With this pick, the Vikings addressed a pressing need in their lineup. If you’re curious to learn more about Ward and his potential impact, read on for insights from some of the most respected draft analysts out there.
Lance Zierlein NFL.com Analyst
The more you watch, the more you like the way Roy plays the game. He’s a little tight in his lower body, which prevents consistent gap leverage as a run defender, but he has outstanding upper body power and plays with unbridled energy. Roy has one-gapping snap quickness and two-gapping potential if he can become more consistent with taking on blocks. Despite limited starting experience at LSU, he already displays signs of a rush plan and the athletic talent to execute it. Roy is an ascending talent with the potential to become a quality starter.
Keith Sanchez of The Draft Network
As a run defender, Roy uses his athleticism to be able to quickly get into gaps and present penetration to potentially disrupt a play. Roy also shows the ability to play well against zone run plays. On plays where offensive linemen are trying to block him, he does a good job of maintaining leverage and prevents the offensive lineman from being able to reach-block him and place an effective block. As a pass rusher, Roy uses his athleticism to be effective on twists and stunts. Roy is a fluid mover and can flip his hips and get into tight spaces to provide penetration. Roy also does a good job in one-on-one situations attacking the edges of offensive linemen to attack an opening to get pressure on the quarterback.
There are improvements Roy can make as both a run defender and a pass rusher. As a run defender, it appears Roy needs to become more decisive and be quicker to shed offensive linemen. Roy appears to be delayed in his ability to deconstruct blocks, which results in him being stuck on blocks too long and allows for offensive linemen to displace him off of the line of scrimmage. As a pass rusher, Roy needs to simply finish the rep. Roy will start out his pass rush with a quick first step, putting himself in a good position, but it appears that Roy stops his momentum forward when reacting to run-action fakes or quarterback movement in the pocket. Roy has the physical tools to become a pass rusher on the next level but he needs to focus on winning his one-on-one assignment.
James Fragoza of Pro Football Network
Explosive one-gap tackle who shows a lot of athleticism. Fires off the snap, is effective when he bends his knees, and easily moves about the field. Quickly gets down the line of scrimmage and outside the box to pursue the action. Fights with his hands, is quick in all his actions, and immediately alters his angle of attack to get to plays. Gives effort against the run, flashes power, and wraps up tackling.
Roy possesses a nice combination of size as well as movement skills and comes with upside. He must improve his pad level and consistently play with leverage every single down to have a career in the NFL.
Roy has experience playing 0-tech, 1-tech, 2-tech, and 3-tech. He offers special teams experience on the punt return and field goal block units. Roy times the snap well, and there are examples of him penetrating with his initial quickness. The junior activates his hands early in the rep and knows how to use them in the pass rush. He uses swim, push-pull, club, and rip moves. Roy’s leg drive allows him to walk linemen back to the quarterback, but his bull rush doesn’t consistently generate displacement. He has a well-proportioned frame and good but not elite arm length. Roy holds the point of attack against one-on-one blocks but is displaced by double teams. Missed tackles remain a concern for the former four-star recruit. He lacks explosiveness and isn’t twitchy or sudden. Roy lacks high-end speed and doesn’t offer much in pursuit. He lacks the agility for quick turns and open-field tackles. Roy frequently loses the leverage battle and ends up on the ground too often. He has impressive upper-body strength that displaces linemen. However, he struggles to disengage from blocks, allows offensive linemen into his chest, and his hands lack violence. Roy is often displaced downfield against the run. As a pass rusher, he lacks a developed bag of pass-rush moves and counters. Roy’s rush stalls after his initial move. He’s more of a pocket pusher than a pocket collapser. The Louisiana native looked more explosive and fluid in 2021 than in 2022.
Vikings Happy Hour