For weeks, it was perceived that Luke Joeckel (or at least a left tackle) was the heavy favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Chiefs needed a left tackle with Branden Albert hitting free agency, and both Joeckel and Eric Fisher were deemed worthy of being chosen first in this terribly poor first-round draft class.
And then Monday afternoon happened. In one fell swoop, Kansas City re-signed Dwayne Bowe (see Bowe signing grade here) and franchised Albert, which caused a frenzy on Twitter (@walterfootball). "Who would be the pick now?" everyone asked. Some people were adamant that it was down to two or three new prospects. Others, including the NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, maintained that Joeckel and Fisher were still options. Many just said they were clueless.
There were several names discussed for the top pick: Joeckel, Fisher, Star Lotulelei. Sharrif Floyd, Dee Milliner and Dion Jordan. I'm going to run through each and reason why they both fit and don't make sense. After that, vote for whom you think the Chiefs will pick first in the 2013 NFL Draft (you can skip ahead by clicking the link).
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M Why Luke Joeckel Fits: Just because the Chiefs franchised Albert doesn't mean the two left tackles are out of the picture. Albert has a 1-year deal in place. After that, he's gone unless Kansas City signs him to a long-term contract. That could happen, but Albert has a history of back issues. Would the Chiefs be willing to give him a big deal with that in mind?
There's also a chance Albert will be dealt. The Chiefs lost two second-day selections in the Alex Smith deal, so it would be wise for them to recoup those picks. They can easily trade Albert to a team in need of a tackle that won't have a chance to take Joeckel, Fisher or even Lane Johnson. The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger said there's a chance it'll happen. The Bears and Colts come to mind as possible trading partners.
Even if Albert isn't moved anywhere, he could always slide inside to guard. He recently told the media that he has no desire to do this, but he does have experience at the position, having played it in Virginia. The Chiefs have a massive hole at one of the guard positions, so this could be a short-term fix.
The greatest point is that Kansas City's front office has said all along that it plans on drafting the best player available. What if that's Joeckel? A franchise left tackle would be a valuable asset, so is Andy Reid willing to throw that away because of a one-year deal with a lineman who has back problems?
Why Luke Joeckel Doesn't Fit: Albert will be earning close to $10 million this year. That's a hell of a lot of money to pay guard. Then again, the Chiefs did just make Dustin Colquitt the highest-paid punter in the NFL, so maybe they're willing to throw money around.
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan Why Eric Fisher Fits: The same reasons as Joeckel.
Why Eric Fisher Doesn't Fit: The same reasons as Joeckel. It's also worth noting that as written in my 2013 NFL Draft Team Rumors page, the Chiefs prefer Joeckel over Fisher, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport (as well as my own Chiefs' source).
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah Why Star Lotulelei Fits: Star Lotulelei would be considered the heavy favorite now if it weren't for his heart condition. Lotulelei could be deemed the top prospect in this draft, which would fit Kansas City's best-available mantra. He also fill a huge need on the defensive line. Both Tyson Jackson and Allen Bailey struggled there last year, and Jackson could be released because of salary implications. Lotulelei is a perfect fit in the Chiefs' 3-4.
Why Star Lotulelei Doesn't Fit: The only thing holding this back from being a near-lock is Lotulelei's heart. Teams are still waiting to hear feedback, but what if Lotulelei isn't cleared to play? There's some speculation that he lost about 10 pounds prior to the Combine because of this problem. Will Kansas City's front office be willing to use the No. 1 overall selection on a prospect whose heart could give out at a moment's notice?
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida Why Sharrif Floyd Fits: Like Lotulelei, Sharrif Floyd could easily sit atop Kansas City's big board as the No. 1 prospect in this class. And also like Lotulelei, Floyd would fill a huge hole on the defensive line.
Why Sharrif Floyd Doesn't Fit: If the Chiefs were running a 4-3, this selection would make so much sense. But they're not. Floyd could work in the 3-4, but there are experts adamant that he would just be another Glenn Dorsey in that scheme. I don't think he'd be that bad, but there's no denying that Floyd's best fit would be a in 4-3 as a three-technique (like Warren Sapp).
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama Why Dee Milliner Fits: The Chiefs need cornerback... depth?
Why Dee Milliner Doesn't Fit: A cornerback has never gone No. 1 overall. It's never happened. A corner hasn't even been picked in the top four since Charles Woodson in 1998. And Milliner is no Woodson. Plus, corner isn't even as big of a need for the Chiefs because they have two good ones in Brandon Flowers and Javier Arenas. The latter played well across from Flowers when he was elevated into the starting lineup in the wake of Stanford Routt's release in the middle of the 2012 season. The Chiefs may want Arenas in the nickel role, but spending the first-overall selection to make that happen seems kind of silly.
Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon Why Dion Jordan Fits: Jordan could be Kansas City's No. 1 prospect.
Why Dion Jordan Doesn't Fit: Where would Jordan play with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston starting at the rush linebacker position? I've never heard of a team using the No. 1 overall selection on a player who would automatically be a backup for at least one year. Jordan makes zero sense to me. I don't know why he was even brought up.
What do you think? Whom will the Chiefs pick first overall in the 2013 NFL Draft?