We've seen a recent surge of top prospects entering the 2012 NFL Draft (the top wideout, Justin Blackmon, and top quarterback, Andrew Luck, on Rob Rang's big board are already in) and now top offensive line prospect Matt Kalil will leave USC and enter the draft.
Kalil, the third-best prospect according to NFL Draft Scout, will leave the Trojans program and make the leap into tue NFL.
"It was definitely a tough decision because I love SC," Kalil told the LA Times. "But itís a special opportunity. Itís time to move on."
Kalil's brother, Ryan Kalil, currently plays center for the Carolina Panthers, and there's been talk of joining the brothers in a tandem on the line there.
Of course, the younger Kalil would need to fall to the Panthers first, and in Rang's latest mock draft that didn't happen. Rang has Kalil going to the Vikings (currently slated to have the third pick).
It's also possible the Rams could consider Kalil with their pick (currently No. 2), depending on how they grade Justin Blackmon and/or if no teams are willing to trade up to a higher spot.
|2012 NFL Draft|
Ultimately, Kalil will probably end up being a top-five pick.
Premiere offensive lineman come at a high cost for teams looking to shore up their offensive lines, and even though we've seen the value of quarterbacks in the first round spike significantly over the past year or so (thanks, ridiculous 2011 NFL Draft class!), the value of a left tackle who can step in and perform well from day one can't be overstated.
Kalil's decision could also influence quarterback Matt Barkley. Barkley hasn't made a decision about the draft yet, but losing the guy who protects his blind side (coupled with a high draft rating) could potentially push him closer to making a decision and turning pro.
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