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Discussing the Possibilities in Round 1

With the draft less than a week away, the Colts and Redskins slated to take both the quarterbacks with 1-2, it’s pretty safe to say the Vikings are on the clock. Vikings have some options with the 3rd pick since they have needs across the board. Let’s take a closer look at what are some options they will have with the 3rd pick of this years draft.

1. Matt Kalil, LT, USC – Most draftniks have Vikings slated to take Matt Kalil. If you seen my mock draft than you also know that I think we should draft Matt Kalil if we stay at 3. If you remember the article I did with other Vikings bloggers than you know the majority of them think we should draft Kalil. So why? Well, he is the premier LT in this draft and is a safe bet to protect the blindside for many years. If it shows you anything, during his sophomore season, Kalil kicked Cowboys star tackle Tyrone Smith to the right side at USC. Kalil has great athleticism and mobility but will need to add to his core strength at the next level to help anchor. Can handle speed rushers and works well in the 2nd level. Adding Kalil would give us a pretty solid front line and ultimately fill 2 holes with 1 pick by allowing Charlie Johnson to slide inside.

2. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU – Regarded by most as the highest rated cover corner in this draft and for good reason. The Vikings secondary ranked towards the bottom last year and pairing someone like Claiborne with Chris Cook would do wonders. Claiborne has good instincts and is a ball hawk with good hands(we already know how much of a problem our secondary has with dropping the ball), can be physical at the line while jamming receivers, and can play in both man and zone schemes. While he’s not a terrible tackler, that’s one area he can improve on and adding muscle and strength should help in that department. Many will argue that you don’t need elite corners in a Tampa-2 system but I think any system can benefit from great corners.

3. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St. – On many peoples board as the best receiver in this draft. Is he worthy of a top 3 pick? I’m not sure but I’d be willing to take him if we traded down. Great run after the catch and is a threat to take it to the house any time he touches the ball. Great body placement on short routes and in the red zone. Can play both inside in the slot and on the outside. Only 6’1 but has a powerful build and plays bigger than his height. Does most of his damage in short routes but does have the speed to win vertically. If we could find a way to use him and Harvin correctly together by moving them both all over the field we would have a pretty dynamic duo.

4. Trade Down – Rick Spielman has been no stranger about trading down from the 3rd pick. Now whether he finds someone willing to move into this slot is unknown. Teams like the Browns(4), Dolphins(8), and Chiefs(11) all could be looking for a QB. Trading with the Browns would be the dream scenario, picking up a 3rd rounder and still getting Matt Kalil. My guess is they will stay at 3 but If the Vikings were to trade down, here are some more options that could be available to them.

  • Michael Floyd, WR, ND – Our run game would take a boost on outside runs since Floyd is arguably the best blocking receiver in this draft. He is also 6’3, can beat press, and has the speed to win vertically. Can go up and get the ball and catches ball away from his body. Spielman loves him some Notre Dame players and we have a need for an outside threat. Floyd does come with some off the field concerns but if they feel they can keep him clean he’s worth the pick.
  • Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor – This might not be a fan favorite pick but Wright might have the best tape of any receiver in this draft. On the smaller side at 5’10 but he can win on the outside as well as the slot. Ran in the 4.4’s at his pro day and seems to play even faster. He can stretch the field and has great body control on catches near the sideline. Players like Santonio Holmes, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Steve Smith and DeShawn Jackson all are under 6’0 yet are a matchup problem.
  • Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama – Many say he’s the best running back prospect since our own Adrian Peterson. Really i’m joking, was just making sure you were paying attention. Petersons legs would need to fall off for us to take a running back at 3.
  • Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa – Another option at LT if we miss out on Kalil in a trade down. Probably not an elite prospect like Kalil is pass protection but he’s excellent in the run game. Probably better for the right side but has the skill set to play on the left. Has good lateral movement but needs to be more consistant ancoring on the left side.
  • Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia – A massive lineman who can play inside at guard but also has the qualities you want in a LT. Pretty well built for 345 lbs and holds it well. Could argue that he’s the most athletic lineman in the draft this year. Doesn’t have the greatest form but wins despite it. Can handle power rushers but can get beat by speed rushers if he fails to get his hands on them. Vikings have always seemed to like the bigger tackles on the outside so Glenn fits that mold.
  • Luke Kuechly, LB, BC – Kuechly translates to a 3 down linebacker in the pros who can play all 3 positions. With E.J. Henderson leaving a void at MLB, drafting Kuechly would give us one of the best linebacker groups in the NFL. Might be more pressing needs but Kuelchy has the ability to start in any scheme right away. Good all around game and also has good coverage skills which neither Greenway or Henderson really excel at.
  • Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis – Heard awhile back that the Vikings might be eyeing Poe towards end of the 1st round. Well he is rising up draft boards and I’ve even seen him projected inside the top 10. Poe could be an excellent replacement for Pat Williams at a position of high importance to our scheme. You like athletic freaks? This is your guy. Still very raw but has a high ceiling. Didn’t produce like you would want in college but personel guys love high upside players.
  • Mark Barron, S, Alabama – I keep hearing Barron won’t make it past the top 20 picks now. Vikings like Mistral Raymond but outside of him they have no other options to start. Could actually be the worse group in the entire NFL. Barron would step in and start immediately at SS. Didn’t play all that much in coverage at Alabama but has the skill set to do so.
  • Other: Later 1st round possibilities: OT Jonathon Martin, OT Mike Adams, WR Rueben Randle, DT Devon Still, DT Fletcher Cox, LB Lavonte David, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Stephon Gilmore, CB Janoris Jenkins

