Monday, April 23, 2012

The National Media is Starting in on the Anti-Kalil Buzz

The NFL Post is currently featuring an article that focuses on the notion that the Vikings will pass on USC left-tackle Matt Kalil with the third overall pick.

For those still hoping that the Vikings consider Kalil with numero tres, there might be another possibility to cling to...

The Eye-Patchers of Tampa Bay seem focused on two players:  Alabama RB Trent Richardson and, of course, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. It is a foregone conclusion that Cleveland is giving serious thought to selecting Richardson at number four. There- fore, if the Vikings were to take "Mo" a pick before, who would Tampa take?  Let me rephrase that:  who could Tampa Bay justify taking with the fifth overall pick? They do have a need at the right-tackle position. But whereas Matt Kalil would be a great value pick at number five, the position of right-tackle itself is not usually synonymous with being a first round-worthy selection.  There are those who say that current starting left-tackle -- and former Vikings practice squad inhabitant -- Donald Penn could be moved to the right-side; and therefore, upgrading two positions at once since Matt Kalil is projected as a better left-tackle prospect than Penn has been thus far. That is certainly a viable possibility.  But, of course, such a move would be violative of Jimmy Johnson's tenet "Thy shall not use a high pick to 're-shuffle the deck.'"  And considering how much emphasis organizations still place in Jimmy Johnson's "trade-value chart" to think they would not adhere to his other canons would be remiss.

More importantly, as has been implied in relation to Bill Musgrave's offense, Kalil might not be the best schematic fit in Tampa Bay's run-heavy offense either. Newly-hired Buccaneers' head coach, Greg Schiano, earned a reputation at Rutgers for favoring a smash-mouth, run-first attack with heavy usage of running back committees. Those committees always consisted of a larger physical back (e.g., Brian Leonard) taking the bulk of inside-carries, and a smaller back (e.g., Ray Rice) running wide and off-tackle. Kalil is not known as of yet for his run blocking -- mostly because the same long legs and lack of girth in his lower base that generates his quickness and agility in pass- protection also serves as a detriment in accessing the "push" needed for run-blocking.  In fact, the most interesting part of the NFL Post article is its acknowledgment that if the Vikings do not select Kalil he could possibly fall all the way to Buffalo at the tenth-pick.

The bottom line in all this is that Richardson and -- due to a desperate need for another corner -- Claiborne would maximize the appreciation of their the number five pick; where- as the selection of anyone else would seemingly diminish it. Perhaps the Vikings realize this -- after all, someone had a motivation to leak Claiborne's low test score -- and are flawlessly executing a black-op (Operation: Bend Over) in convincing Tampa that they need to trade-up in order to guarantee themselves of getting one of the two prospects they allegedly covet.  If that is indeed the case, then perhaps we have not been giving Rick Spielman enough credit -- as the master plan obviously has the media buying in.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like we got TB by the balls and the only thing Spielman has to decide is how hard to squeeze.