Posts Tagged ‘NFL Draft’

Chiefs 2012 Draft

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

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 PoeNose 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 WylieWide 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.

The Draft Starts Tonight!

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

My apologies. I am WAY behind in my writing. Let’s get to it!

Free Agency
Before we talk draft, we have to quickly cover the Chiefs pickups in free agency. Kansas City entered the off-season with some glaring holes on their roster. Putting aside how many feel about Matt Cassel as the starting quarterback, the Chiefs needed a right tackle, depth at running back, a backup quarterback, depth at tight end, a starting nose tackle and a starting cornerback. For the most part, mission accomplished!

Standord RouttThe Chiefs signed cornerback Standord Routt to replace Brandon Carr, who departed in free agency. It had been a surprise to me that the Chiefs made virtually no attempt to retain Carr or work out a long-term contract with him last year. But the Chiefs knew what they had, and there must have been something they didn’t like about Carr. Hard for me to analyze this change, but there’s very little drop off from Carr to Routt in my opinion. Maybe a small step back. Maybe not.

The Chiefs signed running back Peyton Hillis to replace Thomas Jones. Jones had little left in the tank. There were a couple backs I liked better in free agency, in particular Michael Bush. Hillis has worked with our new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Seems like a good fit, and Hillis has something to prove. A definite upgrade.

After the failure of the Tyler Palko experiment, the Chiefs wanted a backup quarterback with experience. They’ve signed Brady Quinn. Personally, I think this is an interesting signing. For a first round pick, Quinn has gotten very little opportunity to play in the NFL. He’s only started 12 games — not even a full season. Hard to know if he isn’t very good, or just hasn’t gotten the right opportunity. Cleveland was a bad team during his years with the Browns. Hard to blame all of that on Quinn. Certainly an upgrade over Palko. And if Cassel struggles through the first half of the season, I think we could see a quarterback change. Not a prediction. Just a possibility.

Chiefs signed tight end Kevin Boss to replace the departing Leonard Pope. Pope was a good blocker, but not a great receiver. I like Boss. He upgrades the position. Should be a nice pairing with a healthy Tony Moeaki.

And the Chiefs best signing was that of free agent right tackle Eric Winston. A significant upgrade to Barry Richardson.

Still a hole at nose tackle. My guess is that if the Chiefs don’t draft a nose tackle high in the draft, that they’ve got veteran Kelly Gregg sitting out there willing to come back for one more season.

Now The Draft
Having filled their most glaring needs puts Scott Pioli and the Chiefs in a great position entering the draft. They can focus on best player available instead of position of need. The Chiefs could lineup today and field a very competitive team.

What do the Chiefs need most? Here are the positions I believe need to be upgraded.

Defensive Line: This is the worst position group on the team. We’ve been drafting defensive linemen for years. And at best we have a mediocre defensive line. You can’t let past failures stop you from upgrading this unit. In particular, the Chiefs need a starting nose tackle. And possibly a replacement for Tyson Jackson.

Running Back: While I love Jamaal Charles and like Peyton Hillis, I’ll be surprised if the Chiefs don’t draft a running back. Probably in one of the middle rounds.

Tight End: With Moeki’s history of injuries, I’d draft another tight end. I love what the Patriots were able to accomplish with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

The Chiefs could certainly use depth along the offensive line, at safety and possibly even at quarterback.

Draft Predictions
As you scour the Internet for mock drafts, there are three names you see associated with the Chiefs over and over again. (The Star put together this list of experts and their predictions for the Chiefs.)

Luke KuechlyLinebacker Luke Kuechly from Boston College: This seems to be the most popular pick among the experts. And I like everything I’ve heard about him. Typically, I wouldn’t want to draft an inside linebacker this early, but if the Chiefs believe he’s a Pro Bowl caliber linebacker, they should have him on their radar. One note of warning: when it comes to their inside linebackers, the Chiefs look for very specific abilities. They use the two inside linebackers differently. This will greatly depend on whether or not they see Kuechly as the right fit for the position currently filled by Javon Belcher. I don’t know the answer to this.

Nose tackle Dontari Poe from Memphis: Poe has shot up the draft boards. He’s big and athletic. And he fills a position of need. But he doesn’t sound like the right fit to me. I’ve heard a number of experts say that he didn’t perform that well in college. That he got pushed around a lot. Pioli puts a lot of emphasis on college production. I’ll be surprised if this is the Chiefs pick.

