In past NFL drafts, the focus has been on selecting playmakers high in the draft. Quarterbacks are the greatest example, with 10 quarterbacks being selected number one overall since 2000. It would only seem fitting that the 2013 NFL draft would follow that trend. However, this year’s draft makes it all about offensive linemen.
Six of the first 10 selections of the 2013 NFL draft have been used on offensive linemen, with Central Michigan Chippewas’ offensive tackle Eric Fisher becoming the first overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s a strategy that serves NFL teams well regarding the franchise rebuilding process. While offensive skill positions like quarterback, wide receiver, and running back get all the accolades, they would never have the chance to receiver those accolades if not for the work of the offensive line.
The best example of the importance of the offensive line focuses on the 2012 Washington Redskins. They led the NFL in rushing yardage, thanks to the superb seasons recorded by a pair of rookie sensations in quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris. However, it was a patchwork offensive line that featured one 2012 Pro Bowl performer in left tackle Trent Williams that anchored the Redskins’ league leading rushing attack.
Oh yes, about those quarterbacks: they’re about as rare in this draft as finding a thousand dollar bill in last week’s laundry. Florida State Seminoles’ quarterback E.J. Manuel was the only quarterback selected in the first round, selected 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills. He wasn’t even considered the top quarterback prospect in this year’s draft. West Virginia Mountaineers’ quarterback Geno Smith was bestowed that distinction. Unfortunately for Smith, the first round ended without being selected. He was eventually selected in the second round by the New York Jets.
The 2013 NFL draft is a tribute to the big men on the offensive front that pave the way for offensive glory. If NFL teams can build a solid foundation up front, it will make things a whole lot easier for the skill positions on offense.