Vikings Draft Picks 2012: Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith Perfect 1st Round Picks

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Vikings Draft Picks 2012: Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith Perfect 1st Round Picks
Al Bello/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman executed a perfect first round by drafting both Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.

It's not just the players that make his picks so successful, either. It's how he arrived at those picks.

Via AOL.SportingNews.com, Spielman traded down from the No. 3 overall pick to the No. 4 pick with the Cleveland Browns, collecting three additional picks in the process: a fourth-round pick (118), a fifth-round pick (139) and a seventh-round pick (211). 

Then, he nabbed the best offensive tackle in the draft: Kalil.

While there are certainly good arguments for taking Morris Claiborne or Justin Blackmon, in the end the only pick that made any sense was to select the man who could protect Christian Ponder.

Kalil isn't just a pass-protector, either. He is a nasty run-blocker who moves well in space and is excellent at locating and then planting defenders into the turf. 

That's excellent news for Adrian Peterson and the running game.

Spielman wasn't finished making savvy moves in the first round, though.

Per ProFootballTalk, he moved back up into the first round and only had to give up one pick to do it—trading his second-round pick (35) and his fourth-round pick (98) to move up six spots and land Smith.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Smith is an underrated player who will significantly upgrade a porous Vikings secondary. 

He is big for a safety, at 6'2" and 213 pounds, but Smith is extremely athletic and can cover a ton of ground as a strong safety. 

Smith is also a punishing run-defender who will wrap up and drag defenders down, rather than try and knock them out. 

All in all, the Vikings had one of the best showings of any team in the first round, and if I were a fan, I'd be shouting for joy.

The team isn't finished upgrading the roster, by any stretch of the imagination, but taking Kalil and Smith in the first round is a fantastic start.

 

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