- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota kicked off Saturday with an intriguing value pick at the top of the fourth round. USC defensive end Everson Griffen had been projected as a first-round talent by some media analysts, but concerns about his inconsistent play dropped him to the No. 100 overall pick.
The Vikings don't have much of a need at defensive end, but Griffen was "too hard to pass up," said director of college scouting Scott Studwell.
"He has all the athletic traits that we're looking for in a defensive lineman," Studwell said. "The consistency level has to improve. There were games when he was a first-round pick, and there where games where he disappeared. But he has good value where we took him. I think he'll blossom as a pro. ... He's a college student that enjoyed the college life a little bit. We're not going to kill him for that."
At his best, Griffen was one of the most dangerous pass-rushers in college last season and finished with eight sacks. But Scouts Inc.'s report on him includes this passage:
Motor runs hot and cold. Will take plays off on occasion especially when play is away. Needs to show more consistent in pursuit from the backside.
Studwell suggested that respected defensive line coach Karl Dunbar -- along with Pro Bowl teammates Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams -- would create the "peer pressure" necessary to level out Griffen's effort and production. They successfully performed the same task with current starter Ray Edwards, a fourth-round pick in 2006 who arrived with similar attributes and concerns.
"We're not worried about it," Studwell said. "Guys change a little bit, and he'll see the sense of urgency. ... He's got everything you would look for as an athlete. It's up to us to get it out of him, and we will."