Offensive guard David DeCastro from Stanford: He’s as highly rated as any guard in the draft for many years. I just don’t like drafting offensive linemen, other than left tackles, this early. You can draft very good guards in the next two rounds. I wouldn’t be completely unhappy with this pick, just surprised if it happens.

A number of writers and experts have discussed what could happen if quarterback Ryan Tannehill falls to the Chiefs at number 11. And it could absolutely happen. I would just hate this pick. Tannehill seems like a good kid. And maybe he’ll be a good NFL quarterback someday. But he’s a project. There are other quarterbacks I’d rather see the Chiefs take in a later round.

One guy who could slide down to the Chiefs is running back Trent Richardson. Teams have been reluctant to take running backs in the top ten in recent years. Most teams have gone to running back by committee. Good running backs can be found in the middle rounds of the draft. I’m not predicting it. But this would be interesting. I’d take him.

Players to Watch
My philosophy is that you only draft elite positions high in the draft such as quarterback, left tackle, pass rushers, cornerbacks and wide receivers. The exception is when you have a guy like Eric Berry who projects as one of the best at his position in many years. Typically I would not draft safeties, middle linebackers, interior offensive linemen, tight ends or even running backs this high.

I have nothing to base this on except a gut feeling. If defensive tackle Fletcher Cox from Mississippi State falls to the Chiefs, I would think this could be the pick. And it’s possible. The Chiefs like productive players out of the SEC. And he’s considered one of the best defensive linemen in the draft.

I’ve also read good things about defensive end Quinton Coples from North Carolina who might be an interesting pick at 11.

If the Chiefs don’t like what they see at their pick and are able to trade down, here are a couple names for you. Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive tackle Michael Brockers from LSU. Two more SEC players who could be available a little later in the first round and fit in with the Chiefs. I would certainly consider DeCastro an option later in the first round as well.

One more thought then I’ll wrap up for the day. Should the Chiefs draft a quarterback? Unless they’re in love with Tannehill, which I hope they’re not, then certainly not in the first round. It’s hard to say what the Chiefs think of Ricky Stanzi, who the Chiefs drafted in the fifth round last year. I think that Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore would be an interesting project. He’s a winner. He played a lot of football as a four year starter. He’s a coaches son. He’s bright, and he’s a leader. He’s drawn a few comparisons to Drew Brees. And he’ll probably be available in the fourth round if the Chiefs are interested.

(Article updated 4:11pm 4-26-12.)

Draft Time 2011

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Kansas City ChiefsI have a confession to make. I’m not excited about the NFL draft this year. I think my brain is still waiting for free agency. And I’m definitely behind in my research. So take this for what it’s worth. It seems that most mock drafts have the Chiefs selecting an offensive tackle in the first round. If they do, I’ll be shocked.

Let’s review the Chiefs’ biggest needs. And when you think of the team’s needs, don’t just focus on this year. Think about the next three years, and what contracts will be expiring among the current players. And what players are nearing the end of their careers.

1. Nose Tackle: This is where the lack of free agency makes this draft even more interesting than normal. Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith are both free agents. If the Chiefs played a game today, their starting nose tackle would probably be Anthony Toribio. Who? Exactly. Now the Chiefs might feel good that they’ll get Edwards and Smith signed, but there are no guarantees. And neither of them are long-term solutions at nose tackle. This is the biggest hole in a young and developing defensive unit.

2. Wide Receiver: Not only do the Chiefs have a big hole in the starting position opposite Dwayne Bowe, but I believe that Bowe has only one year left on his contract. If they lose Bowe next year, what do they have left? Not much.

3. Offensive Center / Guard: Starting center Casey Wiegmann is a free agent, and he’s 37 years old. Left guard Brian Waters is 34, and nearing the end of his career. The only guy on the roster that looks like a future replacement is Jon Asamoah. The Chiefs need at least one more projected starter for the future interior of their offensive line.

4. Cornerback: Starter Brandon Carr is a free agent, and is inconsistent. Rookie Javier Arenas is good in the slot, but does not project to be a starting cornerback. And you can never have enough good cornerbacks on your team.

You can argue that the team needs more talent at linebacker and at offensive tackle. I won’t argue that point. They do. I just don’t list either as one of their top four needs. Though that doesn’t mean that they won’t find value here with the 21st pick in the draft.

Now back to offensive tackle. When the Chiefs pick late in the first round, the available tackles will likely all be projected as right tackles, not left tackles. Why would you draft a right tackle in the first round when you clearly have other, more important needs? The Chiefs want to find the right fit for the person, the position in the draft, and team need.

