EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings enjoyed the advantage of picking early in the 2012 NFL draft by selecting what they hope is a longtime starter at left tackle in Matt Kalil and using their early second-round pick as leverage to move back in the first round and grab safety Harrison Smith.
Kalil and Smith started every game and played key roles in their rookie season. Minnesota is thankful it's not at the top of each round again this year, instead pleased with its unexpected playoff run last season. The Vikings pick 23rd in the first round but surprisingly could be sitting in a good spot again this year. The overall depth and lack of any elite, big-name talent at the top has created a different dynamic entering April's draft.
"That's why I wouldn't want a top 10 pick this year," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said on a conference call before February's Scouting Combine. "I think the fifth pick in the draft and the 25th pick in this draft are very similar."
With a reco...