IRVING, Texas – The Chiefs' trade for 49ers quarterback Alex Smith would suggest it's plausible, and perhaps likely, Kansas City will grab an offensive lineman to protect the new signal caller with the first pick in the NFL Draft.
They'll have a number to choose from if they go that route. The depth at offensive line should also still allow the Cowboys to secure another first-round talent to help immediately on the line if they so choose with the 18th pick.
The offensive line's an area of need for the Cowboys, who notoriously were unable to open running lanes or protect their quarterback sufficiently last season. With at least five offensive linemen likely to go in the first round, they should see a stable of talent available when their pick comes around.
Even if the Chiefs take Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher, Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson, North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper are all available after.
Cooper demonstrated his strength at the Combine with 35 reps on the bench press and certainly could see a rise in his stock after a solid performance in Indianapolis. Johnson, a former quarterback who eventually made his way to the line, also helped himself by running an astonishing 4.72 in the 40-yard dash.
Arkansas Pine-Bluff lineman Terron Armstead bested Johnson by .01 seconds in the drill, but every other offensive lineman ran at least a 4.94 or slower. Warmack, meanwhile, competed only in the 40-yard dash and broad jump and will likely do more at Alabama's Pro Day to solidify his first-round label.
It's possible one or two more offensive linemen raise their stock and sneak into the end of the first round, but here's a look at how the five previously mentioned potential first-round offensive line talents performed at the Combine:
Name (School) Ht/Wt 40-Yard Bench Vert Broad 3-Cone 20-Yd Shuttle*
*Jonathan Cooper (UNC) *6-2/311 5.07 35 reps 27" 9" 7.78 4.84
Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) 6-7/306 5.05 27 reps 28.5" 9'8" 7.59 4.44
Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M) 6-6/306 5.30 27 reps 28.5" 8'10" 7.4 4.68
Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) 6-6/303 4.72 28 reps 34" 9'10 7.31 4.52
Chance Warmack (Alabama) 6-2/317 5.49 -- -- 9'2" -- --
*indicates lower number preferred