The 2013 NFL Draft is shaping up much differently than the 2012 NFL Draft. Last season, Andrew Luck established himself as the clear cut first overall selection very early on, even if the Indianapolis Colts approached the process of evaluating him and Robert Griffin III with an open mind. This year, no prospect has really set himself apart from the field as the top pick, and the quarterback class isn't as top-heavy, leaving uncertainty at the top of the draft board. That being the case, "safe" picks can become very attractive, which opens the door for Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel to slip in and go first overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M is a prototypical left tackle prospect. He's tall (6'6"), athletic and has quick feet, which will allow him to deal with some of the freak athletes playing defensive end in the NFL. He could do a better job of keeping his hands inside in pass protection, but that's something that can be corrected pretty easily. Luke Joeckel isn't an overpowering run blocker, but many of the best left tackles in the NFL aren't. In a quarterback-driven league, one of the most important things a team can do is protect that quarterback's blind side.
With West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith being bandied about as a potential No. 1 overall selection, sometimes the discussion can turn into a "chicken or the egg" argument. Should the Kansas City Chiefs be looking to take their quarterback of the future or should they build the rest of the team so that when they do find the right quarterback, he can thrive with talent around him?
The real answer is neither. The Chiefs shouldn't be looking for anything other than the best player available: the player that moves them closer to becoming a contending team, while also evaluating if this player could potentially be a bust. Just as the Indianapolis Colts did a year ago, the chiefs can't go into the evaluation process dead set on a specific player or even a specific position. Sure, the player needs to be at one of the commodity positions, but don't limit yourself to taking a quarterback because you're picking first overall.
Taking that approach, Luke Joeckel stands out as the right choice. It's not the sexy pick, but it's a solid choice at an important position and one that is unlikely to totally backfire. Sure Geno Smith posted some gaudy numbers over the course of the season, but his performances against two of the better defenses he faced – Texas Tech and Kansas State – left a whole lot to be desired. Throwing him into a Chiefs offense that would lean on him to be make plays, and taking him out of the very quarterback friendly system of Dana Holgorsen could be disastrous.
Right now, the right pick is Luke Joeckel. And being that these guys won't be getting on a football field to play a game anytime between now and the 2013 NFL Draft, that's unlikely to change.
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