2012 NFL Mock Draft: The Minnesota Vikings Select...

With the third pick in the 2012 CSC Community Mock Draft, the Minnesota Vikiings (represented by the contributor formerly known as HansDat) select...

Matt Kalil, OT, USC

The Vikings took very little time off the clock before making their choice, even though they spent much of the last month trying to convince the world that they were going to choose CB Morris Claiborne from LSU in an attempt to bait some team (Tampa Bay) into giving them some picks to ensure they get Claiborne. It didn't work, but the Vikings are very happy with getting the man they say they really wanted all along.

Make the jump for more...

This choice was a real no-brainer for the Vikes, and here's why. They chose Florida State's injury-prone Christian Ponder as their franchise quarterback with the 12th pick in last year's draft (even though I implored them to go OT in my 2011 CSC Community Mock Draft pick for them in the first round).

After watching the offensive line give up 49 sacks in 2011 (tied for 5th-most in the league) as Ponder suffered a concussion, a hip pointer injury, and had his non-throwing hand stepped on in the 11 games in which he appeared (source), the Minnesota brain trust absolutely has to get him better protection if they expect him to have any chance of success for the purple and gold.

First, his measurables (courtesy nfl.com):

Height: 6' - 7" Weight: 306 lbs

Arm Length: 34 1/2" Hand Size: 10 3/8"

...and his Combine Performance Stats:

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.65 seconds
3 Cone Drill: 7.33 seconds
40 Yard Dash: 4.96 seconds
Bench Press: 30.0 reps
Vertical Jump: 27.0"

* * *

Kalil is the consensus top tackle in the draft, and the words "franchise left tackle" have been used frequently in reference to him, here by walterfootball.com (source)...

Entering the NFL, Kalil is a dynamite pass blocker who projects to being a franchise left tackle for a decade. It is a passing driven league, and he is in high demand.

And here's more about him from walterfootball.com, from March 13:

Kalil had an excellent showing at the Combine, and the talk of him falling behind Riley Reiff was silenced. In Indianapolis, Kalil showed off natural athleticism and quickness. He followed that up with a good pro day. Kalil has added 10 pounds of muscle since the end of the season and that power should help him improve his run blocking.

In the rushing attack, Kalil had some spotty play at times in the second half of the season. The added weight should help him to be able to blast linemen off the ball in the ground game. Kalil was a decent run blocker at the college level, but for the next level, he still has room for improvement. Kalil's bread and butter is his elite pass protection. Throughout the 2011 season, he was a superb blind side protector for quarterback Matt Barkley. Kalil didn't draw many top-shelf pass rushers, but the junior shutdown everybody he went against.

NFL.com's player profile page offers this overview:

Kalil is the undisputed top tackle prospect in this year's draft after two successful years starting on the left side for USC. He is an early-entry junior who redshirted his first year at USC and has been a reliable blind side protector for Matt Barkley. He has all the physical tools to achieve success at the next level and has continued to develop his game technically throughout his career. Kalil has an NFL pedigree, as his dad was a former semi-professional player and his older brother, Ryan, is a consistent Pro Bowl center for the Carolina Panthers. Matt should be the first lineman off the board and could easily be a top-five pick come April to immediately hold down the starting left tackle position for an NFL team.

this description of his strengths...

Kalil is tall and has an impressive frame that he carries well. He is equally thick and strong from his upper body down through his thighs, and he has thin calves and ankles that lend well to him being a light-footed mover. He explodes off the ball every snap and gets to his destination point with ease. In the run game, he can provide a punishing first blow to keep his man off balance, and is very comfortable getting to the second level to fit on backers. He has a very technically sound kick step in pass protection and slides very smoothly. He is NFL-ready in terms of using his hands and has the ability to de-cleat defensive ends.

...and his weaknesses:

There are some concerns surrounding Kalil's ability to anchor and stall bull rushers, given his tendency to play upright. There were few examples of his anchor actually being an issue in college, but the limited level of knee bend he plays with could stand to be a concern. He rarely snaps his hips through when blocking in the run game and is more of a mirror/positional blocker. He could have to work on his knee bend and flexibility to take on the more explosive ends in the NFL.

So, I submit to you...what's not to like about Kalil joining the Minnesota Vikings? And don't tell me they need a playmaking cornerback more than they need a franchise offensive tackle (that logic will get you nowhere with me). I missed on their pick last year, and I absolutely must get this right, or the fate of the world is in grave danger...and if it doesn't go down like this, I'll just keep picking tackles from USC for the Vikes for the next 10 years until I hit on it.

Thanks to all the CSC members who participated in this years community mock draft. Without your help, none of this would be possible.

Below are the complete results from our community mock draft.

Catch up with all of the mock draft selections in our 2012 CSC Community Mock Draft Section.

Pick Team Selection Team Representative Approval Rating
1 Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck - Stanford Legatron Morstead 77%
2 Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III - Baylor VAsaintsfan
3 Minnesota Vikings OT Matt Kalil- USC Hans Petersen
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