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.