Tackle needy teams could provide trade options in the NFL Draft

4/3/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Jan 4, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies tackle Luke Joeckel (76) in action during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners during the 2013 Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium. The Aggies beat the Sooners  41-13. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY SportsConsidering the makeup of the 2013 NFL Draft class, it was believed that teams with early first-round picks would have a difficult time finding teams later in the first round that would be willing to trade up. With few surefire superstars eligible for the draft this year, and a deep class that could see several immediate impact players taken in the second round, there is little desire for teams to trade up to the top of the first round. In last year's draft, the Washington Redskins gave up a number of draft picks for the opportunity to move up and select Robert Griffin III, but there doesn't appear to be any RG3 caliber players this time around.

One position, however, could end up forcing someone to get aggressive. Whether they lost one in free agency or simply never had one, several teams near the top of this year's draft have holes at offensive tackle. There are several teams within striking distance of a top-notch tackle who have major needs on the offensive line.

It starts right at the top of the draft with the Kansas City Chiefs. After releasing right tackle Eric Winston and signing left tackle Branden Albert to a one-year franchise tender, many expect the Chiefs to select either Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher with the first overall pick. However, the Chiefs don't need a tackle the way some of these other teams do, and could be a trade candidate if another team feels they need to lock up one of the top tackles.

The Jaguars, who have the second overall pick, have a terrible offensive line. Their one good player in the trenches, Eugene Monroe, is entering the final year of his contract. The Jaguars could address the defensive side of the ball, but a tackle is a very realistic option.

Though I expect the Raiders to draft defense at third overall, their offensive line was awful last year and they could take Joeckel or Fisher if they are available.

With Jason Peters reportedly feeling a hundred percent, I wouldn't expect the Eagles to select a tackle, but some people with more knowledge than me have suggested that they will.

After losing Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus this offseason, the Lions have huge holes at both tackle positions. I think it is their biggest need, and they very well may reach for one at fifth overall if Joeckel and Fisher are gone.

The Cardinals locked up a solid quarterback by trading for Carson Palmer, so their biggest need is now clearly on the offensive line. Palmer may be an upgrade over Kevin Kolb, but if the immobile former-Raider doesn't have some time in the pocket, the offensive won't significantly improve. The Cardinals draft seventh overall.

The Chargers took a big cap hit to cut left tackle Jared Gaither after he essentially quit on them in 2012. Their offensive line was a weakness before the release of Gaither, and they also lost top guard Louis Vasquez in free agency. I'd expect the Chargers to draft a lineman at 11th overall.

Finally, we have the Dolphins, who lost Jake Long to the Rams in free agency. The Dolphins are reportedly targeting Lane Johnson - considered by many to be the draft's third best tackle - but will he be available at 12th overall? I can't see that happening.
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