So who will the Chiefs draft this year? I would love to see the Chiefs have the opportunity to draft center Mike Pouncey from Florida, who is widely regarded as the best interior offensive lineman available. Most mock drafts have him picked just a few spots in front of the Chiefs. He could slide to the Chiefs, but it’s not likely. The draft appears pretty deep along the defensive line, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Chiefs draft a pass rushing defensive end who they can move to the outside linebacker position opposite Tamba Hali. Late in the first round there’s usually good value for an inside linebacker, and I can imagine the Chiefs looking for some competition for Javon Belcher in the middle. And there are a couple of cornerbacks who are projected to go late in the first round. Corners often seem to go a little higher than they’re ranked, so keep on eye on players such as Aaron Williams and Brandon Harris. The general consensus is that their won’t be a wide receiver on the board worthy of picking when the Chiefs pick. So unless the Chiefs trade down, they’re not likely to grab a receiver with their first pick.

Prediction: If Pouncey is on the board, he’s our man. But that seems unlikely, and he’s the only interior offensive lineman worth taking with this pick. The Chiefs decide they don’t find enough value among the available wide receivers, nose tackles and outside linebackers. They try to trade down but can’t. Wanting a bigger cornerback to partner with Brandon Flowers, the Chiefs pick Aaron Williams from Texas. He’s got good size, and is good against the run and the pass. Does anybody know if he’s a team captain?

Chiefs Draft, Day Two

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

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.

Dexter McCluster from Ole MissSlot 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.

Chiefs Take Berry, Prepare for Day Two

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Safety Eric Berry from TennesseeIt wasn’t my prediction, but I’m very pleased with the result. Safety Eric Berry is a high-quality player and a high-character kid. I had mentioned Berry in a post as a possible draft choice for the Chiefs back in December. Several great stories on Berry in the Kansas City Star this morning outlining some of his personal and football accomplishments. Coming out of high school Berry was ranked as the number one defensive back by Rivals.com and Scout.com, and carried a 3.75 GPA. He was an immediate starter at Tennessee and started every game. In 39 career games he was flagged for one penalty — and that was his freshman year. Berry fills the biggest hole on the Chiefs roster. When the Chiefs decided not to pursue any of the free agent safeties on the market, I guess it should have been clear to us then that Berry was already high on the Chiefs radar. Good job Pioli. I think Berry will be a great Chief and ambassador to our community.

Rounds Two and Three
The Chiefs have three picks tonight in rounds two and three — picks 36, 50 and 68. Still some first round talent on the board. ESPN.com in their updated mock draft for these two rounds is predicting that the Chiefs will draft:

#36: OT Rodger Saffold from Indiana
#50: DT Terrence Cody from Alabama
#68: TE Dennis Pita from BYU

I’d be good with the Chiefs getting an offensive lineman and a nose tackle tonight. I’m not sure that Cody will last till the middle of the second round, and might be worth taking with the Chiefs first pick tonight. I also really like OLB Sergio Kindle from Texas, and would not be disappointed to see the Chiefs grab him at the top of round two. So if the Chiefs go defense with their first pick tonight (Kindle or Cody), then you’d think they might look to the offensive line with their next pick. If they don’t like the available tackles, two names to watch are OG Jon Asamoah (6-4, 305) from Illinois and OG Vladmir Ducasse (6-4, 332) from Massachusetts. They are the two top-rated interior linemen still on the board.

Other Thoughts on Round One
Overall I thought most of the teams made picks that made sense given what was on the board, and each team’s needs. But I can’t even imagine what the Jaguars were thinking drafting DT Tyson Alualu at number ten, or what the Broncos saw in Tim Tebow to take him at 25. Tebow is the type of kid you’d like to root for (though I’ll never root for Denver). I just don’t see him ever as a great NFL quarterback. And why would you ever draft a quarterback in the first round unless you were CONVINCED that he’d make a great NFL quarterback? We’ll see what happens, but I’m not sold that Denver and their staff know what they’re doing.

My favorite move of the night? Probably the Chargers jumping up to draft RB Ryan Mathews. It was aggressive. And when you already have a lot of talent like San Diego, but a glaring hole at an important position like running back, you need to go get your guy.

Big 12 Rocked the House
And congrats to the Big 12. Wow. The top four picks and five of the top six all coming out of the Big 12. I will say that I was very impressed with both Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy. They were humble, polite and well spoken. Both came across as very sincere and nice young men.

