Southern California Junior
Is a good athlete that it shows when he's moving in space and on the second level. Smooth when asked to pull or block in space. Quickly hits his assignments when blocking on the second level. Is able to get position when blocking in space and does a nice job hitting assignments against defensive backs and linebackers on the second level. Has good hands, and does a good job using them both as a run blocker and in pass protection. Sets up well in pass protection, with his hands high and tight and ready to deliver blow. Gets good depth on his drops and makes defenders work for the inside counter move. Delivers a solid punch and can lock on in pass protection. Shows good initial hand placement as a run blocker, allowing him to show some pop off the snap and lock on at times. Plays with good knee bend as a run blocker that is able to get leverage at the point of attack. Does a nice job getting position when blocking laterally on zone blocks. Is a capable cut blocker. Flashes some ability as a drive blocker with decent leg drive. Shows mean streak at times, and willing to get after defenders especially linebackers on the second level. Also can contribute on special teams with blocked field goals.
Doesn't wow you as a run blocker because he doesn't have the bulk or strength to really move guys there. Doesn't consistently show good leg drive and can't always stay locked on. Can't always get push when going up against a linebacker at the point of attack. Will bend his waist at times, and is not really a power player. Takes a false step at times off the snap, limiting his pop. Won't always finish his blocks and play the whistle. Doesn't always take the best angles when blocking laterally on the stretch play. Needs to do a better job locking onto defenders in space, particularly when linebackers are moving on the second level. Tends to hit and push when blocking on second level, rather than locking on and driving linebackers downfield. Doesn't show the quickest or smoothest feet when working on his kick-slide in pass protection. Can't always stay square against speed, and will open up his stance a bit.
Kalil is a solid left tackle prospect that has good upside. He works very well in USC's zone blocking scheme, where his polished technique and toughness work very well to get position and block on the move. He's not really a power player, and probably never will be. He does have the potential to get bigger and stronger and improve there, but he's not ever going to be a dominant run blocker in terms of moving guys off the ball. Kalil is one of those players that you see the flashes of the top-end upside, but the more I watched him this past year, the more holes in his game I began to see. He should be a good pro, but how good a pro might depend heavily on the sort of scheme he gets drafted to play in. He's a guy that can be an elite tackle in a zone-heavy blocking scheme, but may only be an above average guy in a more man-heavy scheme. His older brother Ryan is the starting center for the Carolina Panthers. His father, Frank, was drafted by the Bills in 1982 and played in the USFL. A lot of the buzz around Kalil was that he was so good at USC that it prevented a top-tier athlete like Tyron Smith from getting a look at that position while in college.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. Minnesota: 2 key blocks, 2 missed blocks; Downfield: 3/4; Pull: 0/1; Cut: 0/1; Screen: 1/1; 1 penalty (false start)
(9/10) vs. Utah: 2 key blocks; Downfield: 2/2; Pull: 2/2; 1 blocked FG
(10/13) at California: 1 key block; Downfield: 1/1; Cut: 2/2
(11/4) at Colorado: 1 key block, 2 pressures; Downfield: 1/1; Pull: 1/1; Cut: 0/1; Screen: 0/2
2011: 12 GP/12 GS; left tackle, 4 blocked kicks
2010: 13/13; left tackle; 1 blocked PAT
2009: 11/1; right tackle
Kalil should have success in the NFL as a starting left tackle. He has the sort of athleticism and solid technique that at the very least should make him solid. He should be an effective Day One starter for some team on the left side. That's not to suggest that he'll blow the doors off in his first year, as there could be some growing pains. But he's not a guy that I suspect will struggle to a huge degree as a rookie starter, and has what it takes to improve as time wears on. Kalil reminds me a bit of Ryan Clady. At Boise State, Clady played in a blocking scheme that was very similar to the zone-blocking scheme of the Denver Broncos. That is one of the key reasons why I thought Clady found instant success in the pros despite not being the most polished product. I think the same could be said of Kalil, since USC utilizes a nearly identical blocking scheme as the Alex Gibbs/Broncos style. An NFL team that uses a lot of zone blocking is probably going to see quicker and better results sooner rather than later. And while I don't think Kalil is going to be a truly elite left tackle because guys like Joe Thomas, Jake Long, and Jason Peters will always be more physical and better run blcokers, I do think he can be on a similar plane as Clady. Like Clady, he's a guy that I think can be a top-tier pass protector and a solid run blocker. He has room to grow as a run blocker as he has a good frame that could probably support another 10 or so pounds of muscle, and because of his good hands he can be effective in a man-blocking scheme. But he's not a pile-clearing road grader. Another comparison would be a more athletic version of Michael Roos. I worry somewhat how he'll match up against the elite pass rushers, but he's not a guy that I think is going to get dominated. Just a guy that might get beat more than typically what you want out of an elite pass protector. But Kalil is one of those players that even if he's not an elite left tackle, he's a player that is going to have a long productive NFL career. At worst, he'll be considered an above average left tackle sort similar to a Matt Light-type that will play 10-15 years in the pros. At best, he'll be a guy vying with players like Thomas, Long, Peters, and Clady for who is the best left tackle in the game. And again, I really think he stands the best chance of becoming the latter player if he goes to a pass-centric zone-blocking team since that will play to his strengths.
Ryan Clady, Broncos.
While Kalil hails from the same blocking scheme of Sam Baker that made him a poor fit in Atlanta, Kalil is much more able to overcome it. Unlike Baker, Kalil can get bigger and stronger, and because he uses his hands so well and is able to get position consistently, he will be a more effective run blocker. While the Falcons under Koetter will likely utilize more zone blocking than previously under Mularkey, also making Kalil a better fit. Kalil would be the sort of bookend left tackle that could be put int he same vein as players like Mike Kenn and Bob Whitfield that held that position for years in Atlanta. And while it's no guarantee that he'll be as good as those guys were in their primes, the drop-off wouldn't be huge if said drop-off existed.
Kalil is a relatively safe pick as an offensive tackle, and because of the premium at that position he'll likely be drafted slightly above his actual talent level. He would definitely make an excellent Top 15 pick, and the premium of his posiiton makes him a solid Top 10 pick. But I'm not sure he's the sort of elite left tackle prospect that deserves to be a Top 5 pick. But he's fairly close, and thus I wouldn't call him a reach in the Top 5 because you know you'll get a solid player, just might not get an elite player.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Pass Blocking: 8.5
Run Blocking: 7.0
Mean Streak: 7.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.