Offensive tackles Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel were the first two picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, the first time since 1968 that the top two picks were offensive linemen. Seven more blockers were selected in the subsequent 30 picks Thursday.
Fisher became only the fourth offensive lineman to be selected with the first overall pick in the NFL draft. The Central Michigan left tackle was chosen No. 1 Thursday by the Kansas City Chiefs, who held the top pick for the first time in modern draft history (since 1967).
“I can’t even process what’s happening right now, this is a dream come true,” Fisher said Thursday. “I’m pumped to be a Chief.”
Fisher has 32 career starts, including four at right tackle, leaving open the possibility that he could play the right side if the Chiefs cannot find a taker for franchise-tagged tackle Branden Albert. He was the first selection of the new Chiefs’ regime comprised of head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey. The Chiefs were 32nd in offense and passing — and first in turnovers — in 2012.
Joeckel, a junior from Texas A&M, solidifies the Jaguars’ offensive line, even if first-year coach Gus Bradley still isn’t certain of the identity of his starting quarterback. Bradley said Joeckel will start as a right tackle with Eugene Monroe on the left side.
“Being the No. 2 pick doesn’t even matter anymore,” Joeckel said. “I have to go prove myself now.”
What felt like a long wait for Fisher — who learned he was the top pick moments before the rest of the world because of cell phone power issues — was much longer for West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. The Heisman finalists are among the top-ranked players available at the start of the second round Friday.
The Raiders traded the third overall pick to the Miami Dolphins, who used the pick to draft defensive end Dion Jordan from Oregon. Miami dealt its 12th pick and a second-rounder (42nd overall) to the Raiders. Jordan became the first Oregon player drafted in the top 10 and the highest overall pick since Haloti Ngata (12th, 2006).
The Eagles, in their first draft without Reid since 1998, continued the offensive tackle theme, drafting Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, a unique athlete who played quarterback in high school and made only 13 career starts. Johnson is viewed as an ideal fit for coach Chip Kelly’s fast-breaking, no-huddle offense.
Two more pass rushers with unique speed and agility followed before the Arizona Cardinals snagged another offensive lineman with the seventh pick. The Detroit Lions grabbed BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, born in Ghana and a football neophyte compared by scouts to Giants’ All-Pro Jason Pierre-Paul, and the Browns drafted LSU outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo.
Guard Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina), who has 47 career starts and the ability to play center, can help solidify the Cardinals’ wobbly offensive line. He was the first guard drafted with a top-10 pick since 1997 (Chris Naeole, Saints); Alabama’s Chance Warmack came off the board three picks later to the Tennessee Titans and head coach Mike Munchak.
One of three teams who entered Thursday with multiple picks, the St. Louis Rams shook up the draft by trading for the No. 8 selection and drafting West Virginia sparkplug wide receiver and kick returner Tavon Austin (5-8, 172). He was the only skill-position player drafted until the Bills used the 16th pick acquired from St. Louis to take quarterback EJ Manuel. Not since 2000, when Chad Pennington was selected 18th by the New York Jets, has the draft reached this point before a quarterback was chosen.
“It wasn’t a very big surprise,” said Manuel, the first of three FSU first-rounders. “I knew I had a chance to go early in the draft, I knew the teams that needed a quarterback and were interested. It was just a matter of what happened that day. I’m just so happy, I’m just so proud.”
The next wide receiver wasn’t called until Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins went to the Houston Texans with the 27th pick.
The Jets added a second first-round pick (13th overall) Monday, when a trade for cornerback Darrelle Revis was completed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They used the ninth pick on his potential replacement, Alabama junior Dee Milliner, the FBS leader in passes defensed in 2012 and drafted Missouri defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson with the pick acquired for Revis.
A third consecutive Alabama prospect, right tackle D.J. Fluker, went 11th to the San Diego Chargers.
“We thought, as far as a tackle, he can be one of our cornerstones moving forward on the offensive line,” general manager Tom Telesco said of Fluker. “We were looking to add some help there. D.J. is going to be a great fit for us both in the run game and pass game.”
Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden was Oakland’s first Round One pick not drafted by Al Davis since the combined draft (1967) began. Davis died Oct. 8, 2011; the Raiders didn’t have a first-round selection in 2012. Hayden overcame a life-threatening heart injury when he was kneed in the chest in November 2012 to fly up draft boards after workouts in March and April.
The New York Giants and Chicago Bears drafted under-the-radar offensive linemen with the 19th and 20th picks. The Giants chose Syracuse tackle Justin Pugh before the Bears added guard Kyle Long.
Not to be outdone by the Crimson Tide, Florida State produced back-to-back picks with German-born defensive end Bjoern Werner (Colts, 24th overall) followed by cornerback Xavier Rhodes (Vikings). Minnesota drafted Florida junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd at No. 23, then traded four picks to the Patriots for the 29th pick and drafted Tennessee junior wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
The first-round selections were: (pick number, NFL team, player, position, college): 1-Kansas City, Eric Fisher, offensive tackle, Central Michigan 2-Jacksonville, Luke Joeckel, offensive tackle, Texas A&M 3-Miami (from Oakland), Dion Jordan, defensive tackle, Oregon 4-Philadelphia, Lane Johnson, offensive tackle, Oklahoma 5-Detroit, Ezekiel Ansah, defensive end, Brigham Young 6-Cleveland, Barkevious Mingo, linebacker, LSU 7-Arizona, Jonathan Cooper, guard, North Carolina 8-St. Louis (from Buffalo), Tavon Austin, wide receiver, West Virginia 9-NY Jets, Dee Milliner, cornerback, Alabama 10-Tennessee, Chance Warmack, guard, Alabama 11-San Diego, D.J. Fluker, tackle, Alabama 12-Oakland (from Miami), D.J. Hayden, cornerback, Houston 13-NY Jets (from Tampa Bay), Sheldon Richardson, defensive tackle, Missouri 14-Carolina, Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle, Utah 15-New Orleans, Kenny Vaccaro, safety, Texas 16-Buffalo (from St. Louis). E.J. Manuel, quarterback, Florida State.
Also: 17-Pittsburgh, Jarvis Jones, linebacker, Georgia 18-San Francisco (from Dallas), Eric Reid, safety, LSU 19-NY Giants, Justin Pugh, tackle, Syracuse 20-Chicago, Kyle Long, guard, Oregon 21-Cincinnati, Tyler Eifert, tight end, Notre Dame 22- Atlanta (from Washington via St. Louis), Desmond Trufant, cornerback, Washington 23-Minnesota, Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle, Florida 24-Indianapolis, Bjoern Werner, defensive end, Florida State 25-Minnesota (from Seattle), Xavier Rhodes, cornerback, Florida State 26-Green Bay, Datone Jones, defensive end, UCLA 27-Houston, DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver, Clemson 28-Denver, Sylvester Williams, defensive tackle, North Carolina 29-Minnesota (from New England), Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver, Tennessee 30-St. Louis (from Atlanta), Alec Ogletree, linebacker, Georgia 31-Dallas (from San Francisco), Travis Frederick, center, Wisconsin 32-Baltimore, Matt Elam, safety, Florida