Rumors That Chiefs-Niners Could Swap Picks

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

A new rumor floating online has the Chiefs and 49ers possibly swapping picks. The 49ers have two picks in the first round — number 13 and number 17 — and may want to trade up to draft QB Jimmy Clausen. From ESPN.com: “One possibility that jumps right out at us is the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners have two picks in the teens, are enamored with Clausen and have a new man at the head of the front office who might be looking to make a signature transaction. Of course, it might be more logical for the Niners to hang on to both of those picks because they’ll likely be able to get two starters instead of one, and Clausen is considered a risky pick by some. But Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News is on board with this suggestion. He even suggests that the Niners might be able to get a second-rounder back from the Chiefs. That would mean the Niners would pick at No. 5, No. 36 and No. 49, with the Chiefs picking at No. 13, No. 17 and No. 50 (from Atlanta from last year’s Tony Gonzalez deal). On the surface, this seems to make some sense for both sides, since the Niners will get Clausen (if they do want him that badly), and the Chiefs will be able to plug two of their many holes with impact players drafted in the teens.”

Final Comments on Chiefs 2010 Draft

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Kansas City ChiefsThe draft starts in a couple days. I’m actually enthused about the new format. Round one Thursday night. Rounds two and three on Friday night. And the remaining four rounds on Saturday. The Chiefs have eight picks: one in the first, two in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth, and three in the fifth.

Most mock drafts have the Chiefs picking an offensive tackle (Okung, Williams or Bulaga) or safety Eric Berry with their first pick. A few, including my own mock draft, have the Chiefs ending up with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. I’d be OK with any of these picks. And I’d be even better if they could move down a few slots and still get Berry or one of the offensive tackles.

Top priorities for the Chiefs: improve their offensive line (potential starter or add depth / future starter), improve their defensive line (in particular a true nose tackle), draft a starting safety, and find a kick returner. If they can do these four things, the draft will prove to be successful.

My NFL Mock Draft

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

NFL logoThis is an exercise in futility only. My first time doing a mock draft. And if I’m correct on more than a dozen picks I’ll be shocked! This assumes no trades, though there’s been a lot of speculation that we could see more trades than normal this year.

St. Louis Rams (1 – QB Sam Bradford): I can’t imagine the Rams doing anything else. They’ve cut QB Marc Bulger, and all signs point to Bradford.

Detroit Lions (2 – OT Russell Okung): Most mock drafts have the Lions taking DT Ndamukong Suh. But this could shake up a few draft boards early. Lions need to protect their young QB and pick the best OT in the draft.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3 – DT Gerald McCoy): Bucs faced with a tough choice between Suh and McCoy, but choose McCoy as a better fit for their defense.

Washington Redskins (4 – OT Trent Williams): The Redskins are disappointed that Okung is off the board and take Williams. Shanahan needs to protect QB McNabb and must replace the retired LOT Chris Samuels.

Kansas City Chiefs (5 – DT Ndamukong Suh): Chiefs have no choice but to draft Suh, the top player on their board. They certainly won’t reach for the third best OT in the draft. And they won’t take safety Eric Berry over Suh. Here’s hoping that the Chiefs can trade down with both Suh and Clausen still on the board.

Seattle Seahawks (6 – S Eric Berry): Seahawks happy to see Berry fall to them. Berry will be an impact player.

Cleveland Browns (7 – Jimmy Clausen): Browns need to solve their problems at quarterback, and I can’t imagine they believe that Jake Delhomme is a long-term answer. Clausen would be a good fit in Cleveland.

Oakland Raiders (8 – OT Bryan Bulaga): Never to be deterred by potential character issues, Raiders draft the best OT on the board. That makes three OTs in the top 10.

Buffalo Bills (9 – NT Dan Williams): Bills had hoped for Clausen, but settle to fill a hole on their defensive line as they move to the 3-4 defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars (10 -DE Derrick Morgan): I could picture the Jags going in many directions here with the tenth pick. But at this point I don’t have a single pass rusher coming off the board yet. Morgan would help Jacksonville and their anemic pass rush.

Denver Broncos (11 – WR Dez Bryant): After trading WR Brandon Marshall, the Broncos have a hole to fill, and Bryant is still on the board.

Miami Dolphins (12 – DE/OLB Sergio Kindle): The Dolphins need to go defense, and improve their pass rush. They decide to choose Kindle over Pierre-Paul.

