The entire NFL universe is quite certain who the first two selections in next month’s NFL Draft will be. To the same degree, we are uncertain about where things will go from there, and the floodgates to it all will be opened by the teams who hold the next two picks: Minnesota and Cleveland.
At #3, the Vikings have plenty of options, but also plenty of needs. They could definitely use an anchor at left tackle to protect sophomore QB Christian Ponder, at USC’s Matt Kalil is clearly deserving of such a high selection. However, the Vikes also have a glaring need at cornerback and wide receiver, making LSU CB Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon equally viable options. Who they select will determine the direction the rest of the draft takes.
After the Vikings decide which hole to fill, the Browns will have the same decision to make at #4. Cleveland would prefer Minnesota to take Kalil, since they Joe Thomas is already entrenched at the left tackle spot for the Browns. That would leave Claiborne and Blackmon available, and while Cleveland has more of a need at wide receiver, Claiborne’s overall talent will definitely merit consideration at that spot. Also in the discussion at that point will be Alabama RB Trent Richardson, following Peyton Hillis’ departure from the Dawg Pound.
The following picks (Tampa Bay, St. Louis) will pick up whichever of those players falls to them, which isn’t exactly the worst problem to have. It’s very likely that those four players (Kalil, Claiborne, Blackmon, Richardson) will be selected 3-6. The only question will be, in what order?