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The Kansas City Chiefs have the top pick in Friday’s Draft (4am UAE time) and a strong talent pool to consider, including blockers who could offer protection for new quarterback Alex Smith.

The Chiefs have said they have narrowed their choices to four candidates but refused to name them or reject the option of trading the top pick if the right offer comes along before the annual allocation of college talent.

“What I have to do is what’s best for the Kansas City Chiefs organisation,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said.

“I’ll explore every option available. You have all the way up to that last minute, so we’ll see. You still have to give yourself some options.

“When that curtain is raised, we’ll be ready. But right now it’s still ongoing, and you never know what’s going to happen.”

After matching Jacksonville at 2-14 for the NFL’s worst record last season, the Chiefs hired former Philadelphia coach Andy Reid to guide the squad and named offensive left tackle Branden Albert as the club’s “franchise player”.

While ensuring Albert is among the NFL’s top-paid players at his job, protecting the back of the quarterback for $9.83 million (Dh36m) next season, the designation locks him to the Chiefs and he has said he wants to leave.

If the Chiefs can land a top lineman, they could afford to make a trade deal for Albert. And the draft offers two talented offensive tackles in Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M and Eric Fisher of Central Michigan.

Many NFL scouts see Joeckel as ready to step into the NFL immediately but Fisher might have the better long-term potential.

With the Chiefs having given Miami permission to talk with Albert’s agent, both blockers figure to be on Kansas City’s list.

“They are both really fine football players,” Dorsey said. “This year the offensive line position has some true prospects in it. “Every draft has its unique characteristics. The unique characteristics are that there are offensive linemen in this draft, defensive linemen in this draft and corners.”

Jacksonville will make the second selection and Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan, a talented pass rusher, is expected to be the choice for new Jaguars’ coach Gus Bradley.

Oakland will have the third pick, followed in order by Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Arizona, Buffalo, the New York Jets and Tennessee.

Reigning Super Bowl champions Baltimore will have the 32nd and final pick in the first round in a system that tries to promote parity among NFL clubs by giving the most successful the last chances at grabbing new prospects.

ONES TO WATCH IN 2013 NFL DRAFT

It’s that time of the year again. The time when NFL executives, scouts and coaches play roulette.

The most inexact science in sports is the NFL Draft as it is increasingly difficult to judge what blend of size, athleticism, football IQ and system fit is needed to successfully choose a draft pick. There’s also the difficult task of evaluating character and experience which doesn’t show up on the game tape.

Sport360°’s NFL guru Daniel Eldridge runs the rule over the names to look out for in the Draft and where they might end up.

Manti Te’o (Notre Dame) - Linebacker

It’s impossible to say Manti Te’o and not giggle after the weirdest sports scandal imaginable unfolded with his fake girlfriend dying, then being revealed as a hoax by a love-crazed sociopath. It’s hard to imagine him being capable of handling the cerebral difficulties of an NFL playbook, but the physical tools are there. Round 1: 20th Pick – Chicago

Tavon Austin (West Virginia) - Wide receiver

Austin has the same sort of skill set as Percy Harvin and a multi-faceted player like that can be substantial in NFL offences always looking to get an edge. His stock has been rising since the combine, with up to 10 teams apparently keen on him, and the New York Jets would be wise to look at playmaking options. Round 1: 13th Pick – NY Jets

Geno Smith (West Virginia) - Quarterback

In what is regarded as one of the weakest drafts for quarterbacks in recent years, Smith is virtually a lock to be picked too high by a QB-needy team. He’s the top QB on most draft boards and has the tools to be an effective passer. The Cardinals signed Carson Palmer, but he’s not what they have in mind at QB. Round 1: 8th Pick – Arizona

Luke Joeckel (Offensive tackle) - Texas A&M

The likely first pick in the NFL draft is considered a sure thing, and someone to anchor the offensive line for the next 15 years. Having your blind side unprotected makes it difficult to find an open target and Joeckel is smart, technically gifted and possesses the right attributes to fit in seamlessly as the Chiefs right tackle. Round 1: 1st Pick – Kansas City

 

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