Plea for Jalen Nailor
The 2022 Minnesota Vikings have one of the deepest wide reception halls in the entire NFL. Currently, they have 12 receivers on the roster. These players include:
- Justin Jefferson
- Adam Thielen
- KJ Osborn
- Olabisi Johnson
- Ihmir Smith-Marsette
- Dan Chisena
- Jalen Nailor
- Albert Wilson
- Myron Mitchell
- Thomas Hennigan
- Blake Proehl
- Trishton Jackson
Obviously, the top three players, Jefferson, Thielen and Osborne, are locks to make the roster. Behind them, Smith-Marsette is very likely to get there as well. Behind these four players, there will be a battle for the last place or two between eight players. Here’s why Jalen Nailor should be one of those players in the last 53.
He is fast
I realize there is some contradiction here. How fast can a player be when their 40m sprint is only 4.50m? Even more confusing, how did someone with this average time get the nickname “Speedy”?
My rebuttal to this is that the 40-yard dash doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to wide receiver speed. Take Cooper Kupp, for example. He recorded a 4.62 40-yard dash, one of the slowest in his draft class from the wide receiver position. However, he also recorded a 6.75 3-taper drill, which ranked seventh among wide receivers in this 2017 class. is a skill that has allowed him to open up throughout his NFL career.
Likewise, Nailor’s 40-yard dash doesn’t say it all. First, the 4.50 still puts him in the top 20 at receiver for the 2022 draft class, so it’s by no means a bad time. But it also tested very well in the 3-cone. It’s not as fast as Kupp’s 6.75, but Nailor’s 7.03 still showed he should be able to run routes successfully at the NFL level.
For comparison, KJ Osbron recorded a 4.48 dash from 40 yards and a 7.00 from 3 cones at the 2020 combine. If Nailor can ever come close to recording the numbers Osborn recorded in 2021, that will make him an extremely successful pick in the sixth round.
Superiors love it
When the Minnesota Vikings entered the sixth round, they could have drafted just about anyone at any position they thought would have an advantage for them. However, wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell was apparently “beat the table” for the Vikings to take over Nailor.
With that kind of love from the wide receiver coach, along with the experience as a kick returner and punter, the Vikings should be able to find a role for him on this team. Especially as a punt returner, his elusiveness and explosive speed would make him a formidable candidate.
He is not afraid of the big moments
The ultimate goal Vikings fans have been hoping for is a Super Bowl title, and that’s made those last two sub-0.500 seasons even more frustrating. In order to take that step to be not just a Super Bowl contender, but just a playoff team in general, they need players who aren’t afraid of the big games.
Jalen Nailor is certainly a comfortable guy in these games. In Michigan State’s victory over Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl last season, Nailor caught six passes for 108 yards. It’s even more impressive considering it was his first game in two months after suffering a hand injury in October. Free time clearly didn’t hold him back in the biggest game of the year for the Spartans. It may also be a sign of things to come for the Vikings.