New Vikings draft pick Kenny Willekes enjoyed a productive career at Michigan State. The defensive end led the Spartans in tackles for loss (47.5) and sacks (22) from 2017-19 but still had to endure a long wait before the Vikings selected him in the seventh round of the NFL Draft.
For a player that was so productive in college, it's sometimes baffling how they can slip in the draft. However, the answer may lie in Willekes' scouting reports, which labeled him with below-average athleticism.
The process leading up to the NFL Draft clearly irked Willekes and back in March, he posted a video just exactly how athletic he actually is.
At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, Willekes pulled off several feats of strength, flexibility and even some gymnastic abilities in the video. Such a display could question what NFL.com's Lance Zierlein was watching when noting that Willekes is a "below-average athlete with plodding foot quickness" and "his movements are slow-twitch and lack suddenness."
Pro Football Focus also questioned Willekes' athleticism in their draft guide saying he is "not an elite athlete" and "lacks high-end burst and explosiveness at the snap."
For what it's worth, Willekes ranked in the 51st percentile among this year's edge rusher class with a 4.87 second time in the 40-yard dash and in the 56th percentile in his 10-yard split. But his 119-inch broad jump shows that he has explosiveness, which has helped his ability to stop the run.
Of course, combine workouts should be taken with a grain of salt as Dalvin Cook was graded as a ninth-percentile SPARQ athlete during his pre-draft process in 2017. If Willekes' can buck his limitations in the same fashion, he might be able to bring "bully ball" to the Vikings' defense.