Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel Doubtful with 1st Pick with Branden Albert Back

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 18: Branden Albert #76 of the Kansas City Chiefs blocks against the St. Louis Rams during a pre-season game at the Edward Jones Dome on August 18, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIIMarch 5, 2013

The Chiefs assigned the franchise tag to left tackle Branden Albert, according to Adam Schefter.

Albert was one of the league's better tackles in 2012 and will be back with Kansas City for another season. Any notion of the lineman's back troubles were put to rest after the Chiefs were content to guarantee him top dollar for a year.

Back in February, Chiefs coach Andy Reid noted that Albert's injury was "fairly significant," but it looks like those comments were simply to gain leverage in negotiation.

Now, with Albert on the roster, it's doubtful that the Chiefs use the first overall selection on Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel. Albert has made it clear he wants to remain at left tackle and it's doubtful that the Chiefs are bringing him back at a premium salary to play guard.

General manager John Dorsey stated that Kansas City could conceivably re-up Albert and still draft Joeckel with the first pick, citing the fact that one of the two could change positions, but that would mean the Chiefs would be drafting a guard with the first overall pick. I could be wrong, but it seems as though Dorsey is just trying to keep other teams in the dark about Kansas City's intentions with the first overall pick to keep all trade avenues open.

With the offense somewhat set, the focus shifts to the defensive side of the ball with the top selection.

Dorsey needs to trust his draft board and be smart in deciding where to go first overall. Needs exist on both the defensive line and in the secondary.

Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has been mentioned as a potential fit, but Florida Gator Sharrif Floyd could make more sense. He's an elite block-shedder who plays both the run and the pass well.

Ezekiel Ansah could also get some consideration in the weeks leading up to the draft, should Kansas City keep the pick. Ansah has the potential to be an elite 3-4 defensive end. He's wrongly pegged as a pass-rusher when his real strength lies as a one-gap run defender who occasionally goes after the passer.

In the defensive backfield, only one player has the potential of finding his way into the first overall slot. Cornerback Dee Milliner is the most talented player in this draft class (my argument here) and would be a solid fit with the Chiefs. Pairing Milliner with Brandon Flowers would give Kansas City a very formidable one-two punch and allow Javier Arenas to move back to the slot as a nickel cornerback, where he's most comfortable.

No matter who the Chiefs draft, after trading for a quarterback and signing back their star receiver and left tackle, the team can afford to take a risk. Milliner and Floyd seem like safe prospects, but Ansah could end up being the best player of the three if given the right opportunity.

Look for Ezekiel Ansah to be a player on the Chiefs radar over the next few weeks.


Follow me on Twitter for more updates @EliNachmany.

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