The first report coming out of Los Angeles was that stud offensive tackle Matt Kalil would be staying at USC for his senior year. Now, to the chagrin of his fans, he has confirmed that he will forgo that year and declare for the 2012 NFL draft.
This may leave the Trojans in a bit of a pickle next season, but it was the only legitimate choice for him to make.
Here are three reasons why.
Offensive linemen are some of the most injury-prone players in the game. Their knees take constant abuse, and it seems as though every game one of them has another person fall or step on them.
When you’re a consensus top-five pick in the NFL draft as an offensive tackle, you absolutely need to go. Once you get stuck with the “injury-prone” tag, your stock is as good as gone.
People often talk about “first-round money,” but there is a significant pay raise between the top and bottom of the first round. As the top left tackle, Kalil will be making some serious cash in the NFL.
The value of a quarterback has risen dramatically, and with it so has the value of an offensive tackle. Two years ago, fourth overall pick Trent Williams was signed by the Washington Redskins for six years and $60 million. Even if Kalil were to stay healthy for his entire senior season, he would have lost at least $7.5 million.
Kalil is on record as saying that he will likely follow his quarterback Matt Barkley’s decision whether to head to the NFL or not. With him declaring, it would seem imminent that Barkley will be gone as well, and with him goes the team’s national title shot.
USC has done a fantastic job at reloading at left tackle, but the team needs an experienced quarterback in order to effectively run Lane Kiffin’s offense. The next quarterback will likely be a sophomore, and that simply won’t cut it against at the national level.