CLEVELAND, OH – They say that football is a game of flexibility, adaptability and change, in the case of the Cleveland Browns and USC left tackle Matt Kalil, it could mean a possible move to the right.
Kalil, a 6’7, 306-pound left tackle, is currently the top-ranked offensive lineman in the entire draft, and with the Browns in need an upgrade—in addition to some youth—on the offensive line, the selection of Kalil at #4 makes so much sense as it would fix a lot of issues in the Browns offense immediately.
While many will wonder why the Browns would draft the most pro-ready left tackle when they already have four-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas in place, the same ones that wonder this clearly have not seen the horrific play of Oriel Cousins and Tony Pashos in 2011-12.
Cleveland gave up the 15th most sacks in the league at 39, with a majority of them coming from quarterback Colt McCoy’s strong side, thus not enabling him to go to his second, third or even fourth reads thus causing bad decision making downfield and the running game to look so inept.
But the issue remains that Kalil is a left tackle and that the Browns should not draft him. So why should Cleveland pass on playmakers such as Justin Blackmon, Trent Richardson, Morris Claiborne—and possibly Ryan Tannehill?
Because the selection of Kalil would create a formidable offensive line of bookended by both Kalil and Thomas along with Alex Mack at center that would solve the offensive woes for McCoy under center and open up running lanes and allow time for receivers to get open downfield in Cleveland at the same time.
The key to this whole scenario happening is the what the Vikings choose to do at #3.
While many mock drafts have the Vikings taking Kalil third overall, Minnesota also has various needs at wide receiver and cornerback, which brings the likes of Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne into play.
In Minnesota, Despite the re-signing of wideout Devin Aromashodu, Blackmon could be a possible target due to the Vikings only having Percy Harvin as their lone offensive threat at wideout.
Claiborne is also a possibility due to starting cornerback Antoine Winfield turning 35, and cornerback Chris Cook’s legal issues.
If Cleveland were to somehow have Kalil fall to them at #4, they would have some past—recent—precedents of top-ranked tackles who have switched from left tackle to right, and from guard to center.
According to ProFootballReference.com, Hall Of Famers such as nine-time Pro Bowler Forrest Gregg—widely regarded as one of the best right tackles ever—played left tackle at Southern Methodist in the 50’s.
Gregg would go on to win six NFL world championships with the Green Bay Packers and win Super Bowl VI. Gregg would go on to coach the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers.
Bob St. Clair would play left tackle for Tulsa before being drafted by San Francisco in 1953. St Clair would switch from left tackle and play right tackle for the 49ers until 1963. St Clair would inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1990.
Current CBS Sports TV analyst and Hall of Fame right tackle Dan Dierdorf played left tackle for the University of Michigan from 1967-1970.
After being drafted by the St Louis Cardinals in 1971, Dierdorf would start at left tackle from 1971-1973, Dierdorf would be converted to right tackle where he would finish his career at in 1983.
Right tackle Rayfield Wright would play free safety, punter, defensive end, left tackle and tight end at Fort Valley St from 1964-1967 before being switched to right tackle for the Cowboys.
“The Big Cat” would be used as a tight end, defensive lineman before being inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2006.
Hall of Fame tackle Jackie Slater of the St Louis-Los Angeles Rams played left tackle for Jackson State from 1973-1976. Slater would play left tackle for the Rams early in his career before being switched to right tackle in 1979 for the next 16 years. Slater would be inducted into Canton in 2001.
Modern day examples include names such as Robert Gallery, who would be drafted out of the University of Iowa as a left tackle in 2004 by the Oakland Raiders. Gallery would go on to play other positions such as left guard and right tackle.
Another modern day example is Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Andre Gurode who would play both the center and guard positions at both Colorado University and the Dallas Cowboys.
Current offensive tackle prospect Mike Adams out of Ohio State has been approached by both the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins about the possibility of switching from left tackle to right.
So in the case of Kalil, the Browns would not reach nor waste a top-five pick in a player who only played left tackle, if Hall of famers such as Wright, Dierdorf, St Clair and Gregg can make such as switch, then so can Kalil.
With the Browns current woes on the offensive line, the selection of Kalil—and eventual switch—from the left side of the offensive line to the right side, Kalil as a right tackle in Cleveland is not only logical but may make the most sense.
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