By virtue of a tiebreaker over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Kansas City Chiefs will pick first in the upcoming NFL draft. While that distinction usually comes with a certain buzz, new general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid are in a peculiar spot.
Coming off a disappointing 2-14 season, it would seem that the Chiefs are in position to take the best available player with every pick in hopes that there would be an immediate impact up and down the roster.
Dorsey brings to Kansas City—from his time with the Green Bay Packers—a standout track record when it comes to pinpointing talent at the collegiate level. He also brings in the specific best-player-available approach.
However, that philosophy—along with a ranking of team needs—is how NFL front offices operate.
If the best available player when a team’s number is called every year is a defensive end, that team will eventually have to look at other positions.
While the Chiefs have a number of areas they will be looking to shore up with the draft—quarterback, inside linebacker, cornerback, free safety, wide receiver, offensive guard and defensive end as the most apparent—those positions (other than quarterback) typically aren’t coveted with the No. 1 overall pick.
Since there isn’t a sure-fire signal-caller waiting to be taken at the top, Kansas City’s best bet is to find a viable trading partner to acquire extra picks and scale back in the draft where there is more value.
How the Chiefs approach the top pick, however, all hinges on their intentions with starting left tackle Branden Albert.
Albert is a free agent this offseason and will certainly command top dollar for his position. He is also coming off a back injury in 2012, so there could be a bit of trepidation for Kansas City to commit too much money or years his way.
Depending on what the Chiefs decide to do with Albert, the best-player-available approach will begin to work itself out—and Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel seems to fit the bill, according to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller.
Having either Albert or Joeckel protecting the backside of your quarterback for the next half-decade is certainly a favorable position to be in. It just doesn’t make much sense to employ both, seeming that Albert isn’t interested in a position switch at this point in his career (via NBC Sports).
Regardless of what happens from now until April, the Chiefs have one major decision to make before being able to properly assess how they foresee the draft going for them.
Re-signing Albert will give the Chiefs more flexibility with the top pick. Letting him walk should lead to Joeckel calling Kansas City his new home.
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