The Vikings are set to make their second pick of the 2016 NFL draft tonight at No. 54 overall, a draft slot that has produced a few productive players over the past decade, including the team’s longtime starting right tackle.
The past 10 picks at that draft slot make up an interesting bunch, none more so than safety Bernard Pollard, the motor-mouthed former Chiefs draft pick who will forever be a footnote in football history. He was the guy who took out Tom Brady’s left knee in Week 1 of the 2008 season.
More recent 54th picks have not produced significant returns, but the Vikings are hoping they can find another solid starter like they did in 2009.
Here is the list of the last 10 players to be selected 54th overall:
- 2015: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions
- 2014: Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans
- 2013: Jamar Taylor, CB, Dolphins
- 2012: Ryan Broyles, WR, Lions
- 2011: Jaiquawn Jarrett, S, Eagles
- 2010: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Bengals
- 2009: Phil Loadholt, OT, Vikings
- 2008: Jason Jones, DE, Titans
- 2007: Turk McBride, DT, Chiefs
- 2006: Bernard Pollard, S, Chiefs
The good: Dunlap, whose first defensive coordinator in the NFL was Mike Zimmer, was a part-time player in his first three seasons. But he has an impressive 49 sacks in six seasons, including a career-high 13.5 in 2015.
The bad: Despite pre-existing injury concerns, the Lions drafted Broyles in the second round. He lasted just three seasons, catching 32 passes.
The ugly: Bishop was the first running back selected in 2014, ahead of Jeremy Hill, Carlos Hyde, Devonta Freeman and Jerick McKinnon. But he has averaged just 3.8 yards per carry in the NFL and his roster spot could be in jeopardy after the Titans traded for DeMarco Murray this offseason.
Having the Vikings ever picked 54th? Yes, four times. Loadholt, who is still on the roster, was a pretty good right tackle for the Vikings before injuries set in the past couple of years. Mike Jones, a tight end picked in 1990, did not pan out. Brad Edwards, selected in 1988, lasted just two seasons with the Vikings but became a starting safety for the Redskins. Wide receiver Sammy White, a first-round pick in 1976, caught 393 passes for 6,400 yards and 50 touchdowns in 10 seasons with the Vikings.
Best 54th pick in NFL history? Former Bears guard Stan Jones, drafted 54th overall in what was the fifth round in 1953, is the only Hall-of-Famer to come from this draft slot. But we’ll give the nod to wide receiver Anquan Boldin, a Cardinals draft pick in 2003. With 13,195 receiving yards in 13 seasons, he can climb into the top 10 all-time if he plays in 2016.
Big thanks to Pro Football Reference for their invaluable Draft Finder tool.