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OT Matt Kalil: Scouting Report

Round 1: Pick 4

Here is the scouting report on the Vikings newest LT Matt Kalil from Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting, Dane Brugler of, and Josh Norris of Rotoworld, all who do phenomenal works so check them out.

Matt Kalil
College: Southern Cal
Position: OT
Height/Weight: 6’6/306 lbs.

Scouting Reports

Eric Galko
Optimum Scouting

Report Completed By Mark Dulgerian
Final Grade: 9.7/10

Matt comes from some great bloodlines as his father Frank, and brother Ryan both have NFL experience. Ryan was also a standout at USC and currently plays center for the Carolina Panthers. His on-field patience and awareness speak to his preparation in the film room. He anticipates extremely well and has a certain confidence you want in your left tackle. He’s a top competitor who was able to keep 2010 top 10 Cowboys’ draft pick, Tyron Smith, on the right side when he was at USC. Kalil showed much more of a mean streak in 2011, finishing his blocks with attitude and showing a desire for the pancake block. I would like to see him cut down on the relaxation plays where he fails to play through the whistle but these “lapses” in concentration rarely effect the outcome of the play. Overall, he has taken to coaching well at USC and has become one of the more polished tackle prospects of the last few years. He also participated as a member of USC’s field goal block team, blocking a kick in ’10. Kalil served as a team captain in 2011. Kalil is a excellent athlete whose natural abilities that he showcased in post season workouts translate extremely well onto the football field. He has a prototypical frame and height at over 6-6 with long arms and does not have a lot of unnecessary fat on him. He weighed in at just over 300 pounds at the combine and reportedly played about 10 pounds lighter so he needs to add some bulk to his frame. He isn’t as thick as you’d like in his lower half which will hurt his anchoring ability against larger bull rushers at the next level. Kalil is extremely light on his feet and shows very good change of direction skills. He is a fluid athlete who has very good body control to turn and open his hips quickly when he counters and mirros pass rushers. He sinks well into his stance showing good flexibility through his hips and legs to extend when asked to pull downfield. He looks like an athlete when he runs, fluidly opening his up stride and keeping his head level. You really don’t see much stiffness until he’s asked to engage smaller defenders in the open field where he shows some trouble sinking his weight to react to their counter moves. Still, he shows some quick twitch in his movements and controls his body remarkably well for a guy at his height.

Even thought he played at under 300 pounds during the season, its hard to tell because of the way he controls and dominates defenders. He isn’t quite a mauler but when he gets both of his hands on you its pretty much game over. He is solid through his upper body and shows very heavy hands. He was more consistent in 2011 in using his hands to jolt defenders off balance, often leading to pancake blocks. Because of his strength and ability to initiate contact first, he rarely gets jolted or overwhelmed when defenders are able to get their hands under his chest pads. He routinely plays with ideal pad level and rarely gets caught playing upright. As mentioned before, he isn’t very thick through his lower half and can improve overall strength in his base. When he is forced to react and adjust to a late twist or blitz he tends to give up some leverage and is susceptible to the bull rush and can be forced back into the pocket. He will over extend at times when engaging second level defenders which causes him to slip off blocks but it is a rare occurrence. Kalil displays as good of footwork as of any offensive tackle prospects from the past 5 drafts. This is really what makes him such a great player and elite prospect. Kalil is routinely the first to get off the ball at the snap and shows an explosive first step. He rarely gets beat inside off the snap and he is very quick to engage into contact with the defender on inline blocks. Matt does an excellent job of keeping his feet moving and does not take any false or unecessary steps. His lateral quickness is very impressive, especially when asked to mirror and slide. He shows a powerful kick step in which he can quickly gauge the defenders angle and step so that his slide pattern cuts off the angle at the snap. He slides well and quickly adjusts his hips and shoulders when needed to react to counter moves. In tight spaces he shows good control of his feet to avoid stumbling over the “trash”. He routinely takes excellent angles on traps and slides quickly when he is asked for support on co-op blocks. He does not have elite anchoring ability and can be forced into the pocket at times by some bigger power rushers but he is relentless in fighting and churning his feet. He doesn’t over extend or stop his feet when he’s overwhelmed, quickly recognizing the need for short choppy steps. When asked to pull outside on sweeps and downfield blocks he looks like a tight end because of his speed and athleticism.

