I know it's not a very popular opinion to say we are better off losing to get a better draft position, and I would have agreed until last week, but I think the Chiefs have finally reached the point where the team has a lot to lose by pulling out a win or two over the final two weeks. Yeah, it would feel good to play spoiler to LJ's Bengals or (particularly) the Broncos, but the temporary satisfaction that would come from either of those wins could be offset by substantial long-term negative consequences for Kansas City.
Currently we are in position to draft 5th overall in the first round, behind St. Louis (1-13), Tampa Bay (2-12), Detroit (2-12) and Cleveland (3-11). Sitting behind us is Washington at 4-10 and followed by Seattle, Chicago, Oakland and Buffalo...each at 5-9. So, if all of these teams lose out, and KC wins out, the lowest draft position we could end up with in the first round is #10 (depending on final strength of schedule) if we win out and all of the 5-9 teams lose their final two games.
The interesting thing here is that we could end up actually drafting at #2 overall, if we don't win another game (assuming here that the probability of St Louis winning their final two games is zero, which I'd say is a pretty safe assumption).
Following are the remaining schedules for each of the teams .
St. Louis (1-13): @Arizona, San Francisco
Tampa Bay (2-12): @ New Orleans, Atlanta
Detroit (2-12): @San Francisco, Chicago
Cleveland (3-11): Oakland, Jacksonville
Kansas City (3-11): @ Cincy, @ Denver
Washington (4-10): Dallas, @ San Diego
Seattle (5-9): @ GB, Tennesee
Chicago (5-9): Minnesota, @ Detroit
Oakland (5-9): @ Cleveland, Baltimore
Buffalo (5-9): @Atlanta, Indy
Based on these schedules, I would say that Tampa Bay has a legit shot at beating Atlanta and Detroit should beat Chicago...which would take both of those teams to 3-13. Cleveland could win either of their two final games, being at home against warm weather teams, but I'll assume they win one and finish 4-12. Washington looks to have given up on the season already so I expect them to finish 4-12 as well. Seattle looks bad & has two tough opponents with everything to play for, so they should finish 5-11 (along with Chicago, who has also given up). Oakland and Buffalo could each easily win one of their remaining games, so I'll peg both of them going 6-10.
Based on these projections, KC would pick in the following positions based on how they do:
Finish 3-13: Pick 2-4
Finish 4-12: Pick 4-6
Finish 5-11: Pick 6-8
The point of this post is to discuss the draft ramifications of the Chiefs final record. Since they seem to be the most popular Mock Draft picks among AP folks, I'm going to assume that we want to draft Berry, Okung or Suh with our first pick. Finishing 3-13 almost ensures that one of these players will be available when we are drafting. Finishing 4-12 or 5-11 makes it much less clear-cut that the player will be available, as we will likely go from drafting 3rd overall to either 5th or 7th (based on strength of schedule at each of those win totals). Some would say that the salary demands of higher picks makes them less desireable, but the difference in guaranteed contract size going from #3 to #7 is only about $10 million over 5 seasons. It's a significant difference, but it may very well be worthwhile if it means getting the player KC wants the most. There are obvious ramifications in the later rounds as well. Picking 2-4 slots later in the 2nd, 3rd & 4th rounds could mean the difference between drafting a coveted player (perhaps Cody in the second round, for example) and a player Pioli just likes. You get the idea.
I'm not advocating intentionally tanking the final two games, but I do think it's time to let go of the win at all costs mentality. Give the banged up starters a rest & let some of the younger guys have a chance for significant game action. Even if he can play, let Dorsey rest & give Magee significant time on 1st & 2nd down. Let Donald Washington, Pier Walters, Andy Studebaker, Quinten Lawerence and Javarris Williams get some more game action, the team will be better off for it going into next season. These guys will have more experience to learn from, there will be less risk for major injuries to our core players, and the team may just have a better rookie class to work with next year & beyond.
|.||Matthew Stafford||QB||Detroit||Signed||6 years, $72 million ($41.7M guaranteed)|
|2.||Jason Smith||OT||St. Louis||Signed||5 years, $61.775 million ($33M guaranteed)|
|3.||Tyson Jackson||DE||Kansas City||Signed||5 years, $57 million ($31M guaranteed)|
|4.||Aaron Curry||LB||Seattle||Signed||6 years, $60 million ($34M guaranteed)|
|5.||Mark Sanchez||QB||N.Y. Jets||Signed||5 years, $60 million ($28M guaranteed)|
|6.||Andre Smith||OT||Cincinnati||Signed||4 years, $26 million ($21M guaranteed)|
|7.||Darrius Heyward-Bey||WR||Oakland||Signed||5 years, $38.25 million ($23.5M guaranteed)|
|8.||Eugene Monroe||OT||Jacksonville||Signed||5 years, $35.4 million ($19.2M guaranteed)|