With the No. 1 overall pick in the 1968 NFL Draft, the Vikings were thinking hard about a player from the University of Southern California.
They ended up taking star right tackle Ron Yary. But he wasn’t the initial USC player they were targeting.
Yary played for the Vikings from 1968-81 before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Rams in 1982 and being enshrined in Canton, Ohio, in 2001. He was named All-Pro six times and played in seven Pro Bowls with Minnesota, and remains the Vikings’ only No. 1 overall pick since the first combined NFL-AFL draft in 1967.
The Steelers have had a curious draft history with linebackers, to the beginning of Chuck Noll’s tenure and right through today.
Noll coached 23 seasons, and, in that time, the team drafted two linebackers in the first round. They did not draft a linebacker in the first round in Bill Cowher’s 15 seasons as coach.
A sideline-to-sideline terror. The improvements he made in his game last season — played with a more natural feel for the game and improved instincts — have scouts excited for what’s next. In 2017, Evans totaled 66 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks, one forced fumble and three passes broken up.
Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas: Had a terrific 2017 despite his team having a poor season. Despite facing a lot of double teams, he had 63 tackles with 9.5 for a loss, two sacks, four forced fumbles and four passes batted in 2017.
Jerome Baker, Ohio State: Darron Lee’s replacement did not live up to his preseason hype, finishing with 72 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one forced fumble. Scouts have made note that Baker runs around more blocks than he takes on and has accumulated some of his best numbers against mediocre offensive lines.