Article regarding health of Andrew Booth
Minnesota Vikings 'feel good' about health of draft pick Andrew Booth from Clemson
Andrew Booth Jr. slipped and the Minnesota Vikings pounced.
Booth, Clemson's All-ACC cornerback, was widely considered a first-round NFL Draft talent but not picked on Thursday's opening night, seemingly because of injury concerns. He's had two hernia surgeries in the past year, one last month, and didn't participate in the NFL Combine or Clemson's Pro Day.
But after two other cornerbacks were taken in the first seven picks of the second round, six total off the board, Minnesota traded up Friday night to get Booth with the 10th selection, No. 42 overall.
"I knew that the medical thing might play a role in how long I'd stay on the board," Booth said. "But it was all good. Very happy to be here and very happy my dreams came true."
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said they did extensive research about Booth's health and were not concerned.
"He was too good of a possibility to pass up," Adofo-Mensah said. "We talked to the surgeon, all the people who were in his surgery and his rehab. We feel good about the situation."
With cornerbacks Roger McCreary from Auburn going 35th to the Tennessee Titans and Kyler Gordon from Washington going 39th to the Chicago Bears, the Vikings made their move. They gave 53, 77 and 192 to the Indianapolis Colts for 42 and 122.
Booth was projected in most mock drafts as the third- or fourth-best cornerback in the draft. He was behind Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner of Cincinnati, Derek Stingley Jr. of LSU and on some lists Trent McDuffie of Washington. They all went in the first round, Stingley third to the Seattle Seahawks, Gardner fourth to the New York Giants and McDuffie at 21 to the Kansas City Chiefs. Another cornerback, Kaiir Elam of Florida, went two picks later to the Buffalo Bills.
It's a deep draft for corners, as many as 30 projected to be picked in the seven-round event, so Booth wasn't too disappointed in going early in the second.
"I'm super-excited, man," he said. "This is a lifetime dream coming true. I don't have too many words. I'm just ready to play the game that I love again and play at the highest level with great health. I feel the best I've felt in a long time, so I'm just ready to put the pads on and get to it."
Booth in three seasons had five interceptions, 10 pass breakups and a fumble return for a touchdown. He became Clemson's third defensive back drafted by Minnesota since 2016, when the Vikings got Mackensie Alexander in the second round and Jayron Kearse in the seventh.
"They are getting, first of all a great person with a great spirit to him," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "From a football standpoint, they're getting a rare corner. Long, explosive, fast, physical tackler. Great ball skills. Very instinctive guy and, I think, a guy that helps the team right away."
Booth said he believes he can be a starter as a rookie. He will likely have to beat out third-year player Cameron Dantzler, a third-round player from Mississippi State.
"I just feel like I'm that guy," Booth said. "A lot of people have their own perspective on it or whatever. ... I'm going to have to come in, work hard and earn that starting spot."
Todd Shanesy covers Clemson athletics for the USA Today network.
"So let it be written.
So let it be done."