Chiefs could make rare choice of OT at No. 1

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That won’t be the case this year, partly because there’s no QB worth the No. 1 pick.

Players at the game’s most vital position have been chosen first overall four straight years, and 10 of the last 12. And the Chiefs probably would have made it five straight if there was someone worth the pick. Instead, they traded with San Francisco to acquire Alex Smith this offseason.

So, everything appears to be circling back to a blindside protector.

The St. Louis Rams decided in 1997 that Pace was a better option than anybody in a forgettable quarterback class that included the likes of Jim Druckenmiller, Danny Wuerffel and Pat Barnes. Pace became a three-time All-Pro and made seven straight Pro Bowls in his 13-year career.

Long, who the Dolphins picked first in 2008, also became an All-Pro and has made four Pro Bowls in his five-year career. But betting against the quarterbacks that year didn’t pay off nearly as well for Miami _ Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco were selected later in the first round.

One of the advantages to choosing an offensive tackle is the relative risk. The position is typically easier to evaluate, and project, than some of the skill positions, and rarely do linemen taken high in the draft completely wash out.

Joeckel won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman after protecting Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel so successfully last season. Fisher was a third-team All-American who shot up draft boards with an eye-opening performance at the NFL’s scouting combine.

“With Joeckel, the floor is extremely high. I can’t imagine him coming in and being a bust,” said ESPN college football analyst Todd McShay. “Fisher is not as technically sound. You also don’t see consistently the tape against top competition. That’s nothing that Fisher has done. He can only play who he can play. But I just think Joeckel to me has the highest floor of the three.

“Who knows what Kansas City thinks,” McShay said, “but to me that seems to be the right pick, because there is very little bust potential when it comes to Joeckel.”

Dorsey and new Chiefs coach Andy Reid have refused to give any indication of who they might pick Thursday night, assuming they still have the No. 1 selection. The only thing they’ve made clear is that they intend to choose whoever they believe is the best player.

“It’s the first pick in the draft,” Dorsey said. “I look at it as a positive because what it is, is you get a shot at the best player in the draft.”

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