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michael89156

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: April 22, 2012, 10:36:16 PM

Tampa Bay Bucs, strong on offensive line, might take tackle Matt Kalil if available

 By Stephen F. Holder, Times Staff Writer
 In Print: Monday, April 23, 2012




TAMPA When forecasting what the Bucs might do with their first pick in the NFL draft, many have debated a possible decision between two players Tampa Bay is known to covet: Alabama running back Trent Richardson and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.

Both play positions of need for Tampa Bay.

But something few have considered is the possibility of another elite prospect being among players the Bucs will seriously consider with the No. 5 overall pick: potential franchise left tackle Matt Kalil of USC.

There are strong suggestions in NFL circles suggesting that Kalil is not a lock with the Vikings' No. 3 pick, creating a scenario where he could wind up with the Bucs.

Insiders point to Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon and Claiborne as possibilities for the Vikings, and Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman on Thursday said that duo, along with Kalil, are ranked equally by the team.

It's not a ridiculous notion.

"Minnesota needs a left tackle, but they have a need at wide receiver, they have a big need at corner," ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said. "They have nobody at corner, and they're in a division with (quarterbacks Matt) Stafford, (Jay) Cutler and (Aaron) Rodgers, so you'd better have some corners."

"I would say Morris Claiborne could jump in there."

If the Vikings pass on Kalil, the Browns are likely to pass at No. 4 because they have elite left tackle Joe Thomas, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft.

Which leads to the Bucs at No. 5.

Yes, it's hypothetical. But don't think the Bucs haven't explored the possibility. It's possible they would take Kalil despite offensive line being a strength.

Why would Tampa Bay do this? There are multiple justifications.

For one, the franchise, from ownership on down, has consistently said that helping quarterback Josh Freeman succeed is the highest priority. There are few better ways to do that than to lock up what experts project to be a possible All-Pro left tackle in Kalil.

"Matt Kalil has a chance to be a top 5 tackle when it's all said and done," ESPN analyst Todd McShay said.

But what about the Bucs' current tackles, Donald Penn (left) and Jeremy Trueblood (right)? The team likes both players, but if the Bucs agree Kalil is elite, several factors would motivate them to select him.

Primarily, the issue is upside. Picking Kalil would not necessarily represent an indictment of Penn and Trueblood. It would, instead, be a forward-looking decision. Left tackle is one of the most difficult positions to fill because good ones rarely become available via free agency.

If the Bucs were able to solidify the position for years to come, that would have a positive long-term effect.

Penn, a 2010 Pro Bowl selection who turns 29 this week, has four years and more than $22 million remaining on his contract. But the guarantees in his deal have already been paid, meaning there are few financial consequences for his release. And Penn wasn't at his best in 2011, when he failed to keep his weight in check.

It's less likely Kalil would play right tackle because of his demonstrated ability at the more valuable left tackle position. But if the Bucs are open to that, Trueblood is in the final year of a two-year contract and the future of the position is uncertain.

There are positions of greater need for a team that finished 4-12 in 2011? But there might not be a pick of greater value than Kalil, depending on where the team has him ranked.

General manager Mark Dominik is keeping an open mind about all his picks.

"I don't want to pigeon-hole us," he said, "because that's not the way we're looking at our draft right now."

bradentonian

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#1 : April 22, 2012, 10:39:52 PM

We should count ourselves lucky if he drops to 5


XFactor

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#2 : April 22, 2012, 10:47:54 PM

Off the Kalil bandwagon. It's Claiborne/Richardson or bust for me at 5.


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#3 : April 22, 2012, 10:48:34 PM

He has worked the right side before, and something tells me he might beat out Trueblood, so its not like our 1st is going to ride pine until Penn turns to junk.


bradentonian

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#4 : April 22, 2012, 10:49:42 PM

If we draft Kalil he should be the starting LT from day one.


michael89156

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#5 : April 22, 2012, 10:50:29 PM

Leslie Frazier: Left tackles like Matt Kalil aren't 'game-changers'


 NFL.com
Published:  April 22, 2012 at 10:08 p.m.

 




The conventional wisdom that USC's Matt Kalil will go to the Minnesota Vikings with the No. 3 overall pick in this week's NFL draft could be losing traction after coach Leslie Frazier said left tackles aren't the "game-changers" that teams are expected to choose so early.


"You've got to really weigh your options," Frazier told The Star Tribune in a story published Sunday. "Because the philosophy (in the NFL) has always been to get the game-changer. And left tackle is not necessarily the game-changer. Usually game-changers are the guys who can score you points. Receivers. Quarterbacks. So what are we measuring that left tackle against? It's a loaded debate."
 
That debate, according to the Star Tribune, is if an All-Pro left tackle wins a team more games than a skill-position player. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said last week that the team is only considering Kalil, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon with the No. 3 pick.
 
Left tackle Jake Long was picked first overall by the Miami Dolphins in 2008. But Kalil, considered to be a safe, elite talent, might even slip out of the top 10, according to Greg Cosell of NFL Films.
 
Kalil will be the first tackle to come off the draft board Thursday, but perhaps won't align with a team's need as early as many assume, Cosell said.
 
The draft's third overall slot has become the most watched, because the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins are expected to take quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III with the No. 1 and No. 1 picks, respectively.

bradentonian

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#6 : April 22, 2012, 10:51:25 PM

It's a "game-changer" when your QB gets knocked out for the season


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#7 : April 22, 2012, 10:51:45 PM

Fine with me. As far as I'm concerned the Rams and Browns can do whatever they want. I'm fine with either Kalil, TR, Claiborne, or even Blackmon.

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#8 : April 22, 2012, 10:54:51 PM



XFactor

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#9 : April 22, 2012, 10:55:22 PM

Elite corners are more valuable then Elite LT's. LT has become the most overrated position in the NFL. You don't need an elite one, you need an adequate one. Elite corners are game changers, elite LT's not so much. The Vikings are a running team, the secondary is just as bad as their oline. If they think Claiborne is going to be an elite corner he's the pick. You can still probably get Massie, Mike Adams, or maybe even Jonathan Martin in the second.


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#10 : April 22, 2012, 10:58:57 PM

Kalil isn't the sexy pick everybody wants, but he definitely is the safest.  I would be fine with the selection.


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#11 : April 22, 2012, 11:01:57 PM

It's a "game-changer" when your QB gets knocked out for the season

agree, thats such a strange comment by Frazier that I smell smoke

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BucBalla85

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#12 : April 22, 2012, 11:05:19 PM

It's a "game-changer" when your QB gets knocked out for the season

agree, thats such a strange comment by Frazier that I smell smoke

If I was Frazier I'd be talking the guy up so much. Get a team to offer some value to move up.

The Anti-Java

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#13 : April 22, 2012, 11:08:13 PM

It's a "game-changer" when your QB gets knocked out for the season

agree, thats such a strange comment by Frazier that I smell smoke



Well....they basicaly have the #1pick so who are they smoking?


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#14 : April 22, 2012, 11:10:14 PM

So this past week RG3 is better than luck, Kalil isn't an elite LT and LT isn't a high value position any longer, Claiborne isn't the number one CB in the draft... what's next - we have several more days...

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