NFL Draft: SED, Joeckel, Te'o, and big men are the storylines - Tucson News Now

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NFL Draft airs in prime time; expect the unexpected

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Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel, pictured here at a news conference at the BCS National Championship Game in Miami last January, is expected to be the first player taken in the 2013 NFL Draft. (Source: Matt Valazquez) Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel, pictured here at a news conference at the BCS National Championship Game in Miami last January, is expected to be the first player taken in the 2013 NFL Draft. (Source: Matt Valazquez)
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(RNN) - Big guys are likely to be the stars of the show Thursday night when the NFL Draft airs in primetime on ESPN, live from Radio City Music Hall.

Barring unforeseen weirdness - which can never be completely ruled out in the NFL Draft - Outland Trophy winner Luke Joeckel, the 6'6", 310-pound offensive tackle from Texas A&M, will be holding up a Kansas City Chiefs jersey as the No. 1 overall pick shortly after the 8 p.m. ET air time.

In most mock drafts, he's one of 10 offensive linemen and eight defensive linemen expected to be among the first 32 players chosen in the first round.

It's a far cry from last year, when more than 8 million viewers tuned in to watch QB Andrew Luck go to the Indianapolis Colts with the first pick. Robert Griffin III went to Washington with the second pick and in all, four quarterbacks went in the first round in 2012.

This year, West Virginia's Geno Smith is the only quarterback considered a pretty sure Round 1 selection. EJ Manuel of Florida State, Tyler Bray of Tennessee, Southern California's Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon of N.C. State could slip in as first-round picks, depending on the wheeling and dealing.

The Southeastern Conference has produced the last seven BCS national champions and should dominate this year's draft, as well. A dozen SEC players are considered bona-fide first-round prospects, among them Alabama's Dee Milliner (DB) along with offensive linemen Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker; Georgia linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree; Tennessee OT Menelik Watson and WR Justin Hunter; and Florida DT Sharif Floyd.

Notre Dame's controversial linebacker Manti Te'o has crept back into many analysts' first-round projections. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting before a horrible game against Alabama, a worse scandal concerning an imaginary dead girlfriend and a lackluster combine performance knocked him down a few pegs.

More of a sure thing is former Fighting Irish tight end Tyler Eiffert, with a 6'6" frame, wide-receiver speed and a good chance to be among the first 10 players chosen.

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