We are already less than a week away from the NFL draft, which is set for next Thursday at 7 p.m. CT. As of now, and if everything goes according to plan, the Indianapolis Colts will select Andrew Luck No. 1, and Washington Redskins will select Robert Griffin III or RG3 No. 2, so that puts the Minnesota Vikings on the clock right now.
The Vikings have so many holes to fill, like offensive line, wide receiver and secondary. Lucky for the Vikings, all three of those holes could be filled with the third pick with Matt Kalil, who is the younger brother of Ryan Kalil—a Pro Bowler for the Carolina Panthers. Right now, Kalil is projected to be picked by the Vikings. Yet ESPN insider Adam Schefter has said Kalil is not a lock for the Vikings at No. 3.
Kalil will fill that blind side for the next decade, and will protect Christian Ponder enough for him to develop into the quarterback the Vikings want him to become. Let's take a look at a couple other players who could be picked by the Vikings at No. 3.
Morris Claiborne is a small cornerback at 5'11'', yet could help beef up the secondary. What Claiborne lacks in size he makes up for with talent. He's a 2011 Jim Thorpe winner, unanimous All-American and First Team All SEC 2011. Claiborne is a fierce competitor, but could be become the next Patrick Peterson from last year's draft or become the next Pacman Jones.
The dark horse for the third selection is a guy I really like in Justin Blackmon. Blackmon has won back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards, which is awarded to the top college football wide receiver. Also, Blackmon was 2010-2011 All Big 12 first team.
Blackmon is fast with a 4.46 40-yard dash, yet experts aren't putting him in the Larry Fitzgerald echelon, because Fitzgerald was 6'3'' at the combine. But there is some parallel, as both Fitzgerald and Blackmon had a 35-inch vertical, and Fitz was .05 slower than Blackmon on the 40-yard dash.
With these stats it seems like Blackmon is like Fitz, but are the experts seeing something that I am missing, or is it all about his height? I guess we will see how his height plays out this upcoming year on the field.
With all this said and done, Kalil is the better pick. It might not be the sexiest pick, but if we want Ponder to grow into the franchise quarterback, then we will need to give him some protection. Blackmon might have the greatest upside, but he also could become a flop like Troy Williamson.
Claiborne would also be a great pick, too, but his size is called into question, and also he was not even LSUs best cornerback last year. While the Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu is arguably better, I believe Claiborne is still the best cornerback in this year's NFL draft.
Viking fans expect to see Kalil be drafted next week. No, we won't see Kalil run down the sideline catching a 60-yard pass from Ponder, or see him step in front of a Aaron Rodgers pass and return it back for a pick-six, but instead he will be the guy doing the dirty work in the trenches to make sure Ponder is upright on his two feet, and give Adrian Peterson a brick wall to run behind.