Minnesota Vikings first-round pick Christian Darrisaw has chiseled himself into a masterpiece yet maintains that chip on his shoulder.
A three-star recruit coming out of Riverdale Baptist High School in Maryland, Darrisaw only had one NCAA FBS Division I offer as the 1,848th ranked high school player in the country.
But on Thursday night in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Darrisaw saw paydirt after years of developing into one of the top offensive linemen in college football when the Virginia Tech left tackle was selected No. 23 overall by the Vikings.
“It definitely was surprising, but I knew anything could happen,” Darrisaw said in a press conference moments after he got the call from general manager Rick Spielman. “I’m just happy to be a Viking.”
Darrisaw’s Holds Onto His Being Underrated as Motivation
Darrisaw was at one point the second-highest ranked offensive tackle in this year’s draft class. He also posted the highest Pro Football Focus (PFF) pass-blocking grade (94.5) of any offensive lineman in a Power Five conference in 2020.
Yet, the 21-year-old considers himself far from a finished product.
“I know I’m not the player that I know I can be, and in the future, it’s really gonna be scary,” he said.
Scary is right. Darrisaw has made monster leaps in his college career. After committing to Virginia Tech in 2016, Darrisaw spent a year at Fork Union military prep academy to improve his grades before joining the Hokies in 2018.
He gave up four sacks and produced a mediocre 68.6 overall grade by PFF in his first season at Virginia Tech. Darrisaw improved upon his play the next two seasons, producing an 80.3 overall grade in 2019 and jumping into elite status with a 94.5 overall grade in 2020. He didn’t allow a sack last season against some of the top pass-rushers in the country in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Vikings Earn A+ Grade in 1st-Round
Despite the long strides he made as a Hokie, Darrisaw’s 2020 season was seen as a flash in the pan and not the gradual progression he’s made since high school.
The Vikings managed to trade back nine spots and pick up two third-round picks from the New York Jets while still getting Darrisaw — who was considered the consensus 14th ranked player in the draft by The Athletic’s Arif Hasan.
The Ringer gave Minnesota an A+ grade for the first-round trade down and signing of Darrisaw.
“Minnesota gets incredible value in grabbing Darrisaw here. The Virginia Tech standout fills a big need, bringing pass-protecting chops and the athleticism to block well in the run game,” Danny Kelly wrote.
Darrisaw, who admitted joining an explosive top-10 offense with the likes of Dalvin Cook, Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson is everything he wanted in a potential suitor for his talents.
“Skol Nation, you’re getting a guy whose going to come in Day 1 ready to work who’s going to give his blood, sweat and tears to the organization,” Darrisaw said. “A guy who’s going to work hard and do whatever it takes on and off the field.”