Let me hear your thoughts on what we should do with the 3rd pick. I also want to hear who you would take on a trade down? Would you have someone else in mind beside the players I named? Lastly, how far would you be willing to trade down?

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26 Responses to “Discussing the Possibilities in Round 1”

  1. Jay says:

    I would take Kalil. I would also consider trading down, if we get an offer we can’t refuse. If I traded down, I would target Kuechly.

  2. Mark Stephens says:

    We should take Claibourn! We need to stop Aaronica Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Matthew stafford in the North! Shut down corner is just what we need!

    • Jay says:

      Maybe I’m over analyzing, but is anyone else concerned about the recent LSU busts in the top 10?: QB Jamarcus Russell, S LaRon Laundry, DE/DT Tyson Jackson? Is Claiborne next on the list? Or is he the exception?

  3. Erik H says:

    Kalil is the pnly choice. No trade in the 1st round.

  4. Stonginator says:

    One man cannot cover 6 people, no matter HOW fast he is.
    The best way to help our porous defense, is to improve the offense so it can score points.

    Kalil – Kalil – Kalil

    • Stonginator says:

      I would like to see us possibly package one of our 4th rounders with our 2nd, and move back up into the bottom of the first and take a good WR or corner if one were to fall for some reason.

      • Erik H says:

        Can’t trade away picks when in re-building mode. And it would take at least 2 if not all 3 of our 4th round picks along with our 2nd round pick to get back up into the 1st round.

  5. Stonginator says:

    Wasn’t it a 4th rounder that we picked up from Detroit to let them get back into the 1st round for concussion Boy 2 years ago.

    If we found someone that was hungry enough we might be able to pull this off.
    I totally agree we need all of the picks to rebuild, but if we could if a big need like safety or, WR, or corner this way, and there was someone we felt was worth it, we would be filling 2 needs at the top of the board.

    • Lost Viking says:

      That’s right. Trade down w/ Lion gave them Jahvid Best but set up Vike to move up to take Toby Gerhart in 2nd.

      Unfortunately, trade down allowed Saint to move ahead for cornerback Patrick Robinson. Robinson has yet to miss a tackle. We took Chris Cook which may be OK.

      This year trading back into first round from # 34 isn’t required. After Texan at # 26 there are few teams with WR need (maybe Raven #29). At the top of the 2nd round eight of ten teams may be looking WR.

      Many mock drafts have Vike taking safety Harrison Smith if he’s still on the Board. It will be difficult for Spielman to lay off.

  6. Zag says:

    Kalil needs to be the pick. It doesn’t matter how good Claiborne is, he does NOT fit our scheme. He is definitely the best defensive player in the draft and he will certainly be a VERY special player, but he doesn’t fit our scheme. Cover-2 teams don’t draft shutdown corners.

