Chris Steuber Journal
Posted: March 31, 2012
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USC Athletics | Illustration by Chris Steuber
Matt Kalil appears destined to be the 3rd overall pick, but could the Vikings trade down with a team like the Eagles?
The Philadelphia Eagles received some devastating news on Tuesday of this week, but it wasn’t made public until Friday afternoon that All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters suffered a ruptured right Achilles and will likely be out 9 – 12 months.
Outside of Michael Vick or LeSean McCoy, losing Peters is the worst possible news the Eagles could’ve been dealt going into the 2012 season. To date, the Eagles have had a strong offseason by keeping their existing players happy with competitive contracts and contract extensions, and they made a splash by trading for two-time Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who ironically is 15 months removed from an Achilles injury.
If there’s any good news for the Eagles regarding Peters’ injury, and let’s be honest there’s nothing positive about Friday’s announcement, at least the injury occurred prior to next month’s NFL Draft, and the Eagles have an opportunity to weigh all of their options at the left tackle position.
Obviously, the Eagles could explore one of the remaining free agents remaining on the market, such as Marcus McNeill (San Diego Chargers) or Demetrius Bell (Buffalo Bills), who is scheduled to visit the Eagles this weekend. But another option, if the Eagles are concerned about Peters’ playing future, could be to target the premier offensive tackle available in the draft, Southern California’s Matt Kalil.
At 6-foot-6, 306 pounds, Kalil possesses the athleticism and skillset that would fit perfectly with Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd. It’s hard to replace an elite tackle like Peters, but Kalil - even though he’ll be a rookie - could step in from Day One and have an immediate impact. He’s a franchise bookend who has a pedigree, being the younger brother of Carolina Panthers All-Pro center Ryan Kalil.
The problem with the Eagles moving up to get Kalil is that they’ll have to trade up from the 15th overall pick to the 3rd overall pick, which is held by the Minnesota Vikings. Making a bold move in the draft is nothing new to the Eagles; as recently as 2010 they moved up from 24-to-13 to select Brandon Graham. But acquiring the third overall pick would cost much more than what the Eagles gave up to draft Graham. It would likely require the Eagles to surrender their 2012 first-round pick (15th overall), one of their two second-round picks, so let’s say the 46th overall pick, and their 2013 first-round selection.
That’s a lot to concede, but having a franchise left tackle for the next 10 – 12 years is worth the price, especially if the 30-year old Peters fails to return to his previous form. The tricky part in a potential Eagles-Vikings trade would be for the Eagles to entice the Vikings to trade down 12 spots and out of the running for some of this year’s premier prospects. But if the aforementioned deal I proposed is what the Eagles offer to the Vikings, it could benefit Minnesota the most.
Let’s face it, the Vikings have a handful of needs entering the draft, and at No. 3 they have some options. They could target Kalil, Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne or Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff. But in reality, dropping back to No. 15 could play to their favor.
The Vikings’ biggest needs are at OT, CB, WR and safety. At No. 15, the Vikings would miss out on Kalil and Reiff, but this year’s draft is pretty deep at their positions of need, other than safety. With that said, the following players could all potentially be available for Minnesota at 15: Stanford OT Jonathan Martin, Georgia OL Cordy Glenn, Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd, Baylor WR Kendall Wright, South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore, Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick and SS Mark Barron.
If this trade happened, the Eagles would land Kalil and still have one of their second-round selections to use on a defensive player, such as North Carolina LB Zach Brown, Utah State LB Bobby Wagner, Nebraska LB Lavonte David, Virginia DB Chase Minnifield or Boise State FS George Iloka.
At 15, the Vikings could still land a solid OT prospect in Martin or Glenn, depending on how their staff evaluates. Or they could go for another need position. Hypothetically, let’s say the Vikings decided to select Martin at 15, used the 35th overall pick on South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery and the 46th pick on a versatile defensive back in Montana’s Trumaine Johnson.
Now, the possibility of this trade going down is unlikely. However, the two teams’ front offices are very familiar with one another and have a solid working relationship. The Eagles are a big splash team, and finding a way to land Kalil would be a major cannonball off the high-dive after losing Peters.
For the Vikings, they could entertain this trade and move down 12 spots, because using the third overall pick on Kalil, Blackmon or Claiborne wouldn’t elevate their status above the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, or even the Chicago Bears in their division, and acquiring extra selections in this year’s draft and next year’s draft would do them well now and in the future.
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Chris Steuber has covered the NFL and NFL Draft for multiple media outlets over the last decade, and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including: The Colin Cowherd Show, NFL Network's Path to the Draft and Daily News Live on Comcast SportsNet (Philadelphia)... full biography