The first round of the NFL draft could be another big night for Texas A&M football as left tackle Luke Joeckel stands a good chance to be the first Aggie ever selected No. 1.
Kansas City, which has the top selection, is apparently deciding between Joeckel, the 6-foot-6-inch, 306-pounder from Arlington, and another left tackle, Eric Fisher, of Central Michigan.
The American-Statesman’s final mock draft has the Chiefs taking Joeckel, the 2012 Outland Trophy winner as college football’s best interior lineman.
Joeckel is No. 1 on Mel Kiper’s big board at ESPN.com and No. 3 on Mike Mayock’s list at NFL.com. Mayock has Fisher No. 1 and Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd No. 2.
For the record, the Chiefs say they are considering four players, with Oregon pass rusher Dion Jordan and BYU defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah possibly the other two.
Joeckel might not be the only Aggie who hears his name called Thursday night. Defensive end-outside linebacker Damontre Moore is a versatile edge rusher whose 12.5 sacks at A&M in 2012 could land him in the late stages of round one.
Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro is a good bet for the middle of the first round, possibly to St. Louis at 16 or Pittsburgh at 17. Vaccaro is considered the best at his position.
Texas defensive end Alex Okafor from Pflugerville has a second-round grade by most. USA Today ranks him 34th overall, and it’s possible he sneaks into the bottom of the first round.
The quarterback situation will be fascinating. West Virginia’s Geno Smith could go anywhere from 2 to 13 but, if he slides past the Jets at No. 13, he could fall a long way because no one else below that needs a QB.
In that scenario, someone probably would trade up into the second half of the round to grab Smith, whose grade is all over the map.
NFL MOCK DRAFT
American-Statesman staff writer Kevin Lyttle forecasts Thursday’s first round:
Team; Player; Pos.; College
1. Kansas City; Luke Joeckel; OT; Texas A&M
Left tackle is the most important position on offense next to quarterback.
2. Jacksonville; Dion Jordan; DE-OLB; Oregon
New coach Gus Bradley is a defensive mind in dire need of impact player there.
3. Oakland; Sharrif Floyd; DT; Florida
Raiders were terrible against the run, must rebuild defense from inside out.
4. Philadelphia; Eric Fisher; OT; Central Michigan
Chip Kelly can’t find his future QB here, but franchise left tackle is the ticket.
5. Detroit; Ezekiel Ansah; DE; BYU
Lions lost all four starters on edge of offensive and defensive lines.
6. Cleveland; Dee Milliner; CB; Alabama
Browns, still eyeing QBs, will try to move down to acquire extra picks.
7. Arizona; Lane Johnson; OT; Oklahoma
Third potential franchise left tackle comes off board to needy team.
8. Buffalo; Geno Smith; QB; West Virginia
Bills know they’re not going anywhere until they get real quarterback.
9. N.Y. Jets; Barkevious Mingo; OLB; LSU
Rex Ryan is in serious need of pass rusher who can create havoc.
10. Tennessee; Sheldon Richardson; DT; Missouri
Titans D screams overhaul after allowing franchise-worst 471 points.
11. San Diego; Jonathan Cooper; OG; North Carolina
Explosive run blocker and excellent pass protector, especially for guard.
12. Miami; Chance Warmack; OG; Alabama
Bulldozer guard could have best career of all these Crimson Tide stars.
13. N.Y. Jets; Tavon Austin; WR; West Virginia
Mark Sanchez might look lot better if this jitterbug is catching his passes.
14. Carolina; Star Lotulelei; DT; Utah
Panthers new GM Dave Gettleman says he wants some ‘big uglies.’
15. New Orleans; Jarvis Jones; OLB; Georgia
Elite pass rusher is priority No. 1 for D that allowed ridiculous 7,042 yards.
16. St. Louis; Kenny Vaccaro; S; Texas
Rams need RB, WR, but there’s no value for those positions with this pick.
17. Pittsburgh; Tyler Eifert; TE; Notre Dame
Steelers also could use RB, WR, but they take new toy for Roethlisberger.
18. Dallas; D.J. Fluker; OT; Alabama
Cowboys continue pounding away to improve ragged offensive line.
19. N.Y. Giants; Sylvester Williams; DT; North Carolina
To get back on playoff train, Giants must plug interior holes in porous D.
20. Chicago; Cordarrelle Patterson; WR; Tennessee
Bears must do better for Jay Cutler than Earl Bennett as No. 2 wideout.
21. Cincinnati; Eddie Lacy; RB; Alabama
Bruising running back a good fit when dealing with Steelers, Ravens.
22. St. Louis; Robert Woods; WR; Southern Cal
Sam Bradford will never succeed if he doesn’t get better receivers.
23. Minnesota; Manti Te’o; ILB; Notre Dame
Smaller market could be right spot for gullible hoax victim.
24. Indianapolis; D.J. Hayden; CB; Houston
Fast-rising Hayden survived near-death experience last fall.
25. Minnesota; Xavier Rhodes; CB; Florida State
Value pick here as 6-2, 210-pound corner has top-15 talent.
26. Green Bay; Matt Elam; S; Florida
Safety who brings the hammer can transform soft secondary.
27. Houston; Justin Hunter; WR; Tennessee
Texans need a No. 2 receiver before they’re Super Bowl material.
28. Denver; Bjoern Werner; DE; Florida State
High-ceiling rush end from Germany a terrific fit for Broncos.
29. New England; Damontre Moore; DE; Texas A&M
Belichick will go back to game film, ignore this Aggie’s bad combine.
30. Atlanta; Desmond Trufant; CB; Washington
Falcons lost both starting corners, so that’s huge area of concern.
31. San Francisco; Alex Okafor; DE; Texas
Pflugerville ex might unite with Texas exes Colt McCoy, Phil Dawson.
32. Baltimore; Eric Reid; S; LSU
Ravens can transition from iconic safety Ed Reed to promising Eric Reid.