San Francisco 49ers (13 – CB Joe Haden): The 49ers are happy to see the best CB in the draft still on the board at number 13.

Seattle Seahawks (14 – RB C.J. Spiller): Having gone defense with their first pick, the Seahawks move to offense and take the dynamic Spiller.

New York Giants (15 – ILB Rolando McClain): The best inside LB in the draft and a fiery leader. A good fit with the Giants.

Tennessee Titans (16 – DE Jason Pierre-Paul): This could prove to be one of the steals of the draft. Fits in well with the Titans, and could become a sack machine.

San Francisco 49ers (17 – OT Anthony Davis): If Jimmy Clausen falls, I could picture the 49ers taking him here. But with Clausen off the board, 49ers add Davis to their offensive line.

Pittsburgh Steelers (18 – C/G Maukice Pouncey): Steelers need to improve their offensive line, and Pouncey just looks like a great fit here.

Atlanta Falcons (19 – OLB Sean Weatherspoon): I like Weatherspoon. He’s got a chance to be a real impact player in the NFL. Another option here would be DE/OLB Brandon Graham.

Houston Texans (20 – CB Kyle Wilson): Texans need to replace CB Dunta Robinson, and Wilson is a decent value here.

Cincinnati Bengals (21 – TE Jermaine Gresham): If WR Dez Bryant is still on the board, he’s the pick here. But instead the Bengals take the best TE in the draft. A good weapon in the passing game for Carson Palmer.

New England Patriots (22 – DT Jason Odrick): Pats have a history of drafting defensive linemen in the first round, and they still need to replace Richard Seymour.

Green Bay Packers (23 – G Mike Iupati): Packers need to upgrade the offensive line, and Iupai is best lineman on the board.

Philadelphia Eagles (24 – S Earl Thomas): Eagles go with the best player still on the board. Thomas could go considerably higher. Some mock drafts have him in the top 10.

Baltimore Ravens (25 – WR Demaryius Thomas): A big, physical home run threat, Thomas will help the Ravens passing game.

Arizona Cardinals (26 – OT Charles Brown): The run on OTs continue as the Cards take the best offensive lineman on the board.

Dallas Cowboys (27 – S Taylor Mays): Disappointed that they’ve missed out on all of the top OTs, Cowboys grab the top safety on the board.

San Diego Chargers (28 – DT Terrence Cody): Cody will be a great fit in the middle of their defensive line. This pick just makes too much sense not to happen.

New York Jets (29 – DE Everson Griffen): Another defensive weapon for Rex Ryan, Griffen is a fantastic athlete. Or they could go with Brandon Graham here.

Minnesota Vikings (30 – CB Kareem Jackson): Many have Jackson going much higher in the draft. The Vikings will be happy to see him still on the board.

Indianapolis Colts (31 – OLB Brandon Graham): Colts take best player still on the board. Graham could go much higher than this.

New Orleans Saints (32 – OLB Jerry Hughes): The Saints need to get more pressure on the QB, and Hughes could be a playmaker.

Draft Scenarios for the Chiefs

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Kansas City ChiefsThe draft is only three weeks away, and I don’t think I’m any closer to guessing at what the Chiefs will pick than I was three months ago. So instead we’ll look at a few possible scenarios, and a few areas of need. The Chiefs have done a good job in free agency plugging a few holes with Thomas Jones, Ryan Lilja, Casey Wiegmann, Shaun Smith and Jerheme Urban. And they’ve resigned Chris Chambers, Derrick Johnson and Mike Vrabel. What this has done is that it’s put the Chiefs in a position where they don’t have to draft any one area of need. They can focus on taking the best player available.

Top Five Pick
It’s almost impossible to trade out of a top five pick, so for the most part we’ll assume the Chiefs are stuck with their pick. Typically top five picks are reserved for players at premium positions: quarterbacks, offensive tackles, pass rushers (defensive ends / 3-4 outside linebackers), and possibly star cornerbacks and defensive tackles. Occasionally you might get a running back or a wide receiver that jumps to the top of the draft, but it seems that in recent years these positions have slipped further down the draft boards. Typically not taken in the top five are safeties, guards, centers, inside linebackers and tight ends.

I only see one scenario where the Chiefs could trade their pick, and that’s if quarterback Jimmy Clausen is still on the board. Behind the Chiefs are several teams that have a need at quarterback including Seattle, Cleveland, Oakland and Buffalo. If the Browns or the Bills want Clausen, and are concerned that the Seahawks might grab him with the sixth pick  in the draft, then possibly the Chiefs will have an opportunity to trade down. Other than that, it won’t happen.

