NFL Draft 2012: Mel Kiper Talks Matt Kalil and the #3 Pick

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr hosted a reporters' conference call on Friday and talked a little bit about the emerging rumors that say USC's Matt Kalil may not go to the Minnesota Vikings with the #3 overall pick, something that's been somewhat a given the past few weeks.

Said Kiper:

That's something that's been discussed a lot because of Minnesota, seeming like now they're kind of, I wouldn't say lukewarm, but maybe going a different direction other than Matt Kalil, who they do need. Minnesota needs a left tackle but they have a need at wide receiver, they have a big need at corner. They have nobody at corner, and they're in a division with Stafford, Cutler and Rodgers. So you'd better have some corners. They don't have any beyond the guys that they're penciling in as starters and there's some iffy situations there.

So I would say Morris Claiborne could jump in there. There's been talk about them trading down. But if Kalil is there, you've got Joe Thomas. You've got one of the best left tackles in the game. You could say, well, plenty of right tackles and other issues, you could move somebody over there, fine, but this team needs skill players.

It would be great to say you could bring Matt Kalil in, but are you going to pass up a running back like Richardson, are you going to pass up a wide receiver like Blackmon? They passed up Julio Jones last year at seven, let Atlanta come and get him. The worst skill position talent in the NFL is at Cleveland, and I'm not touting the quarterback because the quarterback had no chance, didn't have a fighting chance with the talent around him.

So I can't see that. Again, you're woefully lacking. You can't make the argument that Kalil is in the stratosphere of tackles because he's not. You can't say, well, they take the best player. I would argue I think Kalil, Claiborne, Blackmon and Richardson all bunched together, and you just take the one you feel you need the most.
Another offensive lineman brought into the mix playing a position he didn't play, I would not go that route, no. It's nice to do all your due diligence, but I would go rather the skill position player or else you're going to be spinning your wheels again, I think.

Some believe the Vikings would be better off taking Morris Claiborne to combat the strong-armed and dangerous quarterbacks in Minnesota's division - Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew Stafford. Even so, it seems like a major stretch that the Vikings would pass on such a sure-fire prospect like Kalil, a guy that will be protecting the blindside of the team's first round pick last year, Christian Ponder.

We shall see - the NFL Draft kicks off next Thursday, six short days away.

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