Vikings draft profile: Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos
If the cap-strapped Minnesota Vikings are going to contend for an NFC North division title and make a deep playoff run in 2020, they’ll need to draft very, very well.
The good news is general manager Rick Spielman has 12 draft picks to work with and two in the first round alone — Nos. 22 and 25.
In this “Vikings draft profile” series, we’ll look at several options for Minnesota in the first round and analyze their collegiate careers, highlight tape and how they’d fit with the organization.
In this edition we look at Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos.
Gross-Matos grew up in Spotsylvania, Va., and was a four-time letterman at Chancellor High School, where he was a four-star recruit and ranked the fifth-best strong-side defensive end of the 2017 class by 247 Sports. He stayed relatively close to home by playing college football at Penn State.
Gross-Matos saw limited playing time his freshman year, but still managed 17 tackles (two for loss) and 1.5 sacks, good enough to be named honorable mention on the all-freshman team by BTN.com. Gross-Matos exploded his sophomore season with 20 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles. He had 14.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks his junior season in 2019. He recorded one sack in Penn State’s 53-39 victory over Memphis in the Cotton Bowl.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“Ascending 4-3 defensive end who should go from good size to imposing frame as he fills out his power-forward body type. He isn’t overly twitchy but impressive length, fluidity and short-area athleticism allow him consistent work-arounds against opposing blockers. He’s average at the point of attack by NFL standards, but that should change with additional strength work and more efficient hand usage. The rush toolbox is only halfway full, but it’s just a matter of time before his spin move and a speed-to-power charge become part of a diversified attack. Gross-Matos should be an early starter, but when the power and skill catch up with the athleticism, look for him to become one of the more productive defenders in the league.” – NFL.com
“Gross-Matos is dangerous pass-rusher. He has nice club move, using his strength to knock tackles off balance. Once he has them on their heels, he uses a burst to fire by blockers and shows real quickness to close on the quarterback. With his active hands and quality technique, Gross-Matos shows a nice ability to use his hands and feet at the same time. While Gross-Matos is not blindingly fast off the edge, he has enough quickness to give tackles problems with speed.” – WalterFootball.com
“A lengthy edge defender with plus athleticism and plenty of physical tools, Gross-Matos is a low-floor, high-ceiling prospect who’s a major work in progress but has the potential to be a talented pass-rusher at the next level. His upside should be enough to get him selected somewhere in the first round.” – Draft Wire (USA Today)
HOW HE FITS
It is no secret that a strong defensive line is necessary for a good NFL defense and with the departure of Everson Griffen, the Vikings will need to find a replacement to pair alongside Danielle Hunter. And we all know how head coach Mike Zimmer feels about players with loads of physical talent but limited technique. Zimmer needs a new project. A player of Gross-Matos’ talent could fit in well on the Vikings’ defensive line and hit the ground running in 2020.