We’re now barely a week away from the NFL Draft with the Vikings’ intentions at pick No. 3 very much in the spotlight. If you ask me, General Manager Rick Spielman will pull the trigger on Southern Cal left tackle Matt Kalil next week because a) Kalil’s a can’t miss standout who can solidify that position for a decade or longer; and b) just as importantly, the impressive depth of this draft pool at defensive back and wide receiver will allow the Vikings to plug those holes with quality players available later in the draft.
But there is certainly a compelling argument that can be made for the Vikings trying to land a big-time playmaker like Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, too.
First and foremost? Determining just how “big time” Blackmon really is and can be. Remember, last year both Cincinnati and Atlanta energized their offenses by taking receivers A.J. Green and Julio Jones with the fourth and sixth picks, respectively.
So how does Blackmon compare to Green and Jones and other more established star receivers around the NFL?
On a call with reporters Tuesday, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay took his shot at assessing that question, putting Blackmon’s potential on par with a guy like Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe.
Said McShay: “Where do we think he's going to be two, three years down the road when he's developed and he's starting to peak in his NFL career? Is he going to be an A.J. Green or an Andre Johnson or a (Larry) Fitzgerald or Calvin Johnson? And I think the answer is no. Does that mean he's not a really, really good football player? Of course not. But you have to make that decision and then look at the other players in the draft if you're drafting somewhere in the top five or six picks and compare them to [others at] their position and what you can get.”
If the Vikings take Kalil at No. 3, Cleveland will be the next team measuring Blackmon’s worth, likely choosing between the standout receiver and Alabama running back Trent Richardson at No. 4. McShay expects the Browns to take Richardson.
“I think there's a noticeable difference in terms of when you stack up Blackmon versus the elite, elite receivers in the NFL versus Trent Richardson and what he can provide, compared to what the elite, elite [running back] in the NFL is,” McShay said.
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