The Kansas City Chiefs are widely believed to be in favor of selecting offensive tackle Luke Joeckel with the first pick of the 2013 NFL draft.
There are those who believe, though, that the Chiefs may opt for former Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher, but we’ll get more into that later.
What’s important before we begin is that you realize that almost surely one of these two top prospects will get their name called first at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday night.
The following breakdown supports that honor, swinging in Joeckel’s favor.
Kansas City Chiefs Shopping Branden Albert, No. 1 Pick
The Chiefs franchised left tackle Branden Albert during the offseason, but are looking to move the disgruntled big man, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder. Albert is apparently looking for a long-term commitment from a team vice playing under the $9.82 million franchise tag in 2013.
Kansas City may not be in a position to draft a top offensive tackle next season. That makes the selection of an OT a no-brainer whether Albert leaves through a trade or remains on the roster this season.
In addition to trying to move Albert, the Chiefs are also reportedly looking to trade the No. 1 overall selection.
Chiefs GM John Dorsey said that the team has received multiple offers for that pick and is considering “every option,” according to Lindsay H. Jones of USAToday.com.
Any potential trade-ups will also likely be to land the best offensive lineman in the draft. We'll find out soon if you believe that to be Joeckel or not.
Consensus on Joeckel over Eric Fisher?
Not so fast. Contrary reporting indicates that if they do stay atop the draft the Chiefs may select Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher over Joeckel.
Jay Glazer, a well-connected FOX Sports insider, thinks that it will be Fisher whose name is called first on Thursday night. NFL Network’s Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport echoed that opinion shortly after.
Joeckel has several big-name and respected analyst in his corner too. ESPN draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both mocked him to the Chiefs in their final pre-draft projections. Also, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King went with the former Texas A&M mauler as the first-overall selection in his final mock draft on Wednesday.
While these analysts are certainly in the loop, none of them have the ground-truth knowledge of what’s happening inside the Chief’s war room.
Instead, let’s take a look for ourselves as to why Joeckel is the better option for Kansas City, or whoever ends up picking first.
Why the Pick Will Be Joeckel
When attempting to choose between two prospects with as much potential as Joeckel and Fisher you have to go with the safer pick.
Joeckel is a prototype prospect at the left tackle position. He has quick feet, an impressive first step and the technique needed to protect a QB’s sacred blind side.
Fisher is possibly more powerful in run-blocking, according to an excellent analysis by Alex Dunlap of Bleacher Report. But as he points out—Joeckel is the better tactician.
Joeckel is more than adequate as a run-blocker due to his solid fundamental knowledge and experience at the position. He’s also unparalleled in pass protection due to his proper and refined technique.
ESPN’s Mark Schlereth also pointed out Joeckel’s knowledge at the line of scrimmage and superior understanding and positioning after the snap.
Joeckel isn’t the only one who is paying attention to the details. Jon Gruden (via ESPN Insider) described the prospect as a “detail freak” and compared him to Cleveland Browns OT Joe Thomas because he “does everything right.”
When looking for a franchise left tackle, it’s hard to go wrong with either of these two top prospects, but Joeckel is as close to a sure thing as a team will find.
Mike is a league-wide NFL columnist and Breaking News Team writer with Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for a good convo., analysis and breaking sports news updates:
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