In NFL Draft jargon, there is a term called a pivot pick. It’s that pick typically somewhere early in the first round that sends the rest of the round in a particular direction. For the 2013 NFL draft, I believe that the pivot pick for at least the top half of the first round will be the pick the Arizona Cardinals make.
Looking at it by team, you have the Kansas City Chiefs holding the top pick. They, along with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions are all teams in the top five who appear to be leaning toward one of two positions that happen to be very prominent at the top of the round. Figure in that the Cleveland Browns are leaning heavily toward a cornerback, and you start to see how what the Cardinals do will make all the difference.
The Cardinals also would like to upgrade either their offensive line or pass rush as well, but if things go according to what’s as close to a plan as can be in this draft, the value of either of those positions might be questionable. So assuming the Cardinals don’t want the fourth-best offensive tackle or pass rusher, what do they do?
They could draft a quarterback. There’s a real chance Geno Smith is on the board and even with the addition of quarterback Carson Palmer, Smith would be a pick that Cardinals fans could look at with an eye to a bright future. They could also try and trade down. There should be some takers that would like to go up and get a player like Smith, and it would allow the Cardinals to stockpile some picks.
Both of these scenarios would keep things fairly close to status quo and not cause too many problems.
But, they might just throw everything out of whack and draft Alabama guard Chance Warmack. While I personally have no qualms about the Cardinals drafting Warmack so high, the effect it could have on the first round would be significant.
It would send Smith further down into the round and create a flurry of trades. It would also instantly move up the value of fellow offensive guard Jonathan Cooper and offensive tackle DJ Fluker, pulling them off the board more quickly. What it could ultimately mean is that teams at the bottom of the first round will be able to steal a player or two that they likely wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Personally, I am all about chaos, and this draft is promising to have it in spades. So Cardinals, I say draft Warmack and let’s see the backlash from it and how the rest of the teams picking after them react.
Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.