Is USC's Matt Kalil an option for Browns?

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
8:50
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The Cleveland Browns could have another candidate for the fourth overall pick -- USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil.

It had been considered a virtual lock that the Minnesota Vikings were going to take Kalil with the No. 3 pick, but the Vikings are strongly debating whether to take Kalil, cornerback Morris Claiborne or wide receivers Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

[+] EnlargeMatt Kalil
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireMatt Kalil would fill a need at right tackle for the Browns, but would they be willing to pass up the draft's top playmakers for him?
This news comes at the same time the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting the Browns are traveling to conduct a private workout with Kalil today. Cleveland already had a pre-draft visit with Kalil.

Another scenario in which Kalil would be available at No. 4 for the Browns is if another team, like the Miami Dolphins or Seattle Seahawks, trade with the Vikings to move up for Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The big question is whether the Browns would take Kalil. He would certainly address one of Cleveland's biggest needs at right tackle, but teams rarely use a top-five pick on that position. The Browns have a Pro Bowl left tackle in Joe Thomas.

The Browns need playmakers on offense, and selecting Kalil would mean passing on the draft's top running back (Trent Richardson) and wide receiver (Blackmon). But I believe games are still won with the offensive and defensive lines, so it could be tough to pass on Kalil. Outside of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, Kalil is the only prospect that I would consider taking over Richardson, and I might still go with Richardson.

Having to chose between Kalil and Richardson would be a close call for the Browns. Cleveland would also have more opportunities to trade down because teams needing a left tackle will want to move up, but the Browns should stay and decide between Kalil and Richardson.

"Joe Thomas to me is a good comparison," ESPN's Todd McShay said of Kalil in a Tuesday conference call, via the Plain Dealer. "I think Kalil has a little bit more -- I don't want to say nasty in him, but he's got a nasty side. In my opinion, Matt Kalil has a chance to be a top five, top seven, maybe at worst top ten left tackle in the NFL when it's all said and done. I know he needs to continue to get stronger, and I see that on tape. He's already bulked up to 306, and I have to believe with his work ethic and commitment that he's going to get there."

McShay has also heard the rumblings about Kalil and the Vikings.

"I keep hearing from people that say that they're talking to Minnesota and that they don't love Kalil, and maybe that's the case," McShay said. "But I'll be surprised -- if they stay at three, I'll be surprised if the pick is not Kalil."

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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