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    NFL draft: USC WR Jordan Addison selected by Vikings at No. 23
    • April 28, 2023

    Jordan Addison will be paired with another high-powered wide receiver at the next level.

    The former USC receiver was selected in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night, going to the Minnesota Vikings with the 23rd selection. Addison’s selection makes it four straight years USC has seen a player taken in the first round.

    Addison will line up in Minnesota across from Justin Jefferson, who led the NFL in receiving yards (1,809) and receptions (128) in 2022 while earning NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors.

    “They told me, if I fall to them, they’re going to make sure they come and grab me,” Addison told reporters on a video conference call from the draft following his selection.

    The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Addison arrived at USC prior to the 2022 season as a transfer from Pittsburgh, where he won the Biletnikoff Award as college football’s top receiver in 2021. But after spending his career playing exclusively in the slot at Pitt, Addison transferred to USC for the opportunity to expand his repertoire in Lincoln Riley’s offense.

    Addison led USC in receiving in his lone season as a Trojan, with 59 catches for 875 yards and eight touchdowns. He scored the first points of USC’s season and was used in inventive ways, lining up outside, moving in motion and utilizing his explosive speed to create separation from defenders.

    An ankle injury suffered against Utah cost Addison most of three games as he struggled to regain his usual form. But he still was named to the All-Pac-12 first team.

    He joins a Minnesota team that won the NFC North in 2022 before losing to the New York Giants in the first weekend of the playoffs. The Vikings already have a lot of pieces in place in their seventh-ranked offense, from quarterback Kirk Cousins to running back Dalvin Cook to Jefferson.

    But they needed a second receiver to pair with Jefferson after cutting veteran Adam Thielen in March. Addison, the fourth consecutive receiver selected on Thursday night, fills that hole and has the potential to make an immediate impact as a rookie for Minnesota.

    Addison pointed to his successful transition to USC as evidence he can quickly learn Coach Kevin O’Connell’s pass-friendly system.

    “He gets his playmakers the ball,” Addison said. “They’re never in one spot.”

    Addison is a polished route-runner who consistently gets open despite not having elite speed. He ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. So how does he compensate for his smaller frame?

    “Make plays, catch the ball, score touchdowns,” Addison said.

    Cousins sounds eager to work with him.

    “He is a natural wide receiver,” Cousins said on Bleacher Report’s draft show. “I’ve played with some guys through the years that were great athletes; they could run well, they could jump well. But playing the position of wide receiver just didn’t come naturally to them. A guy who can attack the football with great hands, adjust to the football well, run great routes, that’s pretty exciting to be able to get that polish right away when he shows up for OTAs.”

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    ​ Orange County Register