By: Justin Pawlowski
Early on in this draft process, it was assumed by many that the Vikings would want to revamp their terrible offensive line and protect Christian Ponder. All signs had pointed to the Vikings selecting USC OT Matt Kalil with the 3rd overall selection, until now.
According to Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press, the Vikings might be looking to bolster their defense before protecting their quarterback.
If he keeps the third pick and passes on Kalil, Spielman will draft LSU cornerback Mo Claiborne. He raved more about Claiborne than Kalil.
With each passing day, the argument builds that Spielman prefers Claiborne over Kalil.
The Vikings have yet to make many moves in free agency this off-season. With the release of Cedric Griffin, uncertainty with Chris Cook, the age of Antoine Winfield, and their reluctancy to sign another corner, it might be becoming more apparent that the Vikings are intent to take a cornerback very early in April’s draft.
The team this would effect the most is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs sit with the 5th pick. While many consider the Browns as the “wildcard” team that could determine the Buccaneers pick, if the Vikings select Morris Claiborne and the Browns select Trent Richardson, the Buccaneers would be left with an interesting scenario.
The Buccaneers have already invested a lot of money into recent signings along their offensive line that include OT Donald Penn (6-years $41.7m), OG Carl Nicks (5-years $47.5m), OC Jeremy Zuttah (4-years $16.3m), and OG Davin Joseph (7-years $52.5m). Would the Buccaneers invest even more into their offensive line by drafting USC OT Matt Kalil?
Kalil is the premier offensive tackle in this draft. The addition of Kalil might ultimately move Donald Penn, who has had some problems in dealing with his weight, to right tackle, and ultimately end up with Jeremy Trueblood playing elsewhere after his contract runs up after the 2012 season. The Buccaneers offensive line would be set for years, but would the fans be excited over a move like this?
One name to remember as we near draft day is Boston College MLB Luke Kuechly. The Buccaneers have met with Kuechly, and with the Buccaneers reluctance to sign a linebacker in free agency so far, it could be possible that the Bucs might be eyeing one or two linebackers in this upcoming draft. The 5th pick might be a tad high for Kuechly, so the Buccaneers might attempt to trade down from the 5th pick, and possibly still end up with Kuechly.
Just when we start to think we have the top of the draft, one team, the Vikings, throws a wrench that shakes up the entire draft.
Oh, and to make things a bit more confusing, this could also be a smokescreen! Welcome to Draft Season!