EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings on Friday selected cornerback Cameron Dantzler with the 89th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Dantzler became the second cornerback drafted in as many days by the Vikings, who also tabbed Jeff Gladney out of TCU with the 31st overall pick. He also is the second native of Louisiana drafted by Minnesota, joining receiver Justin Jefferson.
Dantzler, a redshirt junior out of Mississippi State, measured 6-foot-2 and 188 pounds.
Here are five things to know about Minnesota's newest corner:
1. Let's start with the nickname
One might notice Dantzler's height is toward the top end of the spectrum for cornerbacks but his weight is under other defensive backs of his length.
He's made it work so far, however, and explained his stature — along with his demeanor on the football field — led to his nickname of "The Needle," which dates to his time at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Louisiana.
"I was always skinny, and when I hit you, it hurt," Dantzler explained with a smile while wearing a custom T-shirt during a video conference call Friday night.
2. QB, DB and LJ
Dantzler played quarterback and defensive back in high school, delivering success on both sides of the ball.
At QB, he rushed for 1,901 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior while throwing for 1,381 yards and 11 scores. On defense, he returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown.
Dantzler garnered Class 2A All-State honors in Louisiana in 2015.
He also showcased his skills in track and field, winning a state long jump title in 2015 with a mark of 23 feet, 3 ¼ inches.
3. College stats
Dantzler started 22 of 35 games in Starkville, allowing just 36 catches for 459 yards on 568 pass coverage snaps. He totaled 108 career tackles, including 6.0 for losses and 1.5 sacks, and five interceptions, with the first coming against Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in the TaxSlayer Bowl to finish the 2017 season.
Pro Football Focus graded Dantzler at 83.4 in 2019 after he allowed a passer rating of just 57.0. The grade and passer rating allowed tied for fourth among SEC cornerbacks.
4. A draft rarity
While multiple Mississippi State players have come off draft boards and gone to teams across the league in recent years, Dantzler is just the second Bulldog ever selected by the Vikings.
The only other selection out of Mississippi State by Minnesota was receiver Mardye McDole in 1983.
Dantzler's selection also marked just the third time that the Vikings have ever picked from the 89th overall spot in an NFL Draft.
5. Making the most of a do-over
Dantzler's time of 4.64 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine may have hurt his draft stock.
With most college pro days canceled this year, Dantzler was able to make the most of a second chance by running his 40 in front of a camera crew. Please enjoy the video below, but note the text in the tweet should say Mississippi State, not Mississippi.
"The 40 at the combine, that's in the past. I re-ran it, ran a 4.38," Dantzler said. "I know I'm faster than 4.6. I just want to show that at the next level, keep up with some of the top receivers in the league and run toe-to-toe with them."