For more than two months, the American public has been without its beloved gridiron entertainment. Instead, the focus right now is on the NBA playoffs and the beginning of Major League Baseball.
For more than two months, the American public has been without its beloved gridiron entertainment. Instead, the focus right now is on the NBA playoffs and the beginning of Major League Baseball. Today marks one of the few times in the lull between the Super Bowl in early February and the kickoff of the new NFL season in September that professional football becomes a prominent news item—over the next three days, everyone will be watching the 2013 NFL draft.
The first five teams will have quite a pool of talent to choose from. The top pick has gone to the Kansas City Chiefs, who somehow managed to lose 14 games out of 16 last year. Since they don’t need a quarterback anymore after acquiring Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers in the offseason, the Chiefs are likely to pick offensive tackle Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M. Kansas City’s offense last year lacked, shall we say, everything, so it makes sense that they would try to rebuild their offensive line and give Smith a chance to connect.
After that first pick the rest of the first round is up in the air, but there are some prospects that should be taken in the top 10. While last year’s draft had two of the most highly touted college quarterbacks ever up for grabs (Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor), this year’s draft is loaded with premium offensive tackles. Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan may not be as highly regarded as Joeckel, but he’s no slouch. Fisher, who weighs in at more than 300 pounds and possesses exceptional agility, should provide solid pass protection to any team that snatches him up. Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson has the same build as Fisher, is equally light on his feet and also has a fantastic talent for reading the defense. Expect the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles to all be in the market for these two players in the first round.
Of the quarterbacks, West Virginia’s Geno Smith may be the only one worth grabbing early on. The Cleveland Browns, who have the sixth pick, are the team most likely to choose Smith in the first round as they don’t have a second-round pick after selecting Josh Gordon in the 2012 supplemental draft. The Jaguars, who also lost 14 games last year, could pick up Smith in the second round if he’s passed up in the first.
No team is really in need of a quarterback, however, at least not any of the quarterbacks available this year. After all, as much fun as it is to see your favorite team pad their roster with potential talent, there is just no telling if college triumphs will translate into NFL success. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell, a Louisiana State star who garnered numerous awards during his college career, skipped his senior year in order to enter the NFL draft in 2007. The Oakland Raiders chose Russell with the No. 1 pick, leading to a chapter in the franchise’s history that Raiders fans would very much like to forget. Regarded as the biggest bust in draft history, Russell started in 25 games and managed to salvage a win out of seven of those. There are no sure things in the NFL draft—only time will tell if this year’s prospects will become the MVPs of the future or the cautionary tales that haunt the dreams of an entire fan base.