The NFL Draft is one of my favorite days in sports. It represents excitement and optimism, genuine enthusiasm for your favorite team in the most parity-driven sport in America. Among other things (gambling, one game a week, fantasy football, etc.), that is why it America’s game.
Without further ado, here is my 2013 NFL Mock Draft:
1) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS select Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M
Not gonna lie. The fact that @JayGlazer thinks the Chiefs are going to take Eric Fisher instead really has me worried. My personal opinion is that Glazer, for whatever reason, has become the most plugged-in NFL reporter in the industry. Maybe it’s because players like him so much and his MMA-training academy.
Bottom line Chiefs fans, don’t be surprised if it’s Fisher here instead of Joeckel.
That said, Joeckel is the safer pick and he did his work against Big XII and SEC competition, not the MAC.
Now here’s the issue: What to do with current LT Branden Albert, who the organization tendered as the franchise player this year at $9.8 million? Another element that may have the team leaning towards Fisher is his apparent willingness to play on the right side compared to Joeckel. If KC can’t move Albert, Fisher can play right tackle his first year in the league or until Albert is out of the equation.
Now, obviously the Chiefs would like to trade Albert, and it appears they are close with the Miami Dolphins. The Chiefs want the Dolphins first pick in the second round (No. 42), but they may have to settle for their other pick in round two (No. 54). That shouldn’t worry Chiefs management. This draft is so deep in the second and third rounds. There will be plenty of quality prospects available at that juncture in the draft.
2) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS select Eric Fisher, LT, Central Michigan
Former Missouri Tiger QB Blaine Gabbert is safe for at least one more year – IF he can beat out Chad Henne for the starting job, which is absolutely no guarantee.
For some reason, new GM Dave Caldwell has been super-conservative with Jacksonville’s future. He has already come out and said that the team will not extend a contract extension offer to current LT Eugene Monroe, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2009 draft and is actually a very good player.
Caldwell isn’t even guaranteeing an extension to RB Maurice Jones-Drew!
Fisher, who has a higher ceiling than Joeckel because of his elite athleticism and perceived nastier demeanor on the field, can play right tackle this year while the organization figures out what to do with Monroe after 2013.
Quarterback, by the way, should be one of the better positions to pick from in the 2014 draft, especially if Johnny Manziel comes out, so I’m consider 2013 a throwaway season for the Jags so they can be appropriately aligned in the 2014 draft to take their QB of the future.
3) OAKLAND RAIDERS select Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
This young man was once considered the best prospect in the draft pool. He’s a fierce and destructive player when engaged in the game.
Playing at Utah, I’m sure the Oakland scouts and decision-makers have seen a ton of Lotulelei. He’s the same caliber prospect at this position as Ndamukong Suh and Haloti Ngata were coming out of college.
Star had a medical issue pop up with his heart – very serious – during the pre-draft testing phase, but doctors have since cleared him of any issue.
4) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES select E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
The first big surprise of the draft!
New head coach Chip Kelly is bringing his now-famous brand of play-calling and offensive scheme to the NFL. Current QB Michael Vick would seemingly be the perfect player to quarterback Kelly’s “space-and-pace, fastbreak” style of football.
Vick, however, is coming off an awful year. He’s 32 years old. He’s played 16 games in a season just once in his career. And he’s turned the ball over 29 times the past two seasons while producing only 32 touchdowns.
E.J. Manuel, first of all, is a tremendous athlete. He ran the second fastest forty (4.65 seconds) of any QB at the combine. He was the Most Outstanding Player in the 2013 Senior Bowl. He was 21-6 as a starter at Florida State. He was near flawless in the Jon Gruden QB Camp series on ESPN. He’s also 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds.
Manuel may not start right away, because Vick still has a little left in the tank, but rest assured Kelly gets his QB of the future in E.J. Manuel.
5) DETROIT LIONS select Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, DE, BYU