Willie Beavers, OT
School: Western Michigan | Conference: Mid-American
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 324 lbs
Projected: 4th or 5th Round | Actual: 4th Round (Pick 121) by the Minnesota Vikings
Willie Beavers is a Michigan native and he wouldn't mind being drafted by the Detroit Lions. He was a 3-star recruit coming out of high school but didn't get much interest from BIG-10 schools despite Michigan being a talent hub for those schools. Beavers initially committed to Illinois but the Illini over recruited that incoming class and Beavers was one of the prospects that had to find another school to play for. He finally found a home at Western Michigan and has been a key part of their offensive line over the past 3 years. Beavers has started 40 straight games in his career.
What's most impressive about him is his athleticism for such a big man. It isn't elite by any means but few 324 lb OTs can move like Beavers. He has naturally quick feet, strength, and his long arms have helped him stonewall pass rushers and create lanes for his running back. Beavers is pretty raw as a prospect, struggles with speed rushers off the edge, and that is slightly concerning given his streak as a starter. However I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as Western Michigan isn't known for playing high-level competition, high-level coaching, or high-level offensive line coaching. Give Beavers a year or two with an NFL offensive line coach and he could be molded into starting OT material.
Mike Zimmer on Willie Beavers: "Beavers, I think he has a chance to be a good player. He has a thick, wide base.''— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) August 3, 2016
With Alex Boone and Mike Harris not practicing today, fourth-round pick Willie Beavers played guard with the first-stringers. #Vikings— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) June 7, 2016
How He Makes the Vikings Better and Creates Problems for the Redskins
I don’t think Willie Beavers will help the Vikings immediately. He was one of the enigmas of the draft. At Western Michigan she showed the size and strength to dominate the competition at times and at other times he looked bad. The same seems to be true at the start of his NFL career.
Beavers is currently working at guard and hasn’t been very impressive thus far. I stopped by the DailyNorseman and asked about Beavers and here is what some members had to say about him:
Beavers will have to get it together and fast if he wants to make the final 53. One of the pluses for him was that he was a versatile player that could play tackle or guard but it looks like he needs to work on his functional strength and technique a whole lot. He is currently in competition for a backup guard role on the Vikings.