Now that the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine has wrapped up, the focus has shifted to pro days, and more importantly, to the draft.
All the coaches have seen the top players in the nation, and it’s time to find the teams that are in the toughest position in the draft order.
Whether it’s because of trade offers, the desire to trade or just the magnitude of picking No. 1 overall, all of the following teams will have incredibly tough choices on draft day.
No. 32 Overall: Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens have plenty of offseason moves to ponder over the next two months, but replacing departing stars after a Super Bowl win is imperative.
Teams that win the Super Bowl always tend to lose more free agents than usual—players either retire to end their career on top or try to cash in with the biggest contract possible—but the Ravens have been down this road before.
The only question now is if they trade up to the middle-stages of the first round to address their need for a middle linebacker, or stick at No. 32 and let one fall to them.
If Baltimore trades up to get a player like Georgia’s Alec Ogletree, it will be getting a solid player, but it would be losing other picks that could have been used to strengthen the team’s depth.
That’s why Baltimore must wait for Manti Te’o to fall all the way to No. 32.
It was obvious that John Harbaugh was not impressed with the linebacker’s 40-yard dash speed, but his ability to lead a team and his undeniable abilities on the field during live games are more important that his combine performance.
No. 4 Overall: Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are undergoing a massive offseason shift—in terms of both management with the hiring of an all new coaching staff led by Chip Kelly and in the roster with the recent string of cuts (h/t ESPN)—and one of the top questions remaining is who the team will take at No. 4.
With so many positions of need, Philadelphia is in a tough spot.
There is a possibility that the team could trade back into the middle of the first round, likely acquiring a first-round pick in 2013 and 2014, a plethora of picks in the early rounds or another combination of picks.
Those added selections could help the Eagles coaching staff find the pieces they need for the fundamental scheme changes on both offense and defense.
There will still be a bevy of potential stars at No. 4 if Philadelphia decides to stick with its current selection (the talent showed at the combine proves how deep this draft is), but the Eagles would be foolish to not consider moving down if the right offer is presented.
No. 1 Overall: Kansas City Chiefs
Unlike Philadelphia, the Kansas City Chiefs will undoubtedly use the No. 1 overall pick as the official start to the Andy Reid era of the franchise. This selection will be associated with Reid’s career the same way Donovan McNabb was with the Eagles.
All the pressure of this No. 1 overall selection makes this a can’t-miss situation for the Chiefs.
The magnitude of the pick will have Reid reverting back to the basic principles of football, mainly that the games are won and lost in the trenches. With a serious lack of elite play along the offensive line, Kansas City will be looking to take a tackle at No. 1 overall that can protect whoever is under center at the start of next season.
While the consensus top lineman is Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher made a great showing at the scouting combine and could have worked his way into consideration for the No. 1 overall pick.
Full 2013 NFL Draft Order
1. Kansas City Chiefs
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Oakland Raiders
4. Philadelphia Eagles
5. Detroit Lions
6. Cleveland Browns
7. Arizona Cardinals
8. Buffalo Bills
9. New York Jets
10. Tennessee Titans
11. San Diego Chargers
12. Miami Dolphins
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14. Carolina Panthers
15. New Orleans Saints
16. St. Louis Rams
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
18. Dallas Cowboys
19. New York Giants
20. Chicago Bears
21. Cincinnati Bengals
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
23. Minnesota Vikings
24. Indianapolis Colts
25. Seattle Seahawks
26. Green Bay Packers
27. Houston Texans
28. Denver Broncos
29. New England Patriots
30. Atlanta Falcons
31. San Francisco 49ers
32. Baltimore Ravens