Trae Waynes is slated to hit free agency following next season, meaning that Minnesota will be in the market for a nickel cornerback come draft day. In the second round, one player to keep an eye on is Alabama’s Anthony Averett.
It’s hard to believe that a player on the Alabama defense with a second-round grade could get lost in the shuffle, but that’s exactly the case with Averett. With most of the focus on a bevy of defensive linemen and Minkah Fitzpatrick in the secondary, it’s easy to overlook the potential of a player like Averett.
Averett’s speed is his biggest calling card, as he posted a 4.36 40-yard dash time at the Combine in February. He also has a background in track and field as a sprinter, and that speed and quick-twitch athletic ability are evident when you watch his tape.
The biggest concern for Averett is his size. At 5-foot-11 and 183 pounds, Averett will struggle to lock down receivers who are able to body him up and play with physicality. His short arms (just 30 and 1/4-inch) also put him at a distinct disadvantage when trying to jam at the line of scrimmage. Additionally, Averett collected just one interception during his collegiate career, so whatever team ends up drafting will need to be bullish on his potential for more turnovers at the next level.
With the stockpile of defensive back talent that Alabama has hoarded in recent years, it’s a possibility that a player like Averett can thrive with more consistent reps and playing experience. His speed is sure to draw teams in and the Vikings could be the team that pounces at the end of the second round.
One fun fact? Averett just so happens to be the nephew of former Vikings great Bryant McKinnie.