Vikings Could Mess This Up For Everyone
March 20, 2012 at 09:32am by Scott • 8 Comments »
Most mock drafts have it as a given that the Bucs will select Morris Claiborne (LSU) with their first pick and then sit back and puff cigars and feel all happy with themselves that they got some good quality at cornerback that won’t punch anyone at the rookie symposium. This is because those mocks have the Vikings taking Matt Kalil (Southern Cal) at #3 and the Browns selecting a handful of magic beans at #4. But according to this article, Vikings GM Rick Spielman is leaning more toward Claiborne than Kalil.
After listening to the Spielman spiel, this much appears certain: If he keeps the third pick and passes on Kalil, Spielman will draft LSU cornerback Mo Claiborne. He raved more about Claiborne than Kalil.
With each passing day, the argument builds that Spielman prefers Claiborne over Kalil. For one thing, the Vikings haven’t pursued a cornerback in free agency. For another, they have expressed interest in offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, who is nothing special and missed all of last season after hip surgery. Presumably, he fits the type of lineman Spielman thinks you can win with in the NFL.
Before you start all that Florio bullshit about how you can’t believe anyone at draft time, keep in mind that since the Colts and Redskins already know who they’re picking, the Vikings hold the first negotiable pick in the draft. They have no reason to lie or be coy in any way since no one can jump ahead of them to select the player they truly want. I guess by the same logic they also have no reason to just go and blurt out who they want either, but I don’t see any reason to play spy games here.
If the Vikings hold the pick and select Claiborne, I’m going to go ahead and say the Browns take either Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M), which is ridiculous at this slot, or Trent Richardson (Alabama), a much wiser pick. The Bucs could draft Kalil and put him in at right tackle in place of Jeremy Trueblood, who got flagged for a false start pulling out of his driveway. Assuming Kalil lives up to expectations, that’s a hell of an offensive line.
If they don’t do that, do they select Justin Blackmon (OK State) even though they just signed Vincent Jackson? Probably not. You don’t pick a wide receiver #5 to make him a #2 option, and Jackson isn’t going anywhere for at least a couple years. Ideally, you’d love to have all that talent available to Josh Freeman, but after half a season of someone not getting the ball enough, one of them is going to have a hissy fit at practice or in front of the media or something. That’s just the way most wide receivers are wired and I don’t think Jackson or Blackmon are exceptions.
If the Browns actually do select Richardson and leave Tannehill on the board, the Bucs will be in a good spot to move down a few slots and let one of the remaining teams desperate for a quarterback make an offer. Even moving down to #7 so some team can jump ahead of the Dolphins and select Tannehill, that is a better place to take someone like DT Fletcher Cox (MS State), who in my opinion is the best DT in the draft this year. It would take some real balls to take yet another defensive lineman this high in the draft, but Gerald McCoy and Brian Price haven’t become the dominating force inside that everyone thought they would, mostly because of injuries. And I honestly like Cox better at this point in his career than I did McCoy a couple years ago. Of course it’s too soon to call it quits on McCoy and Price, but you can never have enough good pass rushers, especially in the NFC South. This would be a tough pick for fans to swallow because of all the high picks spent on the defensive line over the past couple years. But pocketing an extra pick — say, a third or fourth-rounder to make up for the lost fourth-rounder they gave up to get Luke Stocker — would make it go down easier for them.
In the end, it makes too much sense for the Vikings to take Kalil. I’m pretty sure that’s what will happen. But here are a few five-team mocks to consider:
1) Luck-RGIII-Kalil-Tannehill: Best possible scenario for Bucs. Claiborne or Richardson.
2) Luck-RGIII-Kalil-Richardson: Claiborne slam dunk.
3) Luck-RGIII-Claiborne-Tannehill: Richardson, Kalil or Blackmon, in that order of possibility.
4) Luck-RGIII-Claiborne-Richardson: Worse possible scenario for Bucs. Kalil, Blackmon or trade down.
Your thoughts in the comments.