The Vikings bolster their depth along the defensive line with the selection of Ballard. He gives them a rugged interior defender with the size and strength to be effective at the point of attack. He is a tremendous value pick for the Vikings at this point.
Ballard's draft stock could depend upon whether teams see him as versatile defensive lineman who could be a strong side end or move inside in a Tampa 2-type, penetrating scheme, or if he's viewed as a raw "tweener" who lacks speed to play end and the strength needed inside. Either way, he possesses a great frame coupled with quickness and agility. Can penetrate with his explosive get-off but doesn't have the pass-rushing arsenal or closing speed to consistently arrive at the quarterback. Displays good range against the run but doesn't shed quick enough. Ballard looks to be a Day 2 prospect.
Ballard has a very nice combination of size and mobility. Has great get off and establishes initial position. Makes plays in pursuit when he gets off blocks. Can penetrate as a pass rusher with his outstanding quickness. Moves extremely well laterally. Has quick hands. Experienced. Versatile. Solid character.
Needs to do a better job getting off blockers. May struggle to set the edge at the next level. Does not effectively counter as a pass rusher or have great closing speed and burst. Needs to develop his pass rushing moves. Effort is inconsistent. Could be a 'tweener from a physical size/speed standpoint.
Analysis from NFL.com.