EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings added a trio of players on Saturday in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, bringing in two players in the trenches and one in the secondary.
Minnesota, which had three picks in a four-selection span, started off its run by taking Arkansas defensive tackle Armon Watts with the 190th overall pick.
The Vikings then went back-to-back, selecting Wyoming safety Marcus Epps at pick No. 191.
Minnesota finished off the flurry by adding Elon offensive tackle Olisaemeka Udoh with the 193rd overall pick in the draft.
Here’s a look at Minnesota’s trio of sixth-round selections from Saturday afternoon:
Pick No. 190: Arkansas DT Armon Watts
Watts burst onto the scene as a senior, recording 7.5 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks in 12 games for the Razorbacks.
The defensive tackle said he got into a groove as the season went along.
“I think for me it was as the season progressed, I made a few good plays early on in the season, and once we got to that competition where it was SEC play, I didn’t slack off at all,” Watts said. “I think once I felt like I could compete with those guys, it just built my confidence even more.”
Watts got a chance to work with Vikings coaches at the East-West Shrine Bowl when he was on the West roster. Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer was the West Head Coach, while Vikings assistant defensive line coach Robert Rodriguez was the defensive line coach for the West.
That dialogue continued at the combine with Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson.
“I worked with Coach Rob Rodriguez during the East-West [Shrine Game] and met with a few front-office guys,” Watts said. “I established a relationship with Coach [Dre] Patterson during the combine afterward. He told me he saw me as a really good interior d-lineman.
“I know he’s able to see me as a 1-tech, a 2I, a 3-tech,” Watts added. “So the more I can do for him, the more I know he’s going to like it. I’m just ready to be coached by such a great defensive line coach.”
Pick No. 191: Wyoming S Marcus Epps
Epps was a success story in college at Wyoming, going from a walk-on player to three-time team captain.
“It means a lot,” Epps said. “Just being able to lead such a great group of guys for not one or two, but three years, man, it was incredible that they thought of me as a captain for so many years.”
Epps made plenty of plays in 50 career games for the Cowboys. He recorded 325 total tackles (215 solo) with 19.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and nine interceptions along with five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
Epps said he thought he’d get picked around the sixth round or later, adding that it was a bit of a wait until he heard his phone ring.
But now that he has been drafted by the Vikings, Epps said he is looking forward to continuing to succeed on the field, no matter what it takes.
“Early in my career, I played a lot of special teams at Wyoming, and as my years went on they tried to save me a little bit more,” Epps said. “I’m definitely looking forward to playing special teams and helping out the team any way that I can.
“That chip is always on your shoulder,” Epps added. “But I’m more looking forward to proving the Minnesota Vikings organization right and proving myself right and all the people who actually believed in me.”
Pick No. 193: Elon OT Olisaemeka Udoh
For the first time since 2013, Elon University has had a player taken in the NFL Draft.
Minnesota selected the 6-foot-5, 323 pound redshirt senior in the sixth round, adding a talent to work with on the offensive line.
Udoh said he is well-ware there will be a jump in talent coming from the FCS-level of college football.
“I think it’s going to be a good challenge for me coming from this level of competition,” Udoh said. “Just being able to adapt, I feel like that’s one thing I would say is my strong suit … just being able to adapt to different circumstances.
“That entire experience is going to be a good and fun challenge for me. I’m excited to get started with it [at] camp,” Udoh added.
Udoh had the chance to test himself twice in recent months against different competition. He was a participant in the East-West Shrine Game for Vikings assistant offensive line coach Andrew Janocko, and also participated in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Udoh said he will rely on his mammoth size to help him make the transition to the NFL.
“Yeah, I think that’s another huge factor that the Vikings kind of could tell from tape and other factors, but because of the weight that I have, you wouldn’t expect me to be as quick as I am,” Udoh said. “Just being able to be my size and move the way I’ve been moving these past couple months with those games and my season I think definitely helped with this whole process of getting me to be a Viking.”