There's not much more boring than drafting an offensive lineman with a top-5 pick. Matt Kalil will never have a statistic on the back of his football card. If he has a successful career with the Vikings, during his best games you may not even notice that he was on the field. But a lot of boring things are actually quite necessary to making good things happen.
Is there another player that would so immediately impact the Vikings as OT Matt Kalil? If he is as good as a top-5 lineman is supposed to be, he instantly transforms the Viking offensive line, which instantly elevates the Viking offense. Last season the Viking quarterbacks were sacked on 8.8% of their pass attempts, and that doesn't even account for how often the quarterbacks got away when they were forced to scramble. According to Football Outsiders the Vikes had the 5th worse pass offense last season (and 5th best rush offense). The Vikes need to be able to throw the ball, and a blind side pass blocker may help them even more than an elite WR would.
A rebuilding team should never think about immediate need, and should almost always take the best player available. It's hard to say if Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne won't, over the length of their careers, prove to be better players. They might; they might not. But Matt Kalil immediately improves the team.
Harrison Smith (PFT)
TBird41 is excellent at projecting the Vikings' second round picks: here is his profile of Harrison Smith. Read this blog, and you'll know what's up before it is up.
Man, do the Vikings need safeties. They have been amassing cornerbacks that you can actually put on the field without crying (Antoine Winfield, Chris Cook, Zach Bowman, Chris Carr: those are real human beings!), but the roster still consisted of the same lousy safeties that made 2011 so very, very brutal to watch. I might have liked for the Vikes to wait and get the (still available!) Stephen Hill or Alshon Jeffery, but Matt Kalil is already a big step toward fixing a terrible pass offense, and now if on the same night the Vikes take a step to fix a terrible pass defense, we should feel pretty good. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Kick Ass Draft Links
Sports Illustrated's Profile of Kalil ("Though overrated by some..." What a weird statement. Who isn't? That should be everybody's epigraph).
Sports Illustrated's Profile of Smith
Star Tribune's story on the Kalil pick.
The Vikings had great overall draft value before trading with Cleveland; after the trade they had the most draft value (Football Outsiders). Now, what will they do with that value? Because unused draft picks are abstractions of hope; players are concrete performers that can suck.
Lots and lots and lots more picks. But my kids are doing a "turn off the screen" thing for the next week, so I'm not supposed to have the TV on while they are awake (and it's questionable whether I can pull out a computer screen to look at either; I guess I can sneak around them or something). Between the NFL draft and NBA playoffs, this is a terrible, terrible weekend for such a thing (but it could be worse; there is no chance I'd go along with such an activity on a Sunday during the football season).