Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kalil the Choice

The Minnesota Vikings continue to signal an interest in drafting LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne rather than USC left tackle Matt Kalil.  Assuming that even a scintilla of this message represents the Vikings' actual interest, now is the time to put to rest such a notion.

While Claiborne appears to be capable of immediately stepping into a starter's role in the NFL, so, too, does Kalil.  Either, too, would fill a glaring need for the Vikings at a position at which finding star players is often a challenge.

That, however, is where the meaningful comparisons end.  For, as much as Claiborne meets the prerequisites of a first-round pick, he has one notable short-coming when compared to Kalil.  That short-coming has little to do with Claiborne and far more to do with the position that he plays.

Even if the Vikings were willing to invest star dollars on Claiborne--a dangerous proposition for all but the most elite cornerbacks--the most substantial drawback to selecting Claiborne over Kalil is that Claiborne plays a position that requires nearly full health, whereas Kalil plays a position that is the most forgiving in any sport where injuries are concerned;  offensive linemen routinely play with borderline serious injuries--cornerbacks rarely play with far less serious maladies.

There is also the matter of expected playing career longevity.  Assuming both Claiborne and Kalil meet league averages for career longevity for players of their caliber, Kalil can expect to play until he is in his mid to late 30s.  As a cornerback, Claiborne can expect five fewer years of effective production.  While it is true that the Vikings would pay for either player's extended service, having someone in the system for a longer period of time and continuing to perform is preferable to having someone for a shorter period of time and waning in performance.

The Vikings' secondary mostly has been bad for several years running.  The Vikings claim that that's strictly the result of talent on the field.  Being consistently bad with new faces and with players that showed at least competence at other stops more than suggests that talent is not the only, and possibly not the most significant, suggests a far greater problem with the Vikings' secondary, however.  Adding a star cornerback might improve the situation and it might not.  Adding Kalil, however, almost certainly will improve the offensive line with the trickle-down effect on the running and passing games and, consequently, on the defense.

A savvy GM might make an astute move where the Vikings currently stand, trading down to a position that still ensures that the Vikings get a quality offensive lineman and are able to add even more high-end talent.  It is not at all clear that Vikings' GM Rick Spielman falls in this category, however--yet another reason for the Vikings to make the most certain move by staying put and taking Kalil.

Up Next:  Who We Got.

1 comment:

joseph burrell said...

I think that Kalil was the right and wise choice and according to a pay per head article on this issue, they had to go for it for sure