- Mel Kiper Jr., Football analyst
As I evaluate this class, and talk to people around the NFL doing the same, my sense is for a quarterback to be taken in Round 1, there's a good chance a trade will be involved. At least based on current evals of the class.
For teams like Kansas City and Arizona, the value of the pick of a QB in the top 10 just doesn't make a lot of sense, but they could be in play to trade up and take a player like Matt Barkley, Geno Smith or Mike Glennon somewhere late in Round 1. Or, they could forego an early pick altogether and trade down. But unless the QB picture really changes -- and Indy as well as pro days really could shift things -- you can definitely see trades coming into play.
But I can't reflect trades here, only where the picks currently stand. So keep that in mind as you dive in for 2.0. I expect we'll see some changes after the combine in two weeks. As always, juniors and third-year sophomores are noted with an asterisk.
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Luke JoeckelKansas City Chiefs (2-14)
COLLEGE: Texas A&M
Analysis: At this point the Chiefs could be weighing at least a handful of players for this spot, if they stay here. As of now, at No. 1, a quarterback shouldn't be in the mix. So I think fans needs to consider that K.C. could be looking to secure the best available player here, period. From there, they either consider a QB with their first pick in Round 2, or perhaps the option of trading into the late first to mazimize value. As for Joeckel, at this time he probably represents the best guaranteed production on the pick value. A gifted technician at left tackle, he is already capable of handling good NFL pass-rushers, and could hold down the position for 10 years. Regardless, the Chiefs will be thinking about total draft value and strategy, not just a single pick here.
Damontre Moore *Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
COLLEGE: Texas A&M
Analysis: I'm staying with this selection. The Jaguars were again arguably among the worst pass-rushing teams in the NFL in 2012, and need a guaranteed difference-maker. Moore is that kind of player. I've had a pass-rusher as a top need for this franchise going on four years, and Moore checks that off the list. He's an exceptionally productive defensive end prospect with very good quickness, long arms and elite closing burst as a rusher. He will get to the quarterback, period. The Jags should be a better team in 2013, but it's not just based on whether they get better at quarterback.
Star LotuleleiOakland Raiders (4-12)
Analysis: The Raiders are really compelled to take the best player available. They're desperate for immediate impact, and Lotulelei is one of those players that makes everybody around him better. He demands multiple blockers or he'll collapse the pocket, and his instincts, vision, bust and power effect both the pass and the run. Oakland also has needs at linebacker, wide receiver and cornerback, but outside of maybe Dee Milliner, I don't think the Raiders can match the value of this pick, much less improve on it.
2dEric D. Williams
1dMel Kiper Jr.