With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs grabbed Central Michigan's Eric Fisher. He's a left tackle and you would expect him to play that position in the NFL. But he might not.
You see, Branden Albert's also on the roster after Kansas City's attempts to trade him (most notably to the Dolphins) fell through during the draft. And Andy Reid told Sirius XM Radio on Thursday that Albert will man the left side.
“Well, yeah, that's right,” Reid said when asked by Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon if Albert would play left and Fisher right, via Pro Football Talk. "I'm gonna play the five best guys."
Reid specifically cited the example of Shawn Andrews in Philadelphia -- Andrews came out as a tackle, but Reid moved him to guard after drafting him (16th overall; the highest he'd taken an offensive lineman before grabbing Fisher).
"You saw me do that with Shawn Andrews in Philadelphia," Reid said. "Shawn Andrews was as good an offensive lineman as I've ever seen at the college level and then he came to the pros and he was the same thing. He was one of the best I've ever coached, now, as far as being athletic and being a football player. Well, we had two veteran tackles who were two pretty stinking good players, and so we put Shawn at guard and he ended up being a Pro Bowler there."
The biggest obstacle here, in my opinion, is that Albert is on the franchise tag and will be, barring a long-term deal or a trade, an unrestricted free agent after 2013. If he spent all of the coming year playing right tackle, his market value would be sunk (contracts for Andre Smith and Phil Loadholt prove as much). He knows this and might be willing to hold out if he's forced to the right side. The Chiefs know this and need him on the line starting Day 1.
Kansas City could still end up moving him, and Reid acknowledged that they allowed Albert's representatives to talk with other teams leading up and into the draft to see if there was a move to be made.
“We allowed Albert's people to talk and look and do that whole thing and it didn't work out one way or the other," Reid said. "And so, you never know, I mean, in this business you'd love to say that he'd be here or not be here, one of the two, but I know he's a good kid, I know he's a hard worker and I know he's a good left tackle. So that gives us a whole lot of flexibility and if he was here today he would be the left tackle. And then we go from there and we just see what happens down the road."
That's the key here: flexibility. Having Albert on the roster and in camp and believing he's going to play left tackle (regardless of what the future holds) and putting Fisher on the right side for a single season isn't the worst thing in the world.
The worst thing is having a gaping hole on the line. And that's something Reid's trying to avoid by finding a compromise with his previously unhappy left tackle.