SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)—Last year it was all about the quest for quarterbacks, but teams this year opted for large linemen during this first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
The first seven picks were all offensive or defensive linemen—Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fischer went first to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Unsurprisingly, Madden watched the draft on Thursday in its entirety, but he told KCBS that he was intrigued by the choices that were made.
“I didn’t know if we would ever get to this day where the three out the first four picks would be offensive linemen. It just shows where the game is and how you have to be a little lucky,” he said.
“The game is still about quarterbacks and if you have the top pick in the draft, you would like to have, like a year ago, an Andrew Luck or an RG3 sitting there. Now here’s Kansas City and Jacksonville and they have one and two (picks) and now guys named Fischer and Joeckel are sitting there.”
Tackle is an important position, he said. If team is lucky to already have a good quarterback, the next important position—the way the game is played today—might be left tackle, Madden conceded.
But Madden also said that it might be less to do with a new trend and more to do with the quality of quarterbacks available.
“You could rate the top-five quarterbacks are coming out of college that are draft eligible but doesn’t mean their first-round picks. Maybe there are years when the top-rated quarterback goes in the second round and that was very close to happening this year,” he said. “A year ago, there were great quarterbacks here. This year, not so much.”
Quarterback EJ Manuel of Florida State was drafted by the Buffalo Bills as the16th pick. Madden said he was surprised by that choice and doesn’t remember seeing Manuel play.
Madden also talked about Eric Reid, who chose to play at LSU instead of Stanford, where Coach Jim Harbaugh had tried to recruit him. Now Reid is headed to play for the 49ers.
“I had a few those too, where you remember a kid from your college days when you were recruiting and you didn’t get him. You know wanted him then so get another shot at him and I think that’s what Jim Harbaugh did,” he said. “It’s tough. The kid went to LSU and he was real good player but his dad went to LSU and was in the Hall Of Fame there. That’s a hard one to crack.”
Madden pointed out that college coaches have an advantage when they make the move to the NFL because they have a wide knowledge about the players they recruited and played against.
Madden also commented on the Raider’s decision to pick cornerback D.J. Hayden—considered by some to be a medical risk because of a near-death injury that he suffered during practice in November while at the University of Houston.
Hayden has been cleared by NFL doctors.
“I think the Raiders made a good move in that they were able to probably get the guy they wanted anyway and get an extra third by moving. So they were able to fill a gap in the draft and get the guy they wanted anyway.”
Madden said Eric Fischer is great pick for Kansas since they now have quarterback Alex Smith. Coach Andy Reid, he said, already knows he has quarterback and now need someone that can protect him.
“Alex Smith will be happy, Andy Reid will be happy and the entire Fischer family will probably be happy for a long time,” he said.
Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.
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