The 2013 NFL Draft has a degree of uncertainty not seen in years, and it’s all thanks to the quarterbacks.
In a normal draft year, the first round is dominated by quarterbacks as teams pin their hopes on finding a franchise signal caller in the first round. Last year, a strong crop of quarterbacks meant that players like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III shot to the top of the board well in advance of the opening night of the draft.
But the 2013 NFL Draft has a weak crop of quarterbacks, with none seeming to rise above to be a high first round selection.
The result is that mock drafts have as many different combinations as there are mock drafts. There isn’t much debate over the draft’s top players — which include offensive tackles Eric Fisher of Central Michigan and Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M and defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson of Missouri and Star Lotulelei of Utah.
But there’s no consensus of which player rises to the top, and who will hear their name called first by the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Sporting News puts Fisher at No. 1
“Possessing high upside and ideal length, along with a strong football IQ and polish to his game, Fisher gets the nod over Luke Joeckel,” the publication’s player rankings note.
CBS Sports agrees, giving Fisher the top spot. But fans surveyed by Sports Illustrated say Joeckel will be the top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Then there is the wild card. While this year’s class of quarterbacks is seen as the weakest in years, there are still many teams that will reach for a first-round quarterback in the hopes of finding a gem, even if the quarterbacks don’t stand out as much.
The consensus seems to be that West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is at the top of the class, and mock drafts place him anywhere from the top three to the mid-teens. It’s likely that one of the teams with a high pick and uncertainty at quarterback — like the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, or Philadelphia Eagles — could call Smith’s name if he’s still on the board.
The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft kicks off at 8 pm ET Thursday on ESPN and NFL Network.