The NFL Draft 2013 is big on “beef and potatoes” as one NFL exec stated. With no clear high-profile quarterback projected to go number one overall, and no wide receiver or running back destined for that historical pick, an offensive tackle appears to be the right move. After four straight years of a marquee quarterback going number one overall, this year could see three offensive tackles in the top 10 picks. The Kansas City Chiefs have the number one pick of this year’s NFL draft, and have openly talked about trading down, but if they do pick first, Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel is about the surest thing in a draft which is filled with question marks.
The 6 foot 6 inch 306 pound Joeckel protected Heisman winner Johnny Manzeil’s blindside last year, and along with Eric Fisher of Central Michigan and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, that makes three OTs almost guaranteed to go in the first part of the first round. Add defensive standouts Sharrif Floyd from Florida, Utah’s Star Lotulelei and the impressive Sylvester Williams of North Carolina, and you can see that the first round is probably going to be filled with non-skill position players.
The only quarterback who has really generated some noise with an impressive NFL combine this year is West Virginia’s Geno Smith, who might be a good fit for the Cleveland Browns at the number six spot. But as Hall of Fame NFLer and Broncos President John Elway stated, “there are plenty of defensive lineman, not only defensive ends … in this draft.” He also echoed the belief of many NFL draft experts that the 2013 college draft class is deep, and not top-heavy. If Joeckel does go number one overall, it will only be the third time since the AFL – NFL merger in 1970 that an offensive tackle went in that spot.
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gets things started at Radio City Music Hall in New York City a little after 8 PM tonight by reading off the name of the next NFL instant millionaire, many football fans will be hoping for a repeat performance of last year’s first round. The 2012 NFL draft saw a teams holding 6 of the first 7 draft positions make significant trades. 9 of the first 15 spots in the first round, and a ridiculous 14 of the 32 first round slots overall, were also involved in trades. That record-breaking number most probably will not be threatened this year without a ton of first-round skill position draftees.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders pick in the number two and number three slots, and have needs at every position. The Jags could make Geno Smith their quarterback of the future, but the above-mentioned Fisher and outside linebacker Dion Jordan from Oregon also make sense for Jacksonville. That could leave Floyd or Brigham Young’s DE Ezekiel Ansah for Oakland, while the Philadelphia Eagles will almost certainly take a tackle, offensive or defensive, or DE. In what is anually an unsure science at best, this year’s Vegas odds on NFL draft action promise little flash and a lot of substance, making 2013 an especially hard year to predict.