In our NFL Mock Draft released earlier this week, we put West Virginia’s Geno Smith going number one overall to the Kansas City Chiefs. While I still think that is the pick, I am more confident in saying the #1 pick is a two person race between Smith and Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel.
The Aggie is not only considered the best offensive tackle in the draft but also perhaps the best overall player in the 2013 Draft Class.
If Kansas City opts for Joeckel, they could likely find solid value at the quarterback position in the second round. E.J. Manuel (Florida State), who declared that he is the best quarterback in the class, and Landry Jones (Oklahoma), who quarterback guru George Whitfield, Jr. said is comparable to Matt Ryan, will likely both be available when the Chiefs make their selection in Round 2.
The Chiefs could meet with as many as eight quarterbacks as they will likely target that position with one of their first two picks.
While the Chiefs will set the tone for the early part of the draft, most assume the Jaguars will select a pass rusher with Bjoern Werner (Florida State), Jarvis Jones (Georgia), or Damontre Moore (TAMU) being likely targets.
However, the Oakland Raiders could be a team to watch early in the draft at #3 as they may be looking to trade down. They do not have a second round pick this year, did not have a first or second rounder last year, and they have a host of needs. Adding more picks makes sense for the Raiders who could also be looking at entering next season without Carson Palmer, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Rolando McClain if they choose to cut those players.
Other players rumored to be in the “restructure or be cut” category include Nmadi Asomugha (Eagles), Michael Turner (Falcons), and Kevin Kolb (Arizona). If Asomugha or Kolb are jettisoned, that could impact the early part of the draft as it may force the Eagles to take a longer look at Dee Milliner (Alabama) at #4 and the Cardinals to consider a quarterback at #7.
Additional free agent news includes the fact that Joe Flacco’s agent met with the Ravens today. Flacco will be looking to be among the league’s highest paid quarterbacks, far exceeding the $7 million contract he had last season.
I would also expect the Dolphins to target signing a receiver, including Steelers’ Mike Wallace, in free agency and perhaps look at Cordarelle Patterson (Tennessee) and Keenan Allen (Cal) when they pick at #12.
Another note on Patterson includes that he and teammates Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers have ongoing side bets to see who will post the best numbers at the combine. Patterson will be looking to perhaps get inside the top 10 while Hunter will be looking to increase his chances at being selected in the first round.
Tomorrow, the Combine will really get rolling as offensive lineman and tight ends work out. Many will watch Joeckel to judge whether he can perhaps cement his case for #1 overall and the battle between Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame) and Zach Ertz (Stanford) for top tight end will certainly be an intriguing storyline tomorrow.
However, Manti Te’o will certainly steal the show when he addresses the media tomorrow. How well he answers questions in media interviews and with NFL teams will go a long way towards determining where the Notre Dame linebacker is selected.
Stay tuned to Breitbart Sports for updates on the NFL Combine and Follow Cole Muzio on Twitter @ColeMuzio for news and insights.