Luke Joeckel is a major reason Johnny Manziel is now a Heisman winner. (Photo Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Draft Chatter: Chiefs, Mocks and Rankings

The conference championship games are locked and loaded for Sunday afternoon. For fans of the other 28 teams their focus is primarily on how their favorite 53-man roster can be upgraded for the 2013 season. Free agency will naturally be a part of every front office’s equation in pursuit of improvement, but most – if not all – teams build their foundation through the draft.

Here in Kansas City we’ve been eyeing the upcoming draft for quite some time and that focus has been increased exponentially now that the Chiefs have hired a new General Manager, John Dorsey, and have already rebuilt their coaching staff under Andy Reid.

For chuckleheads like me, the draft has always held a special place. I will watch the draft of any sport whether I follow that league (MLB, NFL, and now MLS) or not (NHL and especially the NBA). What does that mean for you? Well, a heapin’ helping of NFL draft-related content for the next three months. Then after April 25th, and maybe even before,  you’ll start to see plenty of baseball related draft content heading into the 2013 MLB Draft this June.

Tonight we begin my foray into draft related topics and content (yes, yes I know I have several college basketball games to recap from Saturday) and I could think of no better place than the latest 2013 NFL Mock Draft (published today) from our network’s flagship –

With the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select …

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia University

For the rationale behind the pick I encourage you to head to the mock and read up, but to be frank, I’m going to be a little underwhelmed if the Chiefs really do pick Geno, or any QB, as things stand right now. Things can of course change in the next three months, but as massive as Kansas City’s QB hole is, I just don’t see the logic behind reaching for the best guy at the position. Don’t get me wrong, I like Geno Smith (far better than Matt Barkley) but I don’t believe he’s worthy of being the first overall selection, or a top-10 pick for that matter. Let someone else overextend for a signal caller, take the top player on the board, like OT Luke Joeckel, and spend your second round pick on the best QB still available. The way this class looks right now, there’s going to be a quality QB sitting there who very well could wind up being better than all of his peers.

Kansas City doesn’t have a glaring need along the offensive line, at least not like the one at QB, but as Chiefs fans you don’t have to dip too far back into history to remember what a stacked O-line can do for a decent QB and decent surrounding cast. Impressed by what Alex Smith and more recently Colin Kaepernick has done with the San Francisco 49ers? You don’t have to look any further than the big boys slinging slop in the trenches to see that they are major reason for their improved QB play.

As mentioned above, plenty can and will change between now and late April. There will be no shortage of guys that shoot up the various draft boards and rankings and countless others will slide. As things stand right now, however, I’m on the Joeckel bandwagon.

Swapping the Chiefs selection of Smith for Joeckel in the latest FanSided Mock Draft, and assuming Smith were to go elsewhere in the first round (and I have no doubt he will), only Geno, Tyler Wilson and Ryan Nassib would be off the board when Kansas City is on the clock for their second pick. That means USC’s Barkley, NC State’s Mike Glennon and Tennessee’s Tyler Bray, among others, would be available.

If you’re curious on where Geno Smith currently sits in some of the draft rankings, here you go:

In those same sources, Joeckel is ranked 1st, 3rd, 4th and 3rd overall and is universally ranked as the top OT available.

Tags: 2013 NFL Draft Geno Smith Kansas City Chiefs Luke Joeckel

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