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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Reid Fragel: Former Ohio State Tackle to be biggest Draft Day Surprise

Less than a week away, the buzz surrounding the NFL Draft has already reached a fever pitch.

It all begins with the Kansas City Chiefs, who, with the first overall pick, are expected to select either Luke Joeckel (Left Tackle from Texas A&M) or Eric Fisher(Left Tackle from Central Michigan). Or the Chiefs could trade down, a less likely scenario.

Following the Chiefs, there might be a run on defensive players, among them Dion Jordan of Oregon, Dee Milliner of Alabama, Star Lotulelei of Utah, Shariff Floyd(awesome name by the way) of Florida, and Barkevious Mingo of LSU among others.

The first round should also be another banner day for defending national champions Alabama Crimson Tide, as at least three of their players expected to be drafted in the first round with a fourth-running back Eddie Lacy-expected to go no later than middle of the second round.

Then, of course, comes the debate on which quarterbacks go in the first round. I myself believe that no quarterback in the 2013 class is worthy of being picked on day one, but EJ Manuel might be a value pick if he falls to the second round or later. Many people believe that Geno Smith is worthy of a first round pick; I'd like to know who these people are so I can sign them up for a CAT scan.

But after it is all said and done, the biggest surprise in the draft won't come on day one, and it might not even happen in the first 100 picks. That is because I believe the best draft day gem is one Reid Fragel, offensive tackle for the Ohio State University. Fragel, a four-year senior for the Buckeyes, was asked by Urban Meyer and the coaching staff at OSU to convert from tight end to right tackle in 2012.  He would make the transition better than expected, helping anchor OSU's spread offense and a key reason why Braxton Miller finished fifth in heisman voting last season.

And, although media pundits haven't officially predicted where Fragel will land, I'm guessing he will be drafted somewhere around the third or fourth rounds, if not earlier. Not only did Fragel's experience as a tight end mean he possesses great physicality for a right tackle, but at 6-6 and a very fit 300 pounds( he is said to have around 8% body fat), he is also in better shape than most right tackles. And sure, the left tackle, or 'blind side' gets all the press, that doesn't mean the right side of the line isn't equally as important. In fact, an unbalanced line can be just as big if not a bigger detriment to an offense when it comes to pass protection.

So mark April 25-27th on your calendar, ladies and gentlemen. And while you wonder who your favorite team will draft when their time draws near, remember this: should they draft Reid Fragel, they will be getting the best player no one is talking about. Well, almost no one


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