Vikings No. 8 pick: LB Ross Homan, Ohio State

Posted April 30, 2011 @ 7:35 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

The Vikings appeared to get very good value in Round Six in Ross Homan, who is a smart, productive, experienced prospect from a big school, not unlike Vikings starters Chad Greenway and E.J. Henderson. Although Homan is undersized and concerns about his durability and lack of elite speed likely caused him to slip further than his tape suggests he should, he will have a chance to make the 53-man roster.

Here's what PFW draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki wrote about Homan in PFW's 2011 Draft Preview book:

Notes: Brother, Adam, is a fullback for the Buckeyes, and cousin, Bobby Hoying, quarterbacked OSU before spending five years with the Eagles and Raiders (1996-2000). As a prep, Ross played running back and linebacker on an Ohio state championship team. As a reserve weak-side linebacker in 2006, saw action in all 13 games and recorded 28 tackles, two for loss and one sack with one interception. Managed 12-2-0 with one pass breakup in four games in '07 before a turf toe injury forced him to take a medical hardship. Started 6-of-13 games on the weak side in '08 (gave way to nickel packages in non-starts) and posted 67-6-1 with a pass breakup. In '09, led the team in tackles by registering 108-5-2 with five pass breakups, five interceptions and a forced fumble (recovered two more) in 13 starts. Sustained a concussion against Illinois. Started all 11 games in which he played in '10, recording 72-2-1 with four pass breakups, one interception and two forced fumbles. Missed the Purdue and Minnesota games with a sprained foot. Team captain. Graduated.

Positives: Athletic, quick-footed and active. Plays with his eyes and diagnoses quickly. Smart and instinctive — has a sense for the game. Is assignment-sound and puts himself in position to make plays. Good hand use to play over the top of blocks. Strong underneath defender — aware in zone to reroute, read the quarterback and react to throws. Secure tackler who shows surprising pop. Good hands to intercept. Has special-teams experience.

Negatives: Lacks ideal height and has short arms. Has limited take-on strength, is not stout at the point and can be engulfed by larger blockers. Average timed speed. Not a sudden, quick-twitch mover. Shows some tightness in his hips — is a bit straight-linish and does not redirect smoothly. Is not big-framed and long-term durability could be an issue — was dinged up during his career. Bulked up after the season and labored through drills at the Combine.

Summary: Undersized, active, instinctive, field-fast linebacker best-suited for a one-gapping, Tampa-2 system. Has the range and tackling ability to play on the weak side or in the middle and has a higher ceiling than Colts '10 second-rounder Pat Angerer.

NFL projection: Third- to fourth-round pick.