Claiborne’s Red Flags Are Piling Up

Over the last month or so Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman has used the media to suggest he is open to taking LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with the third overall selection.

That notion has flown in the face of what almost every draftnik in the world thinks they will do: select USC left tackle Matt Kalil.

It may never be truly known whether or not Spielman’s professed love for Claiborne was a smokescreen or just him telling the truth (my money is on the former), but as we draw nearer to the NFL Draft it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine Claiborne being the selection.

Two red flags have recently popped up that should prevent the Vikings from taking the risk at the three spot. 

First, at his Pro Day, it was revealed that Claiborne’s career in the NFL will start with a surgery.  A torn ligament in his left wrist needs to be repaired and it should give teams pause when considering the young corner.  However, Claiborne did continue to play through the injury in college, so maybe some teams will view his toughness as a plus that outweighs the negative that is the injury itself.  At third overall, however, it’d be a tough sell to select a player that immediately has medical questions.

Second, reports have emerged today that Claiborne bombed the Wonderlic Test with a shockingly low score of 4 (out of 50).  The weight scouts should put into Wonderlic scores, and the validity of the reports themselves, can be questioned and argued.  However, this information cannot be ignored by any front office.

So, while Morris Claiborne has accumulated a pair of troubling headlines over the last month, Kalil continues to be regarded as one of the safest selections in the upcoming Draft.

On Tuesday, offensive line coach Jeff Davidson was asked if he thought Kalil had a ceiling in the NFL.

“Do I think he has a ceiling? No,” he said in response.  “I think he’s a pretty good player. I’m going to leave it just at that.”

As I have been all offseason long, I am convinced the Vikings will select Kalil third overall if they stay put in that spot.