School: USC Trojans
Position: Offensive Tackle
Measurements: 6’6 5/8″, 306 lbs.
Projection: Top 5 pick
In One Word: Prototype
Fantasy Value: N/A
Resembles: Jordan Gross, Joe Thomas
Mock Prediction: Vikings (3rd Overall)
Kalil appears to be about as safe a bet as there is in the 2012 NFL draft. With most NFL squads in need of a youthful upgrade along their offensive lines, Kalil is all but assured of beings selected in the top five. He appears to be a the type of offensive lineman that teams invest in and are rewarded with a decade or more of outstanding protection.
Being an NFL-caliber tackle is in Kalil’s blood. His brother, Ryan, is a current three-time Pro Bowl center for the Carolina Panthers. Their father, Frank was a guard drafted by the Buffalo Bills who would end up playing professionally in the USFL.
Along with his impressive bulk and measurements, Kalil has other redeeming qualities that will endear him to any NFL team. He’s shown great instincts and a high “football IQ”, and strong work-ethic. He was versatile enough to play both sides of the offensive line and is hugely competitive. He even beat out the 10th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Tyron Smith, for the starting left tackle spot while both were at USC in 2010.
But it’s on the grid-iron where Kalil was most impressive. His excellent footwork and strength allowed him to be a strong run-blocker and elite in pass-protection. He didn’t allow a single sack in 2011, despite the fact that USC continued to play elite-level competition.
Following 2011, Kalil was named to several All-American squads, was a semifinalist for the 2011 Lombardi Trophy and won the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12’s top offensive lineman. He should follow in the footsteps of former teammate Tyron Smith, and fellow USC alums Tony Boselli, Anthony Muñoz and Ron Yary as Trojan offensive lineman selected in the top 10 of the NFL Draft.
Our friends at The First Round Exchange agree that Matt Kalil will be drafted in the top five. Currently, his FRX Value Index places him solidly in third place, behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
The Minnesota Vikings would be wise to invest that number three pick on Kalil. Not only does it fill a huge need for the Vikes, it will allow them to protect last year’s first round pick, quarterback Christian Ponder.