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

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IApril 27, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Matt Kalil from USC holds up a jersey as he stands on stage after he was selected #4 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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, 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.

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 22: Curtis McNeal #22 of the University of Southern California Trojans is hit by Harrison Smith #22 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USC defeated Notre Dame 31-17.
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.