24 April 2012

Are the Vikings really considering Morris Claiborne over Matt Kalil with the 3rd pick? UPDATE

Vikings GM Rick Spielman 
The first real decision of the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday night comes with the third pick and the Minnesota Vikings because we all know who is going one and two to the Colts and Redskins, respectively. Although the selection is, in my opinion, an obvious one and it is one that I have not changed since it became clear that Robert Griffin III would go second and that would be left tackle Matt Kalil. It appears that there is a real consideration to take cornerback Morris Claiborne with that selection. Here's my take.

The Vikings have to take Kalil. It really is not that much of a question. Yes, the Vikings' secondary is really bad and they could really use a guy like Claiborne, who is the consensus top corner in the draft (although respected NFL Films producer Greg Cosell thinks otherwise). But when you have a young quarterback that you chose in the first round last year in Christian Ponder, you need to put him in a position to succeed and you start by protecting him. Left tackle Charlie Johnson was absolutely awful last season and was a key reason why the Vikings' line was just brutal last season. A left tackle is more important than a corner, there is a reason why corners have not gone in the top three since 1998, and when you face pass rushers like Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews and Cliff Avril twice a year, you need a strong pass blocker protecting the blindside of your quarterback. Plus Kalil is overall the better prospect.

All this interest in Claiborne by the Vikings could be a smokescreen to try to get someone to trade up to three for him because it really does not make sense to take Kalil over Claiborne. The Vikings have been trying to gauge interest in teams looking to trade up to three so they can move down and collect more picks as any team would be it is right now looking like they will be the one selecting with the third overall pick. Like I said, Claiborne does fill a need but Kalil fills a greater need and is the better overall prospect. Minnesota has to take Kalil, it would be a mistake otherwise.

UPDATE: Apparently trade talk is heating up.

And Albert Breer reports that one exec is not buying the Vikings' interest in Claiborne.

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