Kalil’s technique is textbook in all areas. In pass protection he opens out of his stance smoothly, patiently allowing the defender come to him and does an exceptional job of squaring up and sliding defenders right out of the pocket. He shows good usage of his hands, keeping them active and delivering quick compact punches throughout contact. He struggles some with mirroring smaller quicker defenders. Against Cal’s Mychal Kendricks in ’11, Kalil was exposed a bit in being able to dip his leverage to engage smaller rushers and had some trouble redirecting against his counter moves. Against power rushers, Kalil does a good job of recognizing and setting up his base to absorb the contact and counter it back by chopping forward and exploding through his hips. He executes remarkably well and shows excellent awareness on the field, with his head always on a swivel.

Suffered sprained knee during redshirt season in ’09

Won Pac 12’s Morris Trophy (top offensive lineman)
First team All American in 2011

Did not  allow a sack in 2011
Team finished top 25 in rushing in ’10

Kalil is a an exceptional athlete but is not quite at the level of a Walter Jones or a Orlando Pace in terms of raw athleticism. What stands out the most is his “feel” for the game and his preparation which is apparent in his awareness and anticipation on the field. He has prototypical size for the position with a long frame that still stands to carry more bulk and strength. For Kalil, this added weight will be necessary for him to match up against some of the leagues top defensive linemen as he is not overwhelmingly powerful throughout his base. Still, few tackles in the NFL are as fluid an athlete as Kalil and he should be able to dominate most of his competition at the next level. His polish in his footwork is impressive and even though his agility isn’t elite, he makes up for it with an explosive first step and powerful hand punch to neutralize quicker defenders. His ability to mirror defenders and slide is a testament to the work he’s put in with his footwork to maximize his light feet. He’s a smart player who understands all blitz packages thrown at him and always seems a step ahead of everything the defense is trying to do. He routinely keeps his head on a swivel and does an excellent job of deciphering when and where he can help on co-op blocks and when to retreat from the co-op to pick up late pass rushers. In the run game, he has ideal length and explosiveness through his hips to engulf defensive linemen, riding them right out of their gaps. He can quickly square up and establish position to turn the defenders shoulders to eliminate them from making a play. When he gets to the second level he is only “good” at engaging as he lacks elite mobility to consistently breakdown and pick up safeties and linebackers flying downfield in pursuit. He can overextend in this area of the field and slip off blocks. In the NFL, Kalil may also have some trouble with guys like Elvis Dumervil who make their living as pass rushers with their quickness and agility. Tackles at his length are just not going to be able to consistently run stride for stride with smaller defenders. The biggest area of focus for now is adding weight to his frame. He should be able to add 15 pounds without losing much, if any, mobility. He comes from an excellent gene pool and comes with a great football IQ. Overall, Kalil will be a perennial Pro Bowl left tackle for the next 10 years and should make an instant impact on the NFL from day one.


Dane Brugler

A two-year starter, Matt Kalil was a five-star OT recruit out of HS, choosing USC over Arizona,Colorado and Miami (FL). After redshirting in 2008, he served as the back-up RT in 2009 as a RS freshman (12 gp/1 st). With the departure of Charles Brown, Kalil took over the starting LT duties in 2010 as a sophomore (13 gp/13 st). He started every game in 2011 as a junior (12 gp/12 st), earning First Team All-Pac 12 and All-American honors. Kalil decided to skip his senior season and turn pro.


