Vikings should take CB first
The Minnesota Vikings — fresh off their 3-16 season — aren't sitting pretty in many ways. But they do happen to be in a nice position for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Minnesota picks third overall. On a team with so many glaring needs, it's easy to image it going any number of ways with that first pick.
The three most tempting players at this point seem to be USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil, Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon and LSU defensive back Morris Clairborne.
Those three all figure to be standouts at the next level, and also represent the three areas of biggest need for the Vikings.
But the hunch here is that Blackmon is the one with the biggest question mark as he enters the NFL. While he has been super productive, he does not have elite size (6-foot-1) or speed (about 4.5 in the 40). And the Vikings figure to be able to land a good to excellent receiver through free agency.
So, let's check him off our list.
That leaves Kalil and Clairborne.
Kalil plays left tackle, the most important position along the offensive line, as opposite them line up speed-rushing defensive lineman. Remember how Christian Ponder ran for his life most of the season before finally going permanently to the bench after being roughed up for the last time? Well, Kalil could go a long way toward solving that problem. With time to throw, we'd find out if Ponder really is an NFL quarterback, or better.
Clairborne plays cornerback, which is also an immense area of need for Minnesota. Teams burned Vikings defensive backs at will the entire season. To suddenly be sitting with one of the best coverage cornerbacks in the game in Clairborne would be awfully tough to pass up.
In fact, it should be so tough to pass up that they go ahead and make the LSU star their first pick in 2012.
The Vikings will also pick third in the second round, and each round thereafter. Maybe it's with that No. 35 pick overall that they grab their wide receiver. Rutgers' wideout Mohamed Sanu (6-2, 215 pounds) looks like a good one.
— Pat Ruff