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Welcome To The Big Show: Chris Degeare

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  Over the next few weeks, we will be unveiling some in-depth articles that allow you to better know the newest Vikings draft class and undrafted free agents.  These articles are not intended to be “fluff pieces” like you will find elsewhere, but rather a comprehensive look at each of them as a person and as a football player.  Click the links to read about Chris Cook, Toby Gerhart, and Everson Griffen.]

It seems that guards and centers never ever are drafted where the media and draftniks think they will be.  Thus, I probably should not have been as surprised as I was when the Vikings took the relatively unknown Wake Forest utility lineman Chris Degeare only 14 picks after the highly touted Mitch Petrus was selected.

As a high school student in North Carolina, Degeare was an immediate stand out.  He earned numerous honors during the course of his high school career for his football prowess, but was also named a team captain his senior year and also won an award for being the student of the month. 

Heading into college he was considered a top three lineman coming out of North Carolina.  He received offers from schools such as Clemson, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.  Ultimately, however, he chose Wake Forest where he would major in sociology.

Degeare contributed in every game his freshman year, seeing an increase in playing time with each week.  That year he registered 29.5 “knock down blocks” to help his team lead the conference in rushing. 

His college career really got rolling during his sophomore season when he started in every game as a guard and registered 56 knock down blocks.

In 2008, Degeare hit a large speed bump and was deemed academically ineligible for the entire season.  Degeare was understandably having troubles with focusing on school after his mother, Genetria, passed away.

“She was my inspiration, my everything,” he said. “She was my best friend, the person I went to. It was very tough to lose someone that you’re that close to.”

He used his right to be a red shirt for the year to get his school work squared away and would not return to action until 2009.

During the 2009 season, Degeare shed some weight and started every game at left tackle.  He led his team in knock down blocks in three of their twelve games. 

At the NFL Scouting Comine, Degeare held his own.  He was tied for eighth among offensive linemen running the forty (5.16), was fifth in the vertical leap (32.5), and tenth in the board jump (8’ 7”). 

Degeare also possesses a massive frame of 6’ 4” and 325 pounds.  He gets a great jump off the ball, gaining an advantage over defenders and driving them backwards on running plays.  He has a mean streak in the running game, and has shown an ability to consistently turn defenders away from the play and drive them in whichever direction he chooses.  When he senses that his opponent is off balance, he loves nothing more than to go for the knock down.

While his frame gives him an advantage over some bigger defensive linemen, he does lack some quickness and thus struggles with speedier defensive tackles and ends.  One of the biggest knocks against Degeare is that he has some durability concerns, as his play tends to drop off greatly in the fourth quarter. 

Overall, Degeare is seen as a selection with all the physical tools to suggest a tremendous upside.  Perhaps with a professional coaching staff and an elite training schedule, he may be able to establish himself as a dependable lineman at the next level.

His first order of business will be to beat out another rookie for a roster spot.  Thomas Austin from Clemson (I’ll get to him later) was signed as an undrafted free agent immediately following the draft.  Austin is also a versatile linemen that many in the media had ranked higher than Degeare. 

If Degeare can beat out Austin, then he will need to turn his attention towards beating out Ryan Cook to become the Vikings solution to the loss of Artis Hicks, who served very well as the backup player to four spots along the Vikings offensive line until signing with the Redskins this year.


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11 Responses to “Welcome To The Big Show: Chris Degeare”

  1. olderthandirt says:

    Another great post Adam. Thanks for giving us some insight into our draft picks. My first thoughts, hearing that he was “redshirted academically”, led me to believe he was mentally challenged, but now hearing of his loss at that time, leads me to believe, he was very torn.

    It takes a lot of character to come back after a setback. I wish him that best of luck, and hope he proves to be a worthy backup.

    Thanks again for the fine article Adam.

  2. bigjohnny84 says:

    I would hope this dude can beat out Cook for a roster spot, Geesh.

  3. Pookie Johnson says:

    You have rated him much higher than the reports I read. From the draft reports I saw he is mediocre at best, out of shape, and slow. Sounds decent against the run but a liability passing.

  4. Ole says:

    Degeare looks like a diamond in the rough, the type of player Meathead Mike Tice used to tutor

    … closed circuit to Adam, do not name your baby “Pookie”

  5. starrC10 says:

    Slow, but with a mean streak… sounds like a guard!

    Lets get Hererra in the middle and our new guy in the guard between Anthony and Loadholt!

    Skol!

  6. VAVike says:

    The battle between he and Austin will be a good one. Another great post, keep um’ coming.

  7. Norseman66 says:

    Adam,

    Just read that Favre will need ankle surgery if he wants to play this year. I hope T-jack and Sage are up to speed!!

  8. krugjr says:

    start Chris in the second half……then he won’t run out of gas til midnight…..

    GO VIKES!!!!!

  9. madone says:

    Great post! By far the most accurate. Chris is my nephew and he is by no means academically challenged. He graduated from Wake Forest which is quite an accomplishment! As for the concerns about being out of shape I can say that he has really worked hard to get into the best condition of his career. Not many 325 pounders have 32.5 in verticals. He is athletic and quick. His college line coach was also the O coordinator so he hasn’t had the full time coaching he will get at this level. Chris will prove himself to be a valuable asset to the Vikings and his entire family is thrilled to become your newest Viking fans!!! SKOL!!!!!!!!

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