Cleveland Browns

Why OT Matt Kalil Will Not Be Drafted by the Cleveland Browns

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 29:  Matt Kalil #75 of the USC Trojans walks on the field after the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 38-3.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
Jeff Golden/Getty Images
Michael SuddsCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2012

USC’s offensive tackle Matt Kalil is the consensus third-best player overall in the 2012 NFL draft. Agreement is almost unanimous that he’s the most gifted blind-side blocker since Joe Thomas.

While the need for a talented right tackle for the Browns is acute, there’s no chance that Kalil falls to the Browns fourth selection.

Six days prior to the Colts hiring of Ryan Grigson as their new GM, owner Jim Irsay announced that Stanford QB Andrew Luck would be the first player taken in the draft. Grigson never had a chance to shop that top pick.

Vikings GM Rick Spielman saw an opportunity to fill the vacuum and announced that Minnesota’s third pick was on the block.

Less than a month later, the Rams hired Les Snead as the new GM. Snead’s furniture hadn’t been moved into his office before he proclaimed, “We’ll be happy to trade out of the number two pick.”

Snead’s preemptive trade offer precipitated the bidding war for QB Robert Griffin III. Spielman and the Vikings third pick became an afterthought until last week.

Spielman decided upon another gambit to procure additional draft picks by gushing over Morris Claiborne in an interview with St. Paul Pioneer columnist Bob Sansevere. There has been enough interest in the Vikings fan base to make a play for Claiborne seem quite credible.

Spielman’s remarks ignited a new round of speculation around the league as to what it would take to trade up for Minnesota’s third round pick. More importantly for Browns fans, the idea of Kalil falling into the Browns lap at fourth was intriguing for a couple of reasons.

First, if Kalil is available when the Browns make their selection, should they shop Kalil in a draft day trade? Or, should they rush to the podium with Kalil’s name on the card?

These interesting and entertaining questions become moot when we consider that Spielman remains desperate to trade out of the third spot.

However, there has been absolutely no buzz whatsoever from any quarter that any team will make a move for either Kalil or Claiborne. If there was any interest, it would be leaked by Spielman, the consummate carnival barker.

Nice try, Spielman, but your lust for additional draft picks seems to be falling on deaf ears. Every football fan on the planet sees the true value of Kalil over Claiborne as a Viking.

The health and development of that quasi-rookie QB Christian Ponder depends on Kalil guarding his blind side. For the next 10 years, to boot!

I suspect that Spielman will next attempt to drum up interest in that third pick by misinformation, another useful tool in a GM’s bag of tricks.

In any event, Browns fans can continue the speculation and debate over Richardson, Claiborne and Blackmon. Just ignore that carnival barker’s voice in the background shouting, “Step right up!”

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