    I think the ideal situation would be as follows: Apparently, Tampa Bay REALLY wants to get Richardson. But so do the Browns. The perfect trade would be to have the Bucs trade up to get Richardson ahead of the Browns, putting us in the #5 spot. The Browns wouldn’t take Kalil, meaning we’d still get him at #5. I don’t think this is out of the realm of possibility, considering that there are rumors that the Bucs’ GM is really hot for Richardson.

    • Zag says:

      Kalil is going to be great, but I think that Jonathan Martin will be a starting LT in the NFL as well. Reilly Reiff is going to be a right tackle, but he is above Martin on most boards I’ve seen. If we do end up making a large trade down, I wouldn’t throw a fit if we ended up with Martin.

      But to be honest, I think the Vikes are throwing up a really great smokescreen. As much as we need a corner, Spielman KNOWS that we need a LT more.

  7. Erik H says:

    Offensive Line is the most important thing to fix in this draft. Not only is Kalil the right pick in the 1st, but o-line should be the pick in the 2nd round as well. O-line makes everything on the offense work, it makes the QB, RBs and WRs better, period…and ours is bad. We have no LT, we can’t just assume Johnson and Schwartz will be vialble guards (Johnson’s never played the position and Schwartz was average 2 years ago before he missed the an entire season to injury), Sullivan is mediocre at his best and Loadholt has been under-achieving since we drafted him. Drafting o-linemen isn’t sexy, you don’t get a shiny new toy to watch run up and down the field…but when we are as bad as we are you need to start re-building the base of your team, o-line.

    • Randy Perrin says:

      Erik I respect your opinion but I have to disagree on a few things here. Sullivan last year was far better than mediocre. I actually think only Chris Myers was better at the Center position in 2011. Charlie Johnson when moved inside for the Colts graded out above average according to Pro Football Focus and Geoff Schwartz before injury was impressive and was showing promise. Now whether he comes back from injury well is to be unseen but I think we have plenty of options at guard. Joe Berger played well last year when filling in and Vikings are high on Brandon Fusco. I feel pretty comfortable that who ever wins the guard jobs will be more than capable. Lastly, Loadholt has under achieved in pass pro but he’s one of the best run blocking tackles in the league. I expect Loadholt to have his best year to date this year coming into a contract year. Just my opinion on the state of the offensive line. If we draft Kalil I think our OLine will actually be a strength of the team.

      • Erik H says:

        I guess I’ll just have to respectfully disagree (and hope you are right). I have no clue what makes you so high on Sully, I will admit he was the best o-lineman for the Vikes last year, but when you look at the whole o-line overall, that is like saying he was the thinnest kid at fat camp. Sully wouldn’t make my top 15 centers last year. Herrera had no business starting last year and neither Berger nor Fusco could beat him out. I know that the Vikes keep saying they are high on Fusco but since training camp hasn’t even started yet I wonder where that comes from, other than wishful thinking. Loadholt has become a liability and has never had anyone behind him to push him to improve, maybe playing for the new contract will be enough motivation but if that is the only thing that will make him push himself, is that the kind of player you want on your team? Again, I hope you’re right and I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

        • Randy Perrin says:

          I could easily be wrong but I do like what I saw out of Sully last year. His first few seasons he battled with injuries and finally seemed at full strength last year. Sully is smart and plays with great technique. He’s actually ideal size for a center at 6’4 and around 305. He ancored well against bigger NTs and rarely got pushed back or missed an assignment. One thing I was impressed with last year was his run blocking and sealing off blocks up the middle. Now can he continue to stay healthy? Time will tell but he’s made improvements past year and hopefully continues to.

          I agree Herrera should of never broke the starting line last year and I’m not sure what the Vikes saw in him that made them think he should of been starting. Fusco was a rookie last year and in limited action I thought he played decent. Still has some work to do but he can play with a mean streak that you want in guard play. Transitioning from a small school like Slippery Rock takes time but I do like his potential moving forward. To me at worst he can be a quality swing back up between guard and center.

  8. SDViking says:

    Randy, just wanted to say great article. This is a terrific summary of many of our past posts/arguments. I really like that you added the hyperlinks to the highlight footage.

    Claiborne will be a good corner in the league, maybe even great. I wouldn’t mind taking him if we trade down. But the bottom line is we need to give our QB the opportunity to succeed. We need a LT that can hold off the likes of Peppers, Avril, and Mathews. We need a LT that can give Ponder more than 2 seconds to find a target.

