Could trade-down still provide LT for Vikings

The Vikings could be left without Matt Kalil still on the board at No. 3. Could they trade down and still find an immediate starter at left tackle? Mike Mayock talked about the other first- and second-round possibilities at the valuable left tackle position.

Tis the season of offseason speculation, and much of the predraft talk with the picks at No. 2 and 3 revolve around a trade: Will any team be willing to move up to select Robert Griffin III, the intriguing quarterback from Baylor?

The most logical spot for drafting Griffin is No. 2, the slot currently held by the St. Louis Rams. But what if the Rams stay there and draft receiver Justin Blackmon or left tackle Matt Kalil? Those are the two choices that are "logical" for the Rams, according to NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock.

"Kalil is a wonderfully gifted left tackle. He's got great feet, long arms. He fits the bill for the athleticism you look for in an all-pro left tackle. What he doesn't have yet is the core strength that you're going to look for that he'll have two or three years from now," Mayock said. "Every once in a while he gets bull-rushed. Every once in a while at the point of attack he's going to struggle, but he does what the NFL demands from their left tackles, which is he ultimately will be an exceptional pass protector."

Kalil also appears to be the most logical choice for the Minnesota Vikings at No. 3. But if the Rams stay put and draft Kalil and Minnesota isn't convinced enough on Blackmon, the big-bodied Oklahoma State receiver, they could receive a trade offer they can't refuse from a team like the Redskins or Dolphins to move ahead of the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 and select Griffin.

The Redskins would have to give up their No. 6 pick and likely at least a second-round pick in order to move up three spots, according to the draft value chart. The Dolphins would have to surrender their No. 9 pick and possibly two second-round picks to move up six slots and draft Griffin. But, as teams continued to reinforce in last year's draft, if they believe in a quarterback, they are willing to sacrifice to get him.

Where would that leave the Vikings with their first-round pick? If they are set on a left tackle, they might still surprise and decide on Iowa's Riley Reiff as a top-10 selection.

"I don't think Riley Reiff should be a top-10 pick, but I think he might be when it's all said and done. He's a really good, solid technician," Mayock said. "When they come out of Iowa, they're always well-coached, especially the offensive linemen. You can plug him in Day One. I think he's a better player right now than (former Iowa tackle Bryan) Bulaga was when he came out, and Bulaga started right away in Green Bay at right tackle. To me, his talent would dictate that he should be drafted somewhere, plus or minus 20. But because of the value of the position and because of where we are in this draft, it wouldn't surprise me if he was a top-10 pick."

Mayock initially had Reiff as his top tackle, but after having a chance to watch more tape, he is convinced that Kalil is the better choice with a higher upside.

Later in the first round – perhaps using an acquired second-round pick to move up – or maybe even with their early second-round pick, there could other options for the Vikings at left tackle. Stanford's Jonathan Martin is considered a late first-round prospect, and Ohio State's Mike Adams could be a second-round option.

"I think Martin and Adams are the two logical ones (later in the first round)," Mayock said. "… Jonathan Martin, to me, is a prototypical left tackle – gifted athletically, needs to get a little bit stronger. A lot of things I said about Kalil you could say about him. Needs to get a little bit stronger, but will protect the quarterback. Mike Adams has had some off-the-field issues. I spoke with his offensive line coach the other day. He really helped himself at the Senior Bowl. I think he will continue to help himself at the combine. Most people had second-round grades on him, but he's moving up."

As things stand now, the Rams are in the catbird seat. If the Rams trade their No. 2 pick to a quarterback-needy team, Kalil will likely be there at No. 3 and quickly taken by the Vikings. If not, the Vikings will be rife with options, and trading down and still finding a left tackle in the first or second round could still be one of those options.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"Tis the season of offseason speculation, and much of the predraft talk with the picks at No. 2 and 3 revolve around a trade: Will any team be willing to move up to select Robert Griffin III, the intriguing quarterback from Baylor?

The most logical spot for drafting Griffin is No. 2, the slot currently held by the St. Louis Rams. But what if the Rams stay there and draft receiver Justin Blackmon or left tackle Matt Kalil? Those are the two choices that are \"logical\" for the Rams, according to NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock.

\"Kalil is a wonderfully gifted left tackle. He's got great feet, long arms. He fits the bill for the athleticism you look for in an all-pro left tackle. What he doesn't have yet is the core strength that you're going to look for that he'll have two or three years from now,\" Mayock said. \"Every once in a while he gets bull-rushed. Every once in a while at the point of attack he's going to struggle, but he does what the NFL demands from their left tackles, which is he ultimately will be an exceptional pass protector.\"

Kalil also appears to be the most logical choice for the Minnesota Vikings at No. 3. But if the Rams stay put and draft Kalil and Minnesota isn't convinced enough on Blackmon, the big-bodied Oklahoma State receiver, they could receive a trade offer they can't refuse from a team like the Redskins or Dolphins to move ahead of the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 and select Griffin.

The Redskins would have to give up their No. 6 pick and likely at least a second-round pick in order to move up three spots, according to the draft value chart. The Dolphins would have to surrender their No. 9 pick and possibly two second-round picks to move up six slots and draft Griffin. But, as teams continued to reinforce in last year's draft, if they believe in a quarterback, they are willing to sacrifice to get him.

Where would that leave the Vikings with their first-round pick? If they are set on a left tackle, they might still surprise and decide on Iowa's Riley Reiff as a top-10 selection.

\"I don't think Riley Reiff should be a top-10 pick, but I think he might be when it's all said and done. He's a really good, solid technician,\" Mayock said. \"When they come out of Iowa, they're always well-coached, especially the offensive linemen. You can plug him in Day One. I think he's a better player right now than (former Iowa tackle Bryan) Bulaga was when he came out, and Bulaga started right away in Green Bay at right tackle. To me, his talent would dictate that he should be drafted somewhere, plus or minus 20. But because of the value of the position and because of where we are in this draft, it wouldn't surprise me if he was a top-10 pick.\"

Mayock initially had Reiff as his top tackle, but after having a chance to watch more tape, he is convinced that Kalil is the better choice with a higher upside.

Later in the first round – perhaps using an acquired second-round pick to move up – or maybe even with their early second-round pick, there could other options for the Vikings at left tackle. Stanford's Jonathan Martin is considered a late first-round prospect, and Ohio State's Mike Adams could be a second-round option.

\"I think Martin and Adams are the two logical ones (later in the first round),\" Mayock said. \"… Jonathan Martin, to me, is a prototypical left tackle – gifted athletically, needs to get a little bit stronger. A lot of things I said about Kalil you could say about him. Needs to get a little bit stronger, but will protect the quarterback. Mike Adams has had some off-the-field issues. I spoke with his offensive line coach the other day. He really helped himself at the Senior Bowl. I think he will continue to help himself at the combine. Most people had second-round grades on him, but he's moving up.\"

As things stand now, the Rams are in the catbird seat. If the Rams trade their No. 2 pick to a quarterback-needy team, Kalil will likely be there at No. 3 and quickly taken by the Vikings. If not, the Vikings will be rife with options, and trading down and still finding a left tackle in the first or second round could still be one of those options.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.


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