Virtually every mock draft that has been published has the Colts taking Andrew Luck first, the Redskins taking Robert Griffin III second, and the Vikings taking Matt Kalil third. But with eight days to go before the draft, Kalil’s status as the third player off the board doesn’t appear to be a sure thing.
There’s increasing talk around the NFL that Kalil, the USC left tackle who is universally regarded as the top offensive lineman in the draft, will still be available after the Vikings make their pick. And with that in mind, the Browns, who pick fourth, are sending a contingent to conduct a private workout with Kalil.
Nearly every projection has had the Browns picking among Alabama running back Trent Richardson, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne or Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, with Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill a possible wild card. But if Kalil gets past the Vikings, he’s someone the Browns would have to consider — even though left tackle is not a need for the Browns, who have Joe Thomas at the position.
So if the Vikings pass on Kalil, who would they take? ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Vikings like the idea of acquiring Blackmon as a weapon for quarterback Christian Ponder, and they also like the idea of acquiring Claiborne with the knowledge that they’re going to need a cornerback who can cover Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, Green Bay’s Greg Jennings and Chicago’s Brandon Marshall twice a season each.
Or maybe the Vikings really have already settled on Kalil, and everything else is just smoke. At this point in the draft process, there’s more smoke than fire.