USC: Christian Ponder
April, 26, 2012
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Jerry Lai/US PresswireUSC left tackle Matt Kalil was picked No. 4 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL draft.
As had been expected for the last few months, former USC left tackle Matt Kalil was selected by the Minnesota Vikings high in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.
But there was a small surprise: Kalil went fourth overall, not third. The Vikings traded down one selection with the Cleveland Browns, getting the man they wanted all along and accumulating some more picks in the process.
Kalil was a two-year starter for the Trojans who declared for the draft after his redshirt junior season. At 6 feet 7 and 300-plus pounds, he has prototypical left tackle size for the next level and will be counted on to be Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder's blind-side blocker for the foreseeable future in Minnesota.
With his selection, Kalil becomes USC's 76th first-round draft pick, the most of any school in the country. He also became USC’s highest selection since Reggie Bush went second in 2006 and the highest offensive lineman since Tony Boselli went second in 1995.
The Trojans now have had 474 NFL draftees, more than any school. Kalil is also the 22nd USC offensive lineman selected in the first round since 1968.
Kalil joins tackles Ron Yary and Steve Riley as ex-USC offensive linemen selected in the first round by the Vikings. The Vikings last took a USC prospect in the first round in 2004, with defensive end Kenechi Udeze.
Kalil is the third member of his family chosen in the NFL draft. His brother, Ryan, an All-American lineman at USC, was a second-round selection in 2007 by the Carolina Panthers and is now an All-Pro center in the NFL. His father, Frank, was a 1982 draftee by the Buffalo Bills out of Arizona.
The NFL draft continues Thursday, Friday and Saturday. USC is expecting anywhere from four to seven players to be selected, with defensive end Nick Perry the next possibility at some point in the latter half of the first round.