In a discussion earlier this week, we agreed (I think) that the Minnesota Vikings should draft the best player remaining at No. 3 overall -- not the one who plays the position they consider most important. Our primary argument for drafting USC left tackle Matt Kalil over LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, then, was the general consensus that Kalil is the better overall prospect.
In draft rankings updated this week, both ESPN draft analysts continued to agree. Todd McShay put Kalil third and Claiborne fourth on his ratings of the top 32 players. Mel Kiper Jr.'s Big Board put Kalil third, Alabama running back Trent Richardson fourth followed by Claiborne at No. 5.
Both rankings were released before Claiborne revealed he will soon have wrist surgery, but the surgery isn't likely to impact his draft status. They require an Insider subscription for full viewing, but I can bring you what they wrote about Kalil and Claiborne.
Kalil: "Kalil blew the rest of the offensive tackle class out of the water at the combine. He is a potential franchise left tackle with a combination of size, balance, light feet and finishing ability. It will be hard for the Vikings to pass on him with the third overall pick"
Claiborne: "Hands-down the top cover corner in the nation. Claiborne's size, speed, fluid hips and impressive ball skills were on display at the combine and further cemented his place among the top 10 picks."
Kalil: "Kalil has been as steady on the board as any O-lineman in years. His tape is great, and the plus for him is he might not need time to develop at right tackle, a common break-in spot for many left tackles. Fits in Minnesota."
Claiborne: "The question on Claiborne for me is whether it's Rams or Bucs. Not a total burner, more a true technician; he was the lesser-known but easily better LSU corner last season. Exceptional pure corner with impeccable instincts. Locates the ball and can catch it."