Best Player Available vs Area of Need
Last year the Chiefs surprised us all by reaching for defensive end Tyson Jackson. I don’t expect the same kind of reach this year. And good news for the Chiefs is that they have needs that match up well with premium positions, and the top players on the board.

Defensive Tackle: According to Mel Kiper’s Big Board, he’s got Ndamukon Suh and Gerald McCoy ranked as the top two players in the draft. Most mock drafts have Suh and McCoy off the board by the time the Chiefs pick at number five, but if one of them would happen to fall, the Chiefs will be faced with a tough choice. The Chiefs have drafted a lot of defensive linemen in recent years, but still have a hole in the middle of their line. I think they’ll both be gone by the time the Chiefs pick.

Quarterback: Kiper has Jimmy Clausen and Sam Bradford rated in his top five. In a way this is great news for the Chiefs. The Chiefs don’t need a quarterback, but several teams drafting in the top ten could use a quarterback. Bradford is likely to go number one to the Rams. Clausen could potentially go to Washington at number four.

Offensive Tackle: This is the position most Chiefs fans see as the biggest area of need. Picking a top offensive tackle would allow the Chiefs to move Branden Albert to right tackle, and could dramatically strengthen their offensive line. There are several offensive tackles ranked highly among the experts including Russell Okung, Trent Williams, Bryan Bulaga and Anthony Davis.

Jason Pierre-PaulPass Rusher: I’m a bit surprised there hasn’t been more talk about the Chiefs taking a pass rusher in the draft. Derrick Morgan and Jason Pierre-Paul are two of the best defensive ends in the draft. Pierre-Paul is 6-5 and 262, and I would think could transition to an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. He would give the Chiefs another pass rusher, and could rotate with Vrabel and Hali, and eventually replace Vrabel in the starting lineup.

Safety: Typically safeties aren’t taken in the top five, but most experts agree that Eric Berry is a special talent, and this would certainly qualify as an area of need for the Chiefs. I wouldn’t be disappointed at all to see Berry in Kansas City.

Two other names that have popped up for the Chiefs are wide receiver Dez Bryant and linebacker Rolando McClain. I’d be surprised by either pick. These are not premium positions, and they aren’t glaring needs for the Chiefs.

Summary
If Suh or McCoy falls, I think the Chiefs would have to give this serious consideration. But I think that’s unlikely. It’s hard to know how the Chiefs value the safety position, and whether or not they’d take a safety this high in the draft.

Experts: Eric Berry seems to be the pick from many experts, including Kiper and Todd McShay.
My prediction: Offensive tackle Russell Okung
My sleeper pick: Jason Pierre-Paul

Chiefs Draft and NFL Free Agency

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

NFL logoNFL free agency begins soon, and the draft is only a couple months away. A difficult time of year for us NFL junkies with little news to read.

Free Agency
With the expiration of the NFL’s labor agreement, free agency takes an interesting turn. Unless a deal is reached soon, which is not anticipated, this year will be an uncapped year. So you might expect a lot of money to get thrown around to free agents. But because of the expiration of the agreement, many players who would have become unrestricted free agents are now restricted free agents. So pickings will be slim. Add to that the uncertainty of the 2011 season and it’s likely now that many teams will refrain from spending much this off-season. There are a few marquee names out there who will sign quickly. But after that expect little action on the free agent market.

I found an interesting website this week: NFL Labor News. Lots of information focused on, well, NFL labor news. And if you’re looking for a site to track available free agents, try KFFL’s Free Agent Tracker.

Offensive Tackle Anthony Davis from RutgersChiefs First Round Draft Pick
Improving the Chiefs’ offensive line remains a priority this off-season. And I still think it’s likely that the Chiefs will take an offensive tackle with their first pick in the draft. Russell Okung from Oklahoma State has consistently been high on most draft boards, but appears to be slipping a bit as other players move up. One name to watch is Anthony Davis, an offensive tackle from Rutgers. Here’s how he’s described by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, who predicts that the Chiefs will pick him in the draft: “Davis has the physical talent to be a Pro Bowl player early in his career, but he’s still developing. Still, given a choice, the Chiefs can’t pass on his upside, which is as high as any player’s in the draft. A potential Walter Jones-like presence, if his development continues. The Chiefs also could move Branden Albert to the right side.”