    As it stands right now, our offense can not function. Not only do we have holes on our line, we have GAPING holes. The only sure thing is our center. Our lineman cannot get a push for our running game and they cannot hold their blocks in the passing game. If our offense can’t move, we CANNOT score.

    Yeah, Claiborne may be a great defender, but as Stong noted, he cannot guard more than one player at a time. Last time I checked, the Packers and Lions have more than enough receiving talent to compensate for a matchup with Claiborne. Okay, so Jennings won’t catch a TD pass, but Nelson, Driver, and Finley WILL. At least if we take a step forward with our line, maybe, just MAYBE we’ll get lucky and be able to keep up scoring with them.

    I know you can use my point against me. How can Kalil make our offense work? He’s only one guy right? Yeah. But that one guy will hold his own, allowing a player (CJ) to play a position much more suited for his strengths LG. There, instead of having a subpar LT and LG, we have an excellent LT and an average LG. In stead of having a terrible o line, we have a functioning one. A functioning offensive line is the first step to improving this team.


    • Randy Perrin says:

      Appreciate it SDV, that was one of the main reason I made the post was seeing everyone discussing the 1st round so thought we’d put it all into one post.

      Now my 2 cents, I think we’re in a win-win no matter if we go Kalil or Claiborne. I’ve been on the Kalil ship for awhile now but I can also understand if we were to pick Claiborne.

      Picking Kalil allows to fill 2 positions with 1 pick(assuming Johnson wins the LG spot). I also think the pick allows our offensive line to be one of our strengths. A competition between CJ, Fusco, Schwartz and Berger is bound to bring out 2 solid contributors at the guard position. A strong offensive line will allow Ponder time to get the ball out but more importantly will allow him to stay standing up.

      Now picking Claiborne would give us a nice set of corners. Chris Cook was looking solid before his arrests last year and to pair them together would give two legitimate corners on the outside. This pick would also allow Winfield to move inside into the slot where he’s best suited. In a division where we have to deal with Rodgers/Jennings, Stafford/Johnson,Cutler/Marshall and also a league that is pass happy, you can never have enough good corners. I know people say that you don’t need elite corners in a cover-2 which may be true but I don’t care what scheme you run, an elite corner will always help any scheme.

      I’m not sure whether an elite LT or an elite corner is the right choice but I think either way you look at it here is were in a pretty good situation and I can honestly live with either pick.

    • Zag says:

      Two main things worth considering:

      1. Kalil would allow us to shuffle the entire o-line. From left to right: Kalil, Johnson/Schwartz, Sullivan, Berger/Fusco, Loadholt. That doesn’t look too bad on paper, and it looks 1000x better than 2011’s o-line.

      2. When compared with a shutdown corner, I think it can be easy to undervalue a left tackle. Erik H is right, it’s not a sexy position to draft. A shutdown corner is sexy. However, consider this: Tyron Smith, #9 overall pick last year, played OUTSTANDING on Dallas’ right side in 2011 and they’re moving him to the left this season. They confidently drafted him as their starting left tackle to-be. He has played great so far. He’s agile, quick, freakishly strong, and plays run and pass well.

      Kalil was good enough at USC to keep Tyron Smith on the right side. If Smith would have been better, he would have played left tackle.

      TL;DR: Don’t forget that in college, Kalil was good enough to win the LT spot over Tyron Smith, a stud #9 overall pick in 2011.

  9. R Smith says:

    No. Take Blackmon. He’s the quickest way to a touchdown. He’s fierce. Tackle smackle.

  10. Lost Viking says:

    Has anyone seen an update on pre-draft visits?

    Scheduled pre-draft visits contained a lot of offensive tackles and guards, cornerbacks and wide receivers. The list I had contained zero linebackers.


  11. Lost Viking says:

    From Jason laconfora:

    “Minnesota Viking either think USC’s Matt Kalil is the next great left tackle, a sure-fire Hall of Fame prospect … or they’re not sold on him at all, feel like they could get great value in a tackle way down the board, and really, really want to trade out. Depends on who you talk to.

    There is no middle ground here. And it seems pretty close. If I’ve had five GMs tell me Kalil is absolutely, positively the pick there, then I’ve had at least as many say the exact opposite. So, kudos to the Viking because I suppose this is the dream scenario for a club.”

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