NFL Draft grades 2013, AFC West: Chiefs fine with Eric Fisher


The Kansas City Chiefs didn't crack under the pressure of having the No. 1 pick, selecting one of the top linemen in the draft.

For months, the Kansas City Chiefs played hard to get with their draft pick. It seemed like it would eventually be a left tackle. They didn't disappoint, going with Central Michigan's Eric Fisher. Elsewhere in the division, the Chargers were hurt by a run on offensive tackles. Oakland traded down and still got the guy they would've taken with the higher pick, and the Broncos took a shot on a player they feel they can develop.

Let's scan around to see how various experts - and fans - reacted to the AFC West's selections, team-by-team. We looked at four graders -- Dan Kadar of SB Nation's Mocking the Draft, Rob Rang at CBS, Pete Prisco at CBS, and Chris Burke at SI.

Kansas City Chiefs, No. 1: Eric Fisher, LT, Central Michigan

Kadar: B
Rang: B
Prisco: B
Burke: A

Arrowhead Pride fan poll: 91 percent in favor

Breathe easy, Chiefs fans. It doesn't look like Kansas City messed this one up.

Everybody's in general agreement that the best player on the board was a left tackle, but the question was: which one? The Chiefs had three months to mull this one over, and Thursday, it became clear in the hours before the draft that Fisher was their man. Will he be the best left tackle in the draft? There's no way of telling right now, and there won't be for a few seasons at the least.

Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson will likely all turn into very good offensive linemen capable of protecting their quarterbacks for years to come. But with all the information available to them, the Chiefs decided on Fisher, and nobody will say it's a bad pick. A bad pick would've been panicking and taking someone besides a left tackle to fit a team need, or stooping for a guy who clearly wasn't one of the elite players at the position. But Fisher is tough to argue with. If they figure out how to move Branden Albert to open up the left tackle spot and get something of value in return, then this goes from a good pick to a great one.

San Diego Chargers, No. 11: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

Kadar: B
Rang: B-
Prisco: B
Burke: B

One thing was clear about this draft: the Chargers absolutely needed an offensive tackle. Everybody was able to circle that with a big red highlighter, and the Chargers were lucky to have a draft filled with talent at the position. Unfortunately, it was maybe a little bit too filled with talent at the position -- by the time the Chargers drafted at No. 11, Fisher, Joeckel, and Johnson were already off the board.

Most agree that sticking with the gameplan and drafting an offensive tackle was still the right call for San Diego, but the way things panned out is a bit of a bummer. Unlike the three guys above him, few think that Fluker can be a starting left tackle in the NFL, meaning they just used a top-15 pick on a guy who will be protecting Philip Rivers' front side rather than his blind side, but he could turn into one of the better players in the league at that position. Fluker fits a team need, and even if he was their fourth choice, he still seemed to be the best choice available.

(Bolts from the Blue disagrees.)

Oakland Raiders, No. 12: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston

Kadar: B
Rang: B-
Prisco: A-
Burke: B+

The Raiders made a savvy move on draft night: they had the No. 3 pick. The player they wanted was D.J. Hayden, a guy they felt could solve their glaring need at cornerback. But Hayden at No. 3 would've been a reach. For starters, nobody was going to take him that high -- most experts felt Dee Milliner was the better cornerback -- and there were tons of other elite players available. So the Raiders traded down, got some extra picks, and still got the guy they wanted.

Is it right that they wanted Hayden so badly in the first place? He does seem like he'll be a solid corner -- the word "shutdown" has been thrown around -- for some time to come. It is strange that the Raiders are the only team that seem to have coveted him above Milliner. And considering the Raiders also need a defensive tackle, and guys with top-5 talent like Star Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd were in the middle of huge slides, some will wonder if they could have taken a guy capable of serving as the nose of their 4-3 defense.

Denver Broncos, No. 28: Sylvester Williams, defensive tackle, North Carolina

Kadar: B-
Rang: C
Prisco: B
Burke: A-
Mile High Report: A-/B+, on average

The move with the 28th pick for the Broncos -- a team with a few modest needs, but no glaring ones -- was to take the best player available. There will be debates about whether that was Williams, but the Broncos certainly have reasons to believe it is. He's huge, powerful, and showed off at his pro day, and although the junior college product is still a little bit raw, even after spending time at North Carolina, he's got outstanding physical traits that make it look like he's got lots of upside. The mixed grades here indicate that this could be a great pick or a mediocre one, depending on how Williams develops. For a team that doesn't need huge improvements across the board, that's alright.

More from SB Nation:

NFL mock draft: Who goes in the second round?

Geno Smith's nightmare becomes reality

NFL draft results: First-round picks and analysis

The Drafty Hour: First-round reactions

NFL draft grades: Reviewing the first round

Recapping the NFL Draft's Day 1 trades

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