branden-albert2

The Chiefs are generating all the chatter this morning. Such is life when you’re the holder of the sacred first-overall pick.

Say, anonymous NFL general manager, are you in need of large-bodied man who can protect your feeble-bodied quarterback? And do you have a surplus of draft picks? Well, the Chiefs (reportedly) have a helluva deal for you.

In his weekly Monday morning manifesto, Peter King dropped this regarding Branden Albert, the Chiefs’ left tackle who was given the franchise tag and is therefore scheduled to make $9.8 million in 2013:

Kansas City hasn’t found any takers for franchised left tackle Branden Albert — I hear the Chiefs would take a high second-round pick for him — and regardless whether Albert’s moved or not, I don’t see them doing anything but taking tackles Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher first.

This is another judo kick to the notion that the Chiefs would draft anyone not named Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher with their first overall pick. If the Chiefs can get a younger and better tackle while not dedicating nearly $10 million to one position, that’s a better option.

And about that talent element: reviews on Albert are split, and they depend on the context in which you view them. The guys over at Pro Football Focus study game film intensely while grading every player based on, well, every play. Overall this past season they ranked Albert 18th among all offensive tackles in pass blocking efficiency, which is quite good, but short of great. And had he entered free agency this March, he would have been the fourth best left tackle on the open market.

At worst, then, Joeckel or Reid figure to be his equal, with clearly much less wear after Albert was able to start in only 11 games this past season, while missing three. The Chiefs need a second rounder to recoup the pick lost to San Francisco in the Smith deal, but attaining that high price means finding a buyer who’s also willing to pay Albert, and that will be the most difficult task of this potential transaction.

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