What should the Kansas City Chiefs do with the first overall pick on the 2013 NFL draft? The answer is but one piece of the draft puzzle, but it’s the first piece and whatever the Chiefs do, it will shape the rest of the draft.
Gone is the old regime who put the team together that will pick first overall. The Chiefs named John Dorsey new general manager and Andy Reid head coach, and it hasn't taken much time for moves to be made.
The Chiefs sent their pick in Round 2 (No. 34 overall) to the San Francisco 49ers for quarterback Alex Smith. They also announced the re-signing of wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a 5-year deal.
Teams had until 4:00 p.m. EST on Monday, March 4 to apply the franchise tag on a player, and the Chiefs did just that with left tackle Branden Albert. They will have him in the fold for the 2013 season, but whether he plays on the right or left side is up in the air.
Free agency starts on March 12th, but the Chiefs are making moves ahead of the deadline. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is reporting that the Chiefs have parted ways with right tackle Eric Winston, and every bit of information that comes out helps to shape the opinion of what we think the Chiefs should do with the first overall pick.
So far, the moves have been all about offense, but that won't continue as the defense needs to be rebuilt. They have made some moves with their roster, but outside of drafting a quarterback, they haven’t tipped their hand.
NFL draft experts are updating their opinion as to the unique situation the Chiefs find themselves in. We are going to examine the opinion of each expert, with reaction and analysis to their recommendation.
Let’s take a look at what each expert is telling the Chiefs to do with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has been very consistent in saying that the Kansas City Chiefs should use the No. 1 pick of Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel. It does make sense for the Chiefs to use the pick on a player who can protect the quarterback, but the situation in Kansas City is very unclear right now.
Miller has called him the 2013 draft's best player in this piece, and he says it's not even close.
While it might be a little strong to call him the best player without any other player being close, the point is made. Miller feels like the best available player in the draft is Joeckel, and the position he plays is critical for success in the NFL.
The situation with current left tackle Branden Albert is unresolved because of his back issues, and it would be a mistake to go into the 2013 season without adequate protection on the left side of the line.
While time will tell whether Joeckel is the best player in this draft, the logic behind the pick makes sense.
ESPN's Todd McShay updated his mock draft on March 6. He is one of the few who doesn't project an offensive tackle to the Chiefs with the first overall pick.
In his latest mock draft, McShay has the Chiefs selecting Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. McShay admits that he isn't taking anything other than football into consideration, and Lotulelei's heart issues won't move him from the spot until there is some clarity on what the issues really are.
He points out that while the Chiefs have handled the offensive side of the ball in the offseason, he expects them to turn their focus to the defensive side of the ball during the draft. He expects Lotulelei to play the 5-technique, as a defensive end in new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton's 3-4 defense.
McShay's thought process is sound, as the addition of Lotulelei to former first-round picks Dontari Poe and Tyson Jackson would give the Chiefs a nightmarish young defensive front, and it would immediately become the strength of the defensive unit.
McShay is relying on Albert getting back to form and staying healthy. That is a gamble, and one that could pan out if Albert were to stay healthy, but it is a gamble in any way you look at it. I wouldn't be gambling in any way if I were running the show in Kansas City.
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah is another analyst to mock Joeckel to the Chiefs. In his analysis, he says that the trade for quarterback Alex Smith has paved the way for the Chiefs to select the top player in the draft.
It seems as if there is a consensus brewing that Joeckel is the drafts top player, and it should be no surprise for him to go No. 1 overall if that's the case.
Again, time will tell the tale about this draft's best player, but the reasoning behind the pick is solid.
Rob Rang of cbssports.com also predicts the Chiefs will select Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel, but his opinion is because of how polished and tested Joeckel is as a pass protector.
Rang's opinion is that Joeckel compares favorably to Minnesota Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil, who was selected with the fourth pick overall in the 2012 NFL draft. He also mentions that the pick would fill the hole that would be created if Albert were to move to the right side, or get kicked inside to play guard.
This is a sentiment that makes sense, especially with the news breaking of right tackle Eric Winston's release. If Albert is getting moved to the right side, or inside to play guard, Joeckel is absolutely the pick.
As we progress through these slides, it is becoming apparent that the experts really like Luke Joeckel, and Walter Football is no different. They are also projecting Joeckel to the Chiefs, and the reasons for doing so are echoed throughout this article.
Walter Football makes the argument that Albert is only signed in Kansas City for a one-year deal, and after the 2013 season he could be on his way out, leaving a gaping hole at left tackle.
There is also discussion on a possible trade that would get the Chiefs some draft stock they lost in the Alex Smith deal. Also, Walter Football gets in on the "Albert to guard" discussion. They also mention that Reid and company like to take "best player available," and that player is Joeckel.
It's starting to become clear that the best selection for the Chiefs is Joeckel, one I completely agree with.
Drafttek does a solid job of producing mock drafts using computer simulation and an analyst for each team to generate results. Like most of the other experts, they are projecting Joeckel to the Chiefs, and the reasons are similar to what others are saying.
Drafttek says that Joeckel is the best offensive tackle in the draft and perhaps the best player overall. There is also analysis that tackles drafted this high have a low bust rate, and there is safety with the pick.
There seems to be a "groupthink" consensus around Joeckel, and sometimes that can be very dangerous, but the consensus around Joeckel is accurate. He is the best player in this draft, and he potentially plays in a position of need for the Chiefs in 2013. He absolutely fills a hole for the 2014 season.
Dane Brugler of nfldraftscout.com is another expert to project an offensive tackle to the Chiefs. But it's not Luke Joeckel this time, its Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.
Brugler says that Fisher is the guy because of his strong play in Mobile, followed up with a great combine performance where he looked very athletic next to Joeckel.
All of the reasons hold true, as the left tackle position is addressed here because of Albert's injury concerns, the possibility that Albert moves positions, the fact that he is only signed to a one-year deal and the fact that there is no longer a need at quarterback.
We can argue whether the tackle should be Joeckel or Fisher. We can dissect them to determine which is best suited for what Kansas City wants to do with their offensive linemen. At the end of those types of questions, I see Joeckel as the best candidate to take over the job at left tackle.
If Reid has his way, he will want mobile offensive linemen. That's exactly what Joeckel is, as he has incredible feet and is ready in pass protection from the first day.
In summary, we essentially asked eight draft experts (seven others and myself) what they think the Chiefs should do with the first overall pick.
Of the eight that were asked, six told us that Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel was the guy. One was sold on Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and the other picked Central Michigan left tackle Eric Fisher.
We have read the reasons, we know all the subtleties as to why Joeckel should be the guy. 75 percent of the experts in this article think that Joeckel should be the pick. That's good enough to begin to think about penciling him into the first slot on the board.
Just be sure to use lead and have an eraser handy.