NFL Draft: 3 Left Tackles / 7 Needy Teams


Jan 4, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas A

By James Fedewa

The NFL Draft is next week and the Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock. There are three top tier left tackles in 2013 NFL draft and all should be able to start day one: Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M), Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) and Lane Johnson (Oklahoma). Fans and analysts anticipate the Chiefs selecting left tackle Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M), even though they currently have a very good left tackle Branden Albert. There are seven teams that could draft a left tackle in the first round (Chiefs, Jaguars, Eagles, Lions, Cardinals, Chargers and Dolphins). Seven teams, three elite left tackle prospects…

Base on 1st round projections and objective estimations, here are some (subjective) percentages of positional team-needs for those 7 left tackle needy teams (within the first dozen draft picks):

  1. Chiefs (#1 pick): Joeckel is the consensus prediction. (60% chance of drafting a LT / 25% Defensive Line / 15% Outside Linebacker)
  2. Jaguars (#2 pick): Currently have a quality left tackle in Eugene Monroe. He’ll be a free agent next season (and a franchise tag could be set for him in 2014, if necessary). Not projected to draft a left tackle, but could happen. (20% chance of drafting a LT / 50% pass rusher / 30% quarterback)
  3. Eagles (#4 pick): Currently have a very good left tackle (Jason Peters), but he’s returning from a major Achilles injury. At 31 years old, Peters is expected back healthy, but Philadelphia could draft a left tackle to get younger (or BPA). The Eagles are changing defensive schemes to a 3-4 base and need to draft a defensive players early to fit their new system (20% chance of drafting a LT / 20% quarterback / 20% defensive line / 20% pass rusher / 20% cornerback)
  4. Lions (#5 pick): Lost both of their tackles from retirement and free agency. Detroit did draft a first round tackle in the 2012 draft (Riley Rieff), but is he a right or left tackle? The Lions could draft another left tackle early, but have several holes to fill. They could draft a right tackle later in the draft for less. (30% chance of drafting a LT / need a 30% pass rusher / 40% cornerback)
  5. Cardinals (#7 pick): Currently have a left tackle in Levi Brown, who was lost early in 2012 with a season ending injury. Brown is an average left tackle but an average left tackle is still a good left tackle. They could upgrade at left tackle and shift Brown to right tackle, but current 2nd year starter Bobby Massie played very well and improved down the stretch. (30% chance of drafting a LT / 30% pass rusher / 20% guard / 20% Quarterback)
  6. Chargers (#11 pick): San Diego cut left tackle Jared Gaither after one terrible season, signed backup left tackle King Dunlap and there is an obvious hole and need (50% chance of drafting a left tackle / 20% Guard / 15% defensive tackle / 15% pass rusher)
  7. Dolphins (#12): Lost left tackle Jake Long to free agency, but drafted projected replacement Jonathan Martin in 2012. Could trade up to get a left tackle in the draft, but have several other needs. In all likely hood, the top three left tackles should be unavailable at #12(15% chance of drafting a left tackle from trading up / 40% cornerback / 30% pass rusher / 15% right tackle)

So who’s going where?

For the above 7 teams (baring any other trade, salary cap cuts or trades), based on the estimated team-need (TN) percentages and best player available (BPA), projections may look like:

  • Chiefs (BPA): Luke Joeckel, LT Texas A&M
  • Jaguars (BPA): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
  • Eagles (TN): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  • Lions (TN): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
  • Cardinals (TN): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
  • Chargers (BPA): Eric Fisher, LT, Central Michigan
  • Dolphins (BPA): Lane Johnson, LT, Oklahoma