The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 25, 2013

This year's NFL draft heavy on size, light on glamour

— KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — This year's NFL draft is heavy on size and light on glamour.

There's no high-profile quarterback destined to go No. 1 and instantly become the face of a downtrodden franchise. There's not even a running back or wide receiver worthy of the top overall pick, someone with the kind of swagger that wins over fans weary of losing.

Nope, there's just beef. And lots of it.

There's 6-foot-6, 306-pound Luke Joeckel, the offensive tackle from Texas A&M whom the Kansas City Chiefs are expected to select first overall. There's also Eric Fisher of Central Michigan and Lane Johnson of Oklahoma, two more 300-pounders who could be snapped up in the first 10 picks.

Even the defensive side of the ball is big on bigness: Florida's Sharrif Floyd, Utah's Star Lotulelei and Sylvester Williams of North Carolina are considered premium space eaters.

Utilitarian? Sure. Flashy? Not so much.

"There are a lot of good football players there," Broncos President John Elway insisted. "It's kind of a matter of what kind of flavor you like, but there are plenty of defensive linemen — not only defensive ends but defensive linemen — in this draft, and it's deeper than most."

Only twice since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 has an offensive tackle been chosen first overall, but the Chiefs figure to make it three when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reads off the name of the league's newest millionaire shortly after 8 p.m. EDT at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Joeckel is considered the surest thing in a draft full of uncertainty.

He protected the blind side of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel last season, won the Outland Trophy as college football's top interior lineman, and wowed just about everyone at the NFL's annual scouting combine with his speed, agility and, yes, his size.

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