On March 31st, Michael Ash of Warpaint Illustrated wrote his second version of the NFL Draft Preview. The whole article can be read in its entirety here. I thought that Michael had some excellent insight as to why or why not we may draft a player. He took a look at some of the key positions of interests for the Chiefs in the upcoming draft: DT, OT, QB, LB, DB.
My goal in this post is to address various comments that Michael Ash had for each position strictly from a fans perspective. Then I would like AP nation to have an open forum from the way Michael writes it, how I view it, and then other Chief fans thoughts.
Before diving in, I do want to state that my views are congruent with those of Michael Ash and my guessing is that he has similar aspirations as I for the Chiefs when it comes Draft Day.
Lets get into it...
Defensive Tackle: Ndamukong Suh, Gerarld McCoy, Dan Williams
In regards to Suh and McCoy, things have stayed pretty much the same. As we discussed last time, it’s certainly possible that one or both players could succeed as unconventional nose tackles in a 3-4 defense. But the Chiefs – who already have an unconventional defensive end in Glenn Dorsey – just don’t seem like the team to take that gamble.
Suh and McCoy are great DT's, but I am concerned that they might not be what we need at the NT spot. IF they are still at #5, do we really want to purchase another DT to play a spot that is unconventional for them. I think they can make the transition to NT, but we already have a DT playing DE. Also, do we really want to spend that kind of money on a Dlineman for the 3rd year in a row. I love them as college players, but I personally do not see them as HUGE value to the Chiefs at #5.
Williams remains the top prospect in the true nose tackle mold. His stock hasn’t risen all that much from when we last spoke of him, though, and at the moment most analysts peg him going somewhere between picks 10-20.
He certainly fits a need, but absolutely no one views Williams as one of the five best players in the draft. Taking him with the fifth overall pick would be a definite reach.
When Romeo went to Tennesse's Pro Day, his 1st objective was to evaluate Eric Berry, period, end of story. However, his 2nd objective was to see this Dan Williams guy. If he is the top prospect at nose tackle, he has to be concerned. Like the article suggests, Williams would be a definite reach.... which is irrelevant in Pioliland. My stomach just would not settle correctly if we used the #5 spot on Williams with other strong NT prospects out there:
Terrance Cody, Brian Price, Aruther Jones, L. Joesph, Troup, etc...
Final Thought: Don't draft a NT at #5. I think we can grab a solid player that can be coached up by Romeo in a later round to fill that spot. Not to mention we did bring in Shuan Smith for some help too.
Offensive Tackle: R. Okung, B. Bulaga, A. Davis (throwing in T. Williams)
Let’s go ahead and make the likely assumption that Brian Watersand Ryan Lilja will be Kansas City’s starting guards in 2010. With that in mind, the issue of whether the Chiefs will draft an offensive tackle at #5 seems to have boiled down to one simple question: would they actually be dumb enough to move Branden Albert to right tackle?
With Ryan Lilja in the house now, it seems that the Guard positions are set which would throw out the idea of Albert sliding to his college position of LG. Brian Waters hates the idea. I think the only option would be to put him on the Right side, but like Michael said, wouldn't that be dumb? Albert is going to be a solid LT, not a Willie Roaf solid, but a solid one.
Moving Albert to right tackle, on the other hand, is basically indefensible. He’s never played right tackle. He’d only have about four months to learn. He doesn’t seem to fit the mold of what teams typically look for in a right tackle.
I do not feel like running Albert through the ringer again with switching positions on him all over again.
And when it comes to the NFL Draft, oh, what a relationship it’s been.
Ferentz took over the Hawkeyes’ program back in 1999. Pioli never had the final say in New England, but we can probably assume he had some influence starting in 2002 when he became the Patriots’ Vice President of Player Personnel. Of course, he took over the Chiefs in 2009.
From 2002-2009, here are all of the players from Iowa that were drafted by the Chiefs or Patriots:
Yep, that’s the list. Nobody. Not a single person. Pioli has never once participated in the drafting of a player coached by his buddy Ferentz, yet half the media has him reaching on a tackle simply because of that connection.
This information I did not know. I thought there was something there when people kept saying he's pals with the Iowa coach, so I made the assumption Pioli has had a past of selecting his guys. False, he has not. If Pioli was to draft Bulaga, it's because he views Bulaga as a better value to the team then Okung or Berry. Not because he's buddies with Ferentz, because that bit of information is irrelevant!
Final Thought: Would I be crushed if we drafted Okung or Bulaga? No. Maybe with the Iowa kid I would, but not as much with Okung. I just feel that the Chiefs addressed this issue in the offseason and can also upgrade the spots in Round 2 or later. I would love to see them draft my Indiana boy Roger Saffold in Round 2 or 3.
Quarterback: S. Bradford, J. Clausen
Not going to discuss this. Why? Well Bradford WILL be gone at #5 and I hate this theory that Chiefs would draft a #5 QB just for competition. That's horsehockey... not happening. If they wanted a higher profile guy to compete with Cassel they could trade their 2nd round pick for McNabb or even tried to get Chad Pennington. This is stupid, they are not drafting a QB at #5.
Final Thought: Sigh. Don't even bring these guys to look at please.
