EAGAN, Minn. – After obtaining extra picks by trading down, the Vikings moved up to select Jaquelin Roy, a defensive lineman, out of LSU with the 141st overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds, Roy started 13 of 35 games he played for the Tigers from 2020-22. Roy totaled 97 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks and one forced fumble. He is expected to add strength and depth to the interior defensive line.
Here are five things to know about the new Vikings interior defensive lineman:
1. Playing multiple spots
New Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores emphasized versatility as a desired attribute when talking with the Vikings personnel department, and it shows with the selections Minnesota made on defense.
Roy said he believes he can comfortably play nose tackle (0 technique directly across from a center), but he also believes he can go wider to the 4i (inside shoulder of a tackle).
"Wherever they need me, I'm going to be there with my first foot forward and just ready to get to work," Roy said after his selection.
Functionally, the Vikings hope to tap into Roy's ability to eat blocks as well as make plays.
"He's got the ability to be stout at the point of attack, play nose tackle, but he's also got a little wiggle in his body," Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said. "He can rush the passer, and obviously you've seen in free agency the past couple years with the contracts of some of those guys in there, it's really hard to chip on the edges, slide one way.
"Somebody is going to get a 1-on-1, and it's typically that guy," Adofo-Mensah added. "To have somebody with some pass rush value from that spot is really helpful, but we've got some guys on this roster already who can do that, as well, but just adding another body to that presence is something we wanted to do. We're excited to have him."
View photos of LSU NT Jaquelin Roy who was selected No. 141 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.
2. Coincidence in comparison
One of the interior defensive linemen who signed a massive contract during free agency was former Viking Dalvin Tomlinson.
NFL.com's Lance Zierlein compared Roy to Tomlinson, a 2017 second-round pick by the Giants who spent two seasons with the Vikings, in Roy's pre-draft bio summary.
Roy will join a group of interior linemen led by veterans Harrison Phillips and Jonathan Bullard, who joined Minnesota during 2022 free agency, and this year's addition Dean Lowry.
At 305 pounds, Roy is the third-heaviest defensive lineman on Minnesota's roster behind Khyiris Tonga (338) and Phillips (307).
3. Familiar faces abound
Roy will have a few familiar faces as he transitions to Minnesota, including Jay Ward, who was selected out of LSU just seven spots before Roy.
The big man relayed the story Saturday that he returned from the bathroom and asked if anyone from LSU had been drafted.
Ward had just been picked. Moments after celebrating that, Roy was joining him and continuing to be his teammate.
"When I was on the phone talking to y'all for Minnesota I heard someone say Jaquelin got picked, so I'll reunite with him," Ward said. "I played with him for three years, and I know what he can bring to the table, and he definitely won't let you down; he's a great player."
Roy and Ward had Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones as their defensive coordinator at LSU in 2021. Roy also faced Vikings guard Ed Ingram, a 2022 second-round pick, in multiple practices for two years at LSU.
"But freshman year came in, it was a big hit just going against Ed Ingram knowing he was one of the top guards in the SEC," Roy said. "Just going against him getting my technique better and better every practice. Just lining up for 1-on-1s and 9-on-7s made me better for sure.
4. Once a Viking …
Again a Viking.
A day after his selection to the Vikings, Roy returned to his time in youth football as a member of the Vikings.
I love that they gave him the football for the photo even though he wound up playing a position that doesn't get to touch the football often.
5. Tiger striped
Roy played prep football at University High School on LSU's campus where the Cubs won back-to-back state titles without losing a game from 2017-18. Having grown up so close to the Tigers, he took tremendous pride in suiting up for LSU.
"It's really a dream come true just to have a dream from a young age as a kid playing football being the youngest playing with older guys," Roy said. "Having a dream of one day being in NFL and a dream to go to LSU and wear purple and gold, to actually bleed purple and gold. Now I'm in the NFL and going to do the same thing with the Vikings, it's amazing."
Vikings Assistant Director of Player Personnel Chisom Opara said the team wants to continue Roy's progression.
"When you go play defensive line at LSU, there is a certain lineage and a certain expectation that comes with wearing that jersey and going to that school," Opara said. "When you go there you sign up for that. He's been battle tested, he's played in the SEC. He is a young player who flashed early in his career, and he has a lot of upside. I liked the way he attacked early in his career, his final year and the player that he is trending toward right now."