Chiefs Draft, Day TwoApril 24th, 2010 by Lee Eldridge
I think I’m going to be in the minority on this, but I love what the Chiefs are doing in the draft. The Chiefs have drafted five players so far, and have filled some gaping holes in their roster. And they’ve filled them with good football players and great character guys. All five were team captains with outstanding personal resumes, as well as football resumes.
Safety: Last year the Chiefs were continually burned deep. Mike Brown could no longer cover wide receivers. And Jon McGraw is a fine special teams player, but is not a starting safety. The Chiefs had nobody who should start opposite Jarrad Page. And the Chiefs draft Eric Berry, an outstanding football player and outstanding athlete. He’s graded as one of the best safeties to ever be drafted. We’ll see how it translates to the NFL, but the expectation is that Berry will be a ten year starter, and make his way to a few Pro Bowls.
Slot Receiver: The Chiefs have competent starting receivers with Chris Chambers and Dwayne Bowe, but no clear choice to line up in the slot. So they draft Dexter McCluster near the top of round two. He was listed as a running back which left me scratching my head over the selection, but the Chiefs see him as a slot receiver. For Ole Miss, McCluster played running back, wide receiver and ran the “wildcat” formation as the quarterback. He was incredibly productive. He’s versatile. He’s fast. And the Chiefs think they’ve found their “Wes Welker” with McCluster. He’s the size of Dante Hall, and could also impact the return game. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will find ways to get McCluster on the field.
Nickel Corner: Though it wasn’t high on our radar, it should have been. The Chiefs tried a number of guys last year in the nickel. All were torched. Enter the Chiefs second second round pick Javier Arenas. At Alabama, Arenas was a fine corner back. He’s fast. He’s versatile. A good tackler. And an effective blitzer. Like McCluster, he’s not very big. But he has a good skill set to play the nickel. He’s tough and smart. And he was one of the premier return men in the country.
Kick and Punt Returner: Last year Jamaal Charles was pretty effective on kick returns, but the Chiefs never found a threat to return punts. And once Charles emerged as the starting running back, the Chiefs needed to look elsewhere for kick returns. McCluster will certainly get a chance to show what he can do, and looks like he offers similar abilities to a Dante Hall or Darren Sproles. And did I mention that Arenas was one of the premier return men in the country? It seems that this problem has been solved.
Offensive Line: Most of us had wanted the Chiefs to draft an offensive tackle. It appears the Chiefs are pretty happy with Branden Albert and Ryan O’Callaghan. Both played better as the season progressed last year. Early in the third round, the Chiefs picked offensive guard Jon Asamoah, who was rated by ESPN as the second best guard in the draft. Asamoah is another fine player and outstanding person. And one of the things the Chiefs liked best about him is his versatility. Though he played guard in college, he often practiced at center. Asamoah may not play much as a rookie, but he adds quality depth. And as Waters and Wiegmann are approaching the end of their careers, he will eventually get the opportunity to start. My guess is that it will be sooner rather than later. If he doesn’t crack the lineup this year, I bet he starts in 2011.
Tight End: This is another position the Chiefs struggled with last year. Early on the Chiefs featured Sean Ryan, but then phased him out as the season progressed. The Chiefs picked up Leonard Pope, who failed to distinguish himself. And Brad Cottam made a few plays before ending his season with an injury. So the Chiefs move up to the bottom of the third round to draft Tony Moeaki from Iowa. He’s big. He can catch the ball. And he knows how to block. He had a few injuries early in his career at Iowa, but started 10 games as a senior. Moeaki will likely compete with Cottam for the starting job at tight end. And my guess is that Moeaki will play a lot this year.
So what have we learned about the Chiefs this week?
1. The Chiefs like Matt Cassel. Several experts kept expecting the Chiefs to draft Jimmy Clausen. This never made sense to me. And the Chiefs obviously had the opportunity to draft Clausen later in the draft where he would have been a good value — if you wanted a quarterback.
2. The Chiefs viewed their areas of need differently than the fans and the experts. Everyone agreed that the Chiefs needed a safety. But the experts also felt like the Chiefs needed an offensive tackle, a nose tackle and linebackers. The Chiefs appear more comfortable with the players they have at these positions than we expected.
3. General Manager Scott Pioli wants high character guys. Jason Whitlock wrote a nice piece in the Star today about Pioli’s draft picks. All of these draft picks were leaders on and off the field in college.
4. And I think in general, though Pioli and Haley continue to say they need to upgrade the talent at a lot of positions, I think this draft shows that they like their players more than I expected. They didn’t spend two picks in the second round looking for immediate starters. Instead they picked role players who filled some holes. Time will tell if they’re right.
Tags: NFL Draft