For weeks we’ve been taking it for granted that Matt Kalil is the ironclad #1 offensive tackle in this year’s draft. But now there’s at least one dissenting voice, and it’s a pretty prominent (if somewhat lispy) one. In his “early” position-by-position ranking of draft prospects (posted several days ago on NFL.com but only just noticed by me), the one-and-only Mike Mayock drills a small hole in the good ship Conventional Wisdom by giving the nod to Iowa tackle Riley Reiff over Kalil.
Mayock’s rundown gives no explanation why Reiff should be valued over the consensus #1 tackle Kalil. Nor does the piece give any indication of how wide Mayock thinks the gulf between the two players is. It could be Mayock has Reiff in a squeaker, or it could be he thinks Reiff is definitively better for whatever reason. It’s all just one man’s opinion of course, but this man happens to be highly respected among draft wonks and therefore worth listening to.
Whatever Mayock’s reasoning, it’s obvious he isn’t sold on Kalil as the indisputable best offensive tackle in this draft. This of course is academic when it comes to the actual draft, since Mayock doesn’t work for any team. For our purposes, all that really matters is what Rick Spielman and his staff think. Do they share the conventionally-held belief that Kalil is unquestionably the best tackle available, or do they like Mayock think Reiff should be in the conversation? And if the Vikings do indeed value Reiff above Kalil or at least have them even, how would this influence their approach on draft day?
It’s amusing how much chaos one little tweak to the big board can engender. Value Kalil below Reiff and suddenly all your scenarios are thrown into doubt. Now you open up the possibility of the Vikings taking Reiff #3 overall ahead of Kalil. You could also see the Vikings trading down from #3 even with Kalil still on the board. How much would that mess with everyone?
Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!
Before Mayock’s rankings, suggesting Reiff should be valued above Kalil would’ve been almost unthinkable. With Kalil #2 on Kiper and McShay’s big boards? Come on. But now Mayock has opened that can of worms. The question is, could this be the kind of small shake-up that signals a whole reassessment? Is it possible lots of people are, even as we speak, rethinking the Kalil vs. Reiff question. Did Mike Mayock in fact tear open a portal to a new, previously unimaginable world where Matt Kalil isn’t the greatest offensive tackle ever to tread the earth?
If so, a lot of mock drafts just became garbage. Oh who am I kidding? They were garbage before. Except mine. Mine is gold.