Kalil has an ideal frame and wide stance with above average measureables – big hands and long arms. He is a flexible athlete with impressive foot speed and range to cover a lot of ground – smooth movement skills with very good lateral quickness. Kalil has very good body control and coordination, walling off run lanes with very good body positioning. He has very good awareness, excellent vision and overall feel for his surroundings – comfortable and patience in space. Kalil fires off the snap and effortlessly transitions into his kickslide, squaring his shoulders. He extends his arms to jolts rushers with a strong, aggressive punch at the POA to knock defenders off balance, rarely letting rushers into his frame – sticks to defenders and rarely overextends himself. Kalil is stout when he sinks his butt and plays with leverage. He is a natural puller and does a nice job blocking on the move, easily getting to the second level to erase LBs in the run game – can totally eliminate and redirect rushers from the play. Kalil plays with an aggressive competitiveness and intensity, finishing blocks and working through the whistle – flashes determined passion and a nasty attitude. He is smart and coachable, showing steady improvement each season. Kalil is also effective on special teams, blocking FGs and extra points – 5 blocks over his USC career, including 4 in 2011. He has top-shelf bloodlines and is the younger brother of former Trojan and current Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil.


Kalil has a narrow frame and needs to continue to get stronger in his lower body – lacks the base power to consistently anchor. He tends to get upright off the snap, relying on his upper body strength – inconsistent leverage. Kalil plays wild at times and needs to play more under control and disciplined. He will also play to the level of his opponents at times and get lackadaisical with his footwork and fundamentals. Kalil needs to contain his aggression and reduce the poor personal foul penalties – has some maturing to do. He has only two years experience as a starter and is still developing. Kalil has some durability concerns after a knee injury in 2008 and shoulder stinger this past season.


Kalil is a coordinated athlete with an ideal frame and quick movement skills, boasting impressive bloodlines as both his father and brother have experience in the NFL as offensive linemen – Kalil is the reason 2011 first round pick Tyron Smith (9th overall to DAL) played RT and not LT at USC. There is a lot to love about his intensity, but he needs to stay disciplined and play smart. He is better in pass protection than run blocking at this point in his development – needs to get stronger in his upper and lower body without losing agility. Kalil has an elite blend of size and athleticism with the foot speed and length to mirror, seal the edge and keep the pocket clean – a franchise left tackle with pro bowl potential and an extremely high NFL ceiling in the Joe Thomas mold.

Josh Norris

Keeps shoulders squared when drop stepping, turns to cut off angle. Outstanding agility, not sure he’ll ever get beat to the spot outright. Extremely mature in his use of length, uses it to absorb, jolt, and control. He determines where the rusher goes instead of being the one reacting. Lone weakness seems to stem from lack of strength, latches on but can’t sustain the grip against powerful DL. Already improved? Solid cut blocks, drives through the legs and anticipates movement. Takes inside rusher in blitzing situations. Great footwork when pulling, can hit any target coupled with sound anticipation and reaction quickness.Biggest pass protection issue may be rusher that start on the outside then work in. Rarely needed to sit back and bend at the knees to recover. Awareness to take inside rushers on 3-step drops. If pass rusher gets too deep, uses momentum against him to push by. First drops steps may be too deep, fixable to prevent inside rushers. Active hands until he gets proper placement, hands have strength, forceful. Occasionally doesn’t sustain contact after first hit when pulling. Really understands when DL is off balance, throws them down. Could do better to stay blocker a single shoulder than allow them to weave, adjust. Keeps DLs shoulders from getting parallel. Needs to quit punch vs inside rusher, use arm bar to slow momentum. May not get a ton of upfield momentum when run blocking but consistently wins 1on1 situations.



What’s not to love with this pick? Spielman created a trade market and got Cleveland to bite. Vikings only moved down one pick and still got the guy they’ve wanted all along. Kalil allows Vikings to slide Charlie Johnson inside and actually fill two holes with one pick. Getting an extra 4th, 5th and 7th round pick also gave Spielman ammo to navigate himself through the rest of the draft. Great work by Rick Spielman.

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One Response to “OT Matt Kalil: Scouting Report”

  1. […] If you missed it a couple months back, here is a Matt Kalil scouting report […]

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