2013 NFL Draft: Chance Warmack could make history

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

You have to go all the way back to 1997 to find the last time a guard was taken in the top 10 of the NFL draft, but Alabama's Chance Warmack could add to that list this year.

Alabama guard Chance Warmack is a trendy top 10 pick in recent mock drafts. If that proves to be the case come draft day, he will make some history.

A guard hasn't been drafted in the top 10 since New Orleans selected Chris Naeole with the No. 10 pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. Warmack is projected to go No. 9 to the New York Jets in SB Nation's latest mock draft and blogger draft.

Considered one of the best overall prospects in the draft, Warmack may prove too good to pass up, even if he plays a position not typically valued as highly as others.

While elite guards still command large free agent contracts, it's rare for a team to invest a first-round pick in a guard out of college. Since 2000, 10 guards have been selected in the first round, although Shawn Andrews and Branden Albert moved to tackle in the NFL. Since the NFL merger in 1970, 13 guards have been selected in the top 10.

Although teams don't often spend a first-round pick on a guard, those that have tend to reap rewards. Of the 58 guards selected in the first round since 1970, 38 started at least 50 games. Mike Iupati, Kevin Zeitler and David DeCastro are recent first-round selections on their way to joining the other 38. Of the 13 selected in the top 10, seven started at least 100 games with three eventually being elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

If Warmack is selected in the top 10, he will likely be burdened by extreme expectations, even for a high draft pick. Warmack has been labeled as a "sure thing" by some. If a team does buck the trend and selects a guard in the top 10, fans could expect Warmack to be an elite player from Day 1, a tough task for any rookie regardless of position.

That said, if any guard is able to accomplish it, it may be Warmack. SB Nation's Dan Kadar ranked Warmack as the No. 3 overall prospect in the draft. Kadar described Warmack as a "brutish blocker" who could play either right or left guard and start as a rookie.

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