Draft King Analysis|
March 25, 2013
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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With most of the major free agency moves having happened, some things are appearing more and more likely to happen going into the 2013 NFL Draft. To take it from the top...
-Kansas City is shopping OT Branden Albert as per Adam Schefter, reportedly looking for a 2013 second-rounder and a 2014 pick of some sort. All signs point to Luke Joeckel going #1 to the Chiefs at this point even if that trade doesn't go through, but remember that Kansas City gave up their 2013 second-rounder as part of the trade with the 49ers for QB Alex Smith, so I would guess the Chiefs will do everything they can to find a willing taker.
Trading for Albert is a sucker's move in my opinion, a tweener who could be a great guard but seems adamsnt about playing tackle. His franchise tag number is for the tackle position so I don't blame him for pushing to play tackle, but he was a tweener coming out of Virginia who should have been kept at guard. If you're trading for Albert to be your cornerstone blind side OT, you're making a mistake. And if you're not, why would you give up a 2013 second-rounder plus another selection in 2014 to acquire him?
-It was refreshing to read that I was not alone in thinking that Jacksonville is testing the market with the talk of being interested in WVU QB Geno Smith. If you're the Jaguars and have interest in several top-tier 4-3 DE prospects (and this draft has some great ones, albeit without a clear cut top guy like Mario Williams or Julius Peppers), the smart money move is to slide down a few spots since you can almost for sure still get one of your top two or three DEs.
If I'm a Bills fan, I'm scared of what GM Buddy Nix might do. If the Bills miss the playoffs again this year, Nix would seem a very likely candidate to be fired after the season. Nix was responsible for signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to that massive contract with $24 million guaranteed in 2011, he is on the record as saying the Bills need a franchise quarterback, and don't forget that Bills owner Ralph Wilson is 94 years old.
So if you're new Jaguars GM David Caldwell, don't you want to see what you can talk the Bills into doing? Last year the Redskins gave up two first-round picks and a second-round pick to St. Louis to move from #6 to #2 and be in position to draft Robert Griffin III. And while Buffalo might not make that rich of an offer... there is strong precedent there. Moreover, with Arizona there is a potential additional suitor to drive the price up, much like Cleveland did for the Rams last year. And, just like Cleveland was ahead of Washington in the draft order, Arizona is ahead of Buffalo this year.
To be clear, Geno Smith is not regarded as the same quality prospect that RG3 was. But with such demand for elite QBs in the modern NFL to go with a scarcity at the position in free agency, and with Smith having broken away as the top QB prospect on nearly every draft board, Caldwell would be wise to see between now and the start of the draft just how much he can extract from any possible trade partners. Even if you only get one first-rounders and two second-rounders, that is still a huge windfall... and the Jaguars might end up with the guy they would take at #2 down at #7 or #8.
-Oakland might also be able to find interested trading partners for the #3 overall pick presuming that Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher is on the board at that spot. Philadelphia at #4 has huge question marks at the position, and even if Jason Peters successfully continues his recovery from the achilles injury that cost him his 2012 season, the Eagles could potentially be interested. Ditto for Detroit at #5 after losing right OT Gosder Cherilus in free agency (prompting this response by Colts owner Jim Irsay after Indianapolis signed him) and then left OT Jeff Backus to retirement. Remember that the Raiders' 2013 second-round selection belongs to Cincinnati thanks to Hue Jackson mortgaging the team's future in 2011 in the Carson Palmer debacle of a trade.
One thing that changed considerably under the new NFL CBA is the ability for teams to trade into and out of the top five. Just ask the Rams, who were leapfrogged by the Jaguars for Justin Blackmon at the #5 spot. Minnesota even managed to squeeze three picks out of Cleveland to move up one spot to draft Trent Richardson -- and the Vikings sure weren't going to take Richardson considering that they already had Adrian Peterson on their roster. Minnesota's bluffing in the past might have seemed unrealistic, particularly with their strong need at offensive tackle and the presence of Matt Kalil on the board. But with the possibility of trading out of the top five being much more of a factor than the pre 2011 CBA days, the Vikings had enough leverage to get the Browns to blink and give up the trio of picks to ensure they got Richardson.
If nothing else, the top part of the draft is more of a poker game than ever. And while it makes accurate projections for people like me more difficult, it makes for an overall more interesting process to watch play out -- and there's something to be said for that.
-There is talk that the Cardinals are interested in Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib in round two. Entirely possible, but remember this time-honored tradition of the NFL Draft: the further you get from the top, the less likely a projected matchup is to happen, even when it passes the common sense test. That's not to say that Arizona won't take Nassib at #38 overall (or another spot), but keep in mind that this is misdirection season.
-If the Browns decide that Paul Kruger (who got $20M guaranteed) isn't enough of a pass-rushing threat on his own, the new administration in Cleveland could opt to go for someone like Jarvis Jones or Dion Jordan. One thing the Browns have critically lacked since their 1999 return to the NFL is any sort of bona fide pass rush threat outside of Jamir Miller's freakishly good 2001 season. Younger fans might not remember that Miller sadly suffered what ended up being a career-ending achilles injury in the 2002 preseason. Combine that sordid history with the reality that Kruger has only started seven career games, and I'm thinking more and more that we'll see Cleveland go 3-4 OLB at #6. Barring a trade, the Browns won't draft again until the third-round, so they need to fill a need if possible with their first-round selection.