The Atlanta Falcons don’t have a 1st round pick and will not have a selection in the 2012 NFL Draft until the 55th spot. As a result, what other teams do will be very important. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers at number 5 overall will affect the Falcons future. That selection will certainly affect the Falcons as far as who they need to play against in the future.
In a sound byte that was perfect for the media circus that is the NFL Draft, Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said the other day that ‘left tackles aren’t game-changers.’ The Vikings have a need at left tackle, and considering that they have a quarterback (Christian Ponder) who will be entering his second season, conventional wisdom would say that they would take a tackle to protect the blindside of their quarterback. But Frazier made this statement, leading people to question whether or not LT Matt Kalil would definitely be taken by Minnesota.
Minnesota also has a dire need at cornerback, and they would have a desperate need to get a very good one to compete with the great quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the NFC North. There has been considerable talk that the Vikings would take Morris Claiborne with their 1st round selection. I sincerely hope that Minnesota takes Claiborne, and here’s why.
If the Vikings take Kalil, I believe the Cleveland Browns will select Trent Richardson. Then the Buccaneers will select Claiborne. That would give the Buccaneers a secondary composed of Ronde Barber, Aquib Talib (assuming he isn’t suspended by the NFL pending a felony accusation) and Morris Claiborne. Essentially the Buccaneers would be able to institute a no-fly-zone for opposing offenses, making it very difficult for teams to throw the ball. That type of secondary combined with the potential that their defensive line has, could make that defense completely stacked. As a fan of Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and the Atlanta Falcons offense, I don’t want to see the Buccaneers get that strong on either side of the ball. I would rather them decide to select a guy like Trent Richardson or Justin Blackmon and get extremely strong on just ONE side of the ball rather than both. The Bucs made a lot of moves bolstering their offense during free-agency, and while they cannot yet be considered elite on either side of the ball yet, the less weapons they have, the better the Falcons offense can play. Richardson or Blackmon are the types of players whose production levels could be tolerated and controlled; Claiborne is the type of player that scares me and would be a weapon on defense.