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Draft King Analysis
February 23, 2013
Lou Pickney,

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It's NFL Combine time, that traditional start to over-analysis season that invariably sets in this time of year. Without football to watch, or actual stats to see change and accumulate, and moreover with evaluators finally having time to watch tape and break things down... some truths start to come out. Here are a few:

-Kansas City has no idea what it's going to do at #1 overall at this point. None. Ryan Lownes (who you really should follow on Twitter if you care about the draft) did a great job of breaking down what the Chiefs might do, but as he astutely noted, there are far too many variables in play to nail down what they might do. Last night might have made some novices to the draft process presume that the first two picks would be obvious locks immediately after the season, but the 2011 season and 2012 NFL Draft was an aberration, and not just because the NFL was in the first year of a new CBA. It's just not normal for a draft to have two top-tier talents like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III who looked like such can't miss talents.

It also set the bar incredibly high for QB prospects in this year's draft. The reality is that, while I'm a big fan of WVU QB Geno Smith and like his NFL chances, he doesn't have the mobility of Cam Newton or Andrew Luck or RG3. And that is a huge thing in the modern NFL, and while so-called "running QBs" usually end up getting hurt earlier or later (like RG3 and what almost happened to Cam Newton in the season-finale), the ability to scramble and buy time can make a huge difference, like what Ben Roethlisberger has done for years in Pittsburgh.

-On the megapush train: Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher and Florida DT Sharrif Floyd. Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson appears poised to jump on board as well, just in case you thought that the 4-3 defensive tackle prospects weren't going to be able to match the 4-3 defensive end crop as top as top-level talent volume goes. It's entirely possible that all three could end up being top ten picks, even if Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel and Utah DT Star Lotulelei also go in that range as well. There is still tremendous demand for top-tier talent on both sides of the line.

-What the Chiefs do in free agency will obviously impact what their needs will be at #1, but positions they target could also be a strong tell for what they have in mind. If they decide on going after Luke Joeckel, odds are that they won't make a run at the likes of Jake Long or Sebastian Vollmer or Phil Loadholt or Ryan Clady. Of the four listed, my anticipation had been that only Long would escape without being franchised, though news came out this week that the Saints won't use the tag on Vollmer. So we'll see.

My expectation is that the Chiefs will shop the pick around, find that there isn't proper demand, and end up using it on Joeckel. Remember that last year Washington gave up three first-round picks (including the #6 overall selection) to move up four spots to land St. Louis' #2 overall pick, which they used to draft Griffin. The notion that the Chiefs would get anything remotely close to that in this draft seems highly unlikely, and if they don't trade that top selection before the start of free agency, I suspect they will hold onto it all the way to day one of the draft on April 25.


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