ESPN analyst Bill Polian said tonight on a Sportscenter Special called "On the Clock" that the Vikings should not take USC left-tackle Matt Kalil with the third overall pick. The former general manager of the Buffalo Bills (1986-93) and expansion Carolina Panthers (1994-97), was most recently fired by the Indianapolis Colts following their league-worst 2-14 record this last season. Polian spent 14 seasons as the Colts' President over- seeing all football and administrative aspects of the Colts. In that time, they made 11 playoff appearances and tied a league-record with nine consecutive playoff berths from 2002-2010.
It having been made official today that the Polian-less Colts would indeed be selecting Andrew Luck with the first overall pick, and it being a foregone conclusion that the Redskins will choose Baylor QB Robert Griffin III at No. 2, the ESPN draft-related special dove right into what the Vikings ought to do with the third overall pick in the first minutes of the program. After posting a quote by Vikings general manager Rick Spiel- man indicating that the Vikings are still deliberating on taking one of three players -- Southern California tackle Matt Kalil, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon -- Polian told host Trey Wingo that the Vikings should not take a offensive tackle third overall let alone a tackle with "strength deficiencies" like Kalil. It is the opinion of some pundits that because of the recent string of Super Bowl winners having not featured elite left-tackle play the position is now being somewhat devalued. Polian did not indicate whether he shared that position and neglected to clarify why he implied an offensive tackle per se should not be taken with the third overall pick. But in an exchange with co-analyst and former Vikings' wide-receiver Chris Carter, Polian opined that Kalil "is no Jonathan Ogden" and the Vikings would be wise to trade back even if it meant getting Kalil with a later pick.
Polian is the third former NFL personnel executive in the last week to indicate that they do not consider Kalil an elite left tackle prospect. In a discussion of Kalil on the NFL Network, former general manager of the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans, Charley Casserly, and Michael Lombardi, who headed the Oakland Raiders’ and Cleveland Browns’ personnel departments, expressed respectively that they do not consider Kalil better than Tyron Smith or Nate Solder, both having been drafted a year ago. Smith, who played with Kalil at Southern Cal, was chosen ninth overall by Dallas. Solder, the former Colorado Buffalo, was selected with the 17th overall pick by New England. Both Smith and Solder were named to Pro Football Weekly's All-Rookie team.
In the same segment of the show, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay -- the Bert and Ernie of ESPN's draft coverage team -- differed as always in who they believed the Vikings should take at number three: Kiper went with Claiborne, while McShay said Kalil.