For only the second time in the past 16 years, the debate at the top of the NFL Draft doesn’t involve a quarterback.
“This is a really a meat and potatoes draft, certainly early in the first couple of rounds with linemen, which is exciting,” said Howie Roseman, general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, who hold the fourth overall pick. “It may not be the flashiest thing, but it’s exciting.”
Only two of the 23 prospects ticketed to attend the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City are quarterbacks, and neither Geno Smith of West Virginia nor Florida State’s EJ Manuel are considered an option for the Kansas City Chiefs with the No. 1 overall pick.
Starting with the Chiefs and their debuting brain trust of coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey, a run on offensive tackles might be the story tonight. The Jacksonville Jaguars own the second pick and also have a first-year team at coach, Gus Bradley, and general manager. David Caldwell, 39, is the second-youngest general manager in the NFL behind Roseman (37).
Texas A&M junior Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher are ranked 1-2 overall by NFLDraftScout.com.
Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, another left tackle, and Alabama junior right tackle D.J. Fluker could also be chosen in the top 20. Joeckel would be the first Texas A&M player drafted No. 1 overall. No Mid-American Conference player has been selected earlier in the first round than Byron Leftwich.
Jacksonville drafted Leftwich seventh in 2003. In the past 15 years, only once has an offensive tackle been drafted No. 1: Michigan’s Jake Long was taken first by the Miami Dolphins in 2008.
If an offensive lineman goes No. 1 for the fourth time since 1968, it would be only the third time in 13 years that a quarterback wasn’t the top pick.