’s easy to get overshadowed as a top talent. Clark said he thinks we’ll see a lot of people who didn’t know much about Cine at Georgia find out that he’s a top talent.
“I think Lewis Cine is going to be one of those players that actually has more production in the NFL than he did in college," Clark said on The Ron Johnson Show. "If you watch him, he’s a real life killer. In a day and age where targeting is huge, this is a dude that seeks and destroys and I think that’s still of high value in football and the NFL. Obviously you have to do that within the rules, but I think he can do that. He’s an extremely confident player. Huge recruit. Played from the time he stepped foot on Georgia. You’ve got a true first round safety, plug and play guy.”
As some have questioned new Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah's decisions to make multiple in-division trades during the draft, Clark said
“I think it’s a learning experience for GM, but even if he does have the last say in the room, those rooms are about conversations," Clark said. "When you hire people who are experienced and have gone through drafts before, they’re in those conversations. Those conversations are less about who you’re helping and how you’re helping your team…After having those conversations they felt those trades helped them more in the future than the player the Green Bay Packers or Lions would pick.”
Clark said the criticism around the trades is all about subjectivity.
“These are certain things you do if it can help your draft, if it can help your team…When you get a guy like Andrew Booth who I thought was a first round talent, that kind of equals out to me," Clark said.
Catch more of the Ryan Clark interview on The Ron Johnson Show, part of Locked On Sports Minnesota, wherever you get your podcasts.