Kansas City Chiefs: After Trading for Alex Smith, Team Must Draft Luke Joeckel

Travis Wakeman@@traviswakeman10Featured Columnist IVMarch 5, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 04:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates his touchdown with Luke Joeckel #76 against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Cotton Bow lat Cowboys Stadium on January 4, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Coming off a trade with the San Francisco 49ers (via ESPN) in which the team acquired its quarterback of the future in Alex Smith, the Kansas City Chiefs now turn their focus to April's NFL draft.

Whether Chiefs fans like the trade for the signal-caller who spent the first seven seasons of his career in San Francisco or not, the organization made the best move that it could considering thin options in both free agency and the draft. Now, the team must follow up with an equally sound choice in the draft.

Luke Joeckel, a 6'6", 310-pound tackle out of Texas A&M, is unquestionably the best pick the Chiefs could make. The Chiefs allowed 39 sacks in 2012.

Joeckel became the starting left tackle as a freshman and flourished in that role. He played well against the best pass-rushing defensive ends that both the Big 12 and the SEC conferences had to offer.

Joeckel is a terrific pass-blocker who rarely gives up a sack. He is also proficient in the running game, as he opened up holes for Christine Michael.

Joeckel also brings experience in the pro-style offense that Texas A&M ran and protected two very different quarterbacks in Ryan Tannehill and then Johnny Manziel in his 2012 Heisman Trophy campaign.

Smith had some rough years in San Francisco, but was very efficient the last two seasons under head coach Jim Harbaugh, throwing 30 touchdown passes with just 10 interceptions before being benched in favor of Colin Kaepernick.

Over that same time span, Matt Cassel threw 16 touchdowns with 21 interceptions for the Chiefs. New head coach Andy Reid has always been known for being a quarterback's coach, and that bodes well for Smith, who has the ability to thrive in his offense.

At one point, it was very unclear what the Chiefs would do with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Would they use it to select Geno Smith out of West Virginia? Perhaps they would trade it in order to pile up more picks. Now, the way they spend that pick should be very evident.

In order to obtain Smith, the Chiefs had to give up their second-round pick in the upcoming draft as well as a conditional pick next year. They will also give up on Cassel, who they were all too happy to get following the 2008 season and then signed him to a subsequent six year, $63 million deal.

Having to invest that much, it only makes sense for Kansas City to properly protect that investment.