Linebacker: R. McClain, J. Pierre-Paul
Talk of the Chiefs drafting a linebacker hasn’t gained any steam since our last installment. McClain’s stock seems to have leveled off a bit, with most analysts agreeing that he’s not a top ten pick. He still remains an option if the Chiefs are able to trade back, but taking him at #5 seems unlikely.
As for Pierre-Paul or any of the other potential pass-rushing OLBs in the draft, little has been said to link them to the Chiefs’ spot at #5. Given the talent that should be available, outside linebacker should be a spot to watch with one of the Chiefs’ second-round picks – although we could easily say that about a few other positions too.
I like McClain. Wasn't awed by him in the National Championship game, but if Coach Bama down there believes he's the best LB he's ever coached and he has leadership skills AND they run a 3-4... you gotta take a look at him. But like many experts are starting to think, McClain is not a Top 10 pick.
This is the first time I've seen Pierre-Paul's name float around the Chiefs. I like the guy a lot, but I really agree with Michael when he says there are some great prospects that will be sitting there in Round 2. I believe Chiefs linebacker needs in Round 2 with a guy like Jerry Hughes.
Final Thought: Round 2 please. Look for your LB's in Round 2 and on.
Defensive Backs: E. Berry, J. Haden
Haden’s stock hit a bump with his slow 40-yard dash time at the combine, but reports from his pro day had him in the 4.4 range that most were expecting. Apparently, a strained back was to blame for his combine performance. He should still go in the latter half of the top ten
Okay - I like Haden, I just don't think this is going to happen. I think we need a Safety that could play cornerback rather then just a cornerback. What does that say about Carr if we just flat out get a CB at #5. When he says "latter half of the top ten" that's not us.
Berry’s stock remains sky high as one of the three or four best prospects in the draft. Like before, if he’s there when the Chiefs pick at #5, it’s hard to imagine a better player being available.
You all know I have a man crush on Berry, but seriously there IS NO BETTER PLAYER AVAILABLE. Check out this video. This guy is a statistical genius. Let's look at what he has accomplished in his 3 years. Let me start out by saying he was a starter as a Freshman where he came out of HS as the #1 Ranked DB in the country.
Tackles: 241 (these were not just soft tackles, these are KO hits)
7 yards away from the all-time most return yards after an INT, also took 3 picks back for TDs.
Berry is also being quoted that the reason he didn't get many INTs his Junior year (2) b/c teams looked to him as if he was the "plague".
Some other unmesaurables. The Kiffin coaches highly regard him as an elite leader of men and a guy who is in NO off the field issues. Not mention, Eric Berry is a selfless player. He will do whatever the team needs and it shows.
Eric Berry played the following positions in college at least once. SS, FS, DB, Nickel, KR, PR, LB, WR, Special Teams coverage.
A brief analysis by Sports Illustrated’s Peter King has recently called into question whether a safety is good value at the top of the draft. Unfortunately, the logic was somewhat marred by one of it’s key points, a claim that top safeties are often injured because they take similar abuse as linebackers while having smaller bodies.
King cited the fact that the Colts’ Bob Sanders, the Ravens’ Ed Reed, and Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu have missed a combined 78 games in their careers. That number may technically be accurate, but it’s far from a fair split – the injury-prone Sanders accounts for 63% of it by himself.
I pointed that out in previous posts! That stat about injuries is inflated b/c of Bob Sanders. What did Peter King leave out? Oh, that the Steelers fell apart after Troy Polamalu got injured last year. He also left out the fact that all 3 of these players have Super Bowl Rings. If you look at the teams that have been or won the Super Bowl of the last couple years, you will find they had top end safties like: Troy Polamalu, Rodney Harrison, Bob Sanders, Mike Brown, Antrel Rolle, Brian Dawkins, Ed Reed, Darren Sharper (I'm sure I'm missing someone).
Saints sure did get value out of Darren Sharper this last year, wouldn't you agree?
King’s column was most notable for a quote from Atlanta Falcons’ GM (and former top Patriots’ scout) Thomas Dimitroff, who relayed a specific conversation he had with Pioli about drafting Berry. According to the column, when Dimitroff – at some unidentified point in time – told Pioli “this guy’s your pick”, Pioli responded “You know how I feel about safeties that early”
Of course, there’s a number of ways to interpret that comment. Perhaps Pioli elaborated further, which wasn’t shared with King. Perhaps Pioli was simply being coy. Or perhaps he said it before he personally met with Berry, before Romeo Crennel ran Berry’s pro day, before Brandon Flowersworked out with Berry, and before any of the other things that should have given Pioli more insight.
Then there’s the fact that the entire quote just seems strange. An NFL general manager – and a good friend of Pioli’s, at that – basically stooges off to a reporter what Pioli might be planning for the draft? That seems rather hard to imagine.
When AP posted this story, I was disturbed and confused by it. Why would Pioli give away his game plan to another GM and why would another GM "friend" blurt out the Kansas City Chiefs game plan? Not very professional.
Also, there have been other signs that the Chiefs have shown great interest in Eric Berry.
- Flowers working out with Berry
- Scouts attending Tennesse Football games
- Romeo Crennel running Berry's Pro Day
- Eric Berry has personal visit to KC
