Flexible to play zone-blocking or man-blocking scheme
Needs to improve his run blocking
Could use more power as a drive blocker
Summary: Kalil is a legitimate franchise left tackle prospect. He is a superb athlete who has all the tools to be a special protector for a quarterback. Kalil has quick feet with phenomenal technique. He is a rare pass blocker entering the NFL.
Over the past two seasons, Kalil was a rock solid pass protector for USC quarterback Matt Barkley. Kalil was so effective at left tackle that he kept a future top-10 pick, Tyron Smith, at right tackle. In his final collegiate season, Kalil was tremendous as a pass protector. The consistency that he put on tape has him locked in as a top-five pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Kalil had some spotty play at times in 2011 in the rushing attack. He's added some weight since the end of the season and that should help him push defensive linemen off the ball in the ground game. Kalil was a decent run blocker at the college level, but he still has room for improvement. He definitely has the skill set to thrive in a zone-blocking system. He could fit a man-blocking scheme, but should improve for that to become a better fit.
Some draft pundits were starting to rate Kalil behind Iowa's Riley Reiff, but any doubts were cleared up at the Combine, when Kalil was excellent, while Reiff was mildly disappointing. Kalil showed off natural athleticism and quickness. He ran the 40 with a quick time at 4.99 with 30 reps on the bench press.
At the weigh-in, Kalil checked in 10 pounds heavier than he was listed at in college, so that was a positive to see him adding bulk to help in the ground game. Kalil's arm length, measured as 34.5 inches, was also a plus. He followed that up with a good Pro Day.
Kalil projects to be 10-year fix for the left tackle position. He projects to have the ability to match up one-on-one with dangerous pass rushers and block them effectively without getting extra help. Kalil should be a dependable protector who keeps his quarterback healthy. As he ages and gets stronger, it wouldn't be surprising if he improves as a run blocker. It seems like Kalil has a good shot to become a Pro Bowl tackle.
Player Comparison: D'Brickashaw Ferguson. It was a tough pick, but it is hard to say claim that Kalil is going to be as good as Cleveland's Joe Thomas. Kalil has special athleticism like Ferguson. The Jets' Pro Bowler was taken with the fourth-overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Kalil will probably go a pick sooner at No. 3. If he improves his run blocking as expected, he could be a player who is similar to Ferguson.
NFL Matches: Minnesota, Tampa Bay, St. Louis
The heavy favorite to take Kalil are the Vikings. They have a dire need at the position, and he is the top non-quarterback prospect in the draft. They've made noise that they prefer LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, but that sounds more like a smokescreen to try and get a team to make a bad trade for Minnesota's pick to secure Claiborne. It would be shocking, and highly questionable for the Vikings to pass on Kalil.
If Minnesota passes on Kalil, the Buccaneers could take him. Jeremy Trueblood is in a contract year, while Donald Penn could be moved to right tackle to finish out his career if the team takes Kalil to protect Josh Freeman's blind side.
St. Louis badly needs a franchise left tackle to protect Sam Bradford. If the Rams hadn't traded down with Washington, it probably would have drafted Kalil. If he somehow falls to the sixth pick, the Rams won't pass on him.