With the No. 23 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw.
Give credit to Virginia Tech, who saw something in Darrisaw that no other FBS school did.
Darrisaw was a relatively unheralded high school recruit when the Hokies made him his sole scholarship offer in Division I football, according to reports. Three years later, it's clear their foresight and patience paid off.
The 21-year-old left tackle fashioned a fine career as a three-year starter in Blacksburg, culminating with a dominant junior season in 2020 that propelled him up mock draft boards.
Here's all you need to know about the Maryland native:
School: Virgina Tech
Accolades: 2020 First-Team All-ACC
- Three years' experience as a starter
- Prototypical size combined with refined technique
- Athletic and flexible
- Exceptional body control for a man his size
- Relatively durable: played in 35 of 37 possible career games
- Performed well against NFL-caliber pass rushers in the ACC
- Questionable pedigree
- Dominant 2020 season was somewhat unexpected
- Style is too finesse for some evaluators who prefer linemen with a "mean streak"
Expert scout analysis:
- "A higher-ceiling, lower-floor prospect." -- Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
- "Any NFL line coach would take unspectacular consistency over amazing variance, and that’s what Darrisaw is primed to provide." -- Doug Farrar, USA Today Sports
- "Smooth-moving, experienced left tackle with mass and light feet who could stand to finish better" -- Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports
Player comparison: Bryan Bulaga, per Edholm
Bulaga, a well-rounded veteran tackle, earned his living protecting Aaron Rodgers' blindside for the better part of a decade. Last season was his first with the Chargers.