Chiefs 2012 DraftApril 29th, 2012 by Lee Eldridge
While I do enjoy Mel Kiper and many of the NFL analysts, giving out draft grades is just plain silly. Nobody knows yet how these kids will perform in the NFL. Many of them will never play a down outside of pre-season. There will be first round busts. There will be players from the middle rounds who may become Hall of Famers. And there will be at least a few undrafted free agents who become contributors if not outright stars in the league. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have some thoughts about the Chiefs’ draft.
Nose Tackle Dontari Poe (First Round): The “story” here is that this is a high risk high reward pick that fills the Chiefs biggest need. Sam Mellinger wrote such a story in the KC Star (read it here). Poe exploded onto the national scene with a great workout at the combine. (Athlon Sports said that Poe had the “best performance at the combine”. This is an awesome read if you want to get excited about Poe.) But as the analysts started breaking down his play, they saw a guy who didn’t impact the game despite his physical abilities. The experts say this is boom or bust, with many already predicting bust. But this is the easy story. Not necessarily the real story.
The Chiefs had rated Poe as the best nose tackle prospect in the draft before the combine (if you believe general manager Scott Pioli). They saw a kid who did everything he was asked to do by his coaches. Who played almost every snap on defense, rotating between several positions along the line. A kid who played as hard at the end of a blowout loss, which Memphis experienced on multiple occasions, as he did at the beginning of a game. High risk high reward? Boom or bust? What if Poe solidifies the middle of the Chiefs’ defensive line and is a six year starter but never makes a Pro Bowl? What is he then? A good solid pick.
I have no prediction here. There are few true nose tackles available in the draft. And virtually none of them EVER have Poe’s physical abilities. He’s got a VERY high ceiling. Let’s just hope he comes close to his full potential.
Offensive Guard Jeff Allen (Second Round): I like it that the Chiefs continue to beef up their offensive line. Allen played tackle in college, but projects as a guard in the pros. He’s played both left and right tackle, so he has experience with footwork from both sides of the line. I was always skeptical about the Chiefs undersized line with Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann in the middle. This year we’ll see Rodney Hudson (second round pick last year) take over for the retired Wiegmann. And with this as the final year on Lilja’s contract, I think we’ll likely see Allen starting at left guard next year. If not sooner.
Offensive Tackle Donald Stephenson (Third Round): The Chiefs needed a tackle who could backup on both sides of the line. He’s a bit of a project, but has the potential to eventually be a starter in the league.
Wide Receiver Devon Wylie (Fourth Round): Everybody is looking for the next Wes Welker. The Chiefs needed a receiver with speed who could stretch the field. Wylie’s fast, is built to play the slot, and has skills as a returner. My guess is that the Chiefs will move Dexter McCluster to the backfield full time and take him out of the mix as a wide receiver. Wylie will have a chance at earning some playing time this year.
Defensive Back DeQuan Menzie (Fifth Round): This is an interesting pick. He took over for Javier Arenas at Alabama a couple years ago. He played what Alabama calls the “star” position where he has to read and react. He’s smart, got cover skills, and will probably be asked to convert to safety for the Chiefs.
Running Back Cyrus Gray (Sixth Round): Similar in size to Jamaal Charles but maybe a little thicker. Decent speed and very productive at Texas A&M. Catches the ball well. Adds good depth at the position, which the Chiefs needed.
Defense Lineman Jerome Long (Seventh Round): Has the right build to play defensive end in the Chiefs’ 3-4 defense, though will probably need to add a little bulk. A project. Unless he has a monster camp, hard to see him making the roster. More likely a developmental player on the practice squad.
Wide Receiver Junior Hemingway (Seventh Round): I like this pick. Didn’t put up great numbers in college, but that’s mostly because of Michigan’s offense. In recent years we’ve seen a number of wide receivers taken late in the draft become very effective players in the NFL. Will probably need to unseat special team’s contributor Terrance Copper to find a spot on the roster.
Overall I like the draft. When Scott Pioli got here, the weakest positions groups were the offensive and defensive lines. I’m not sure if they’re fixed yet, but they continue to get better. The Chiefs will continue to look for some more depth through free agency and undrafted free agents. Expert the Chiefs to still fill a couple more holes in the back of their roster.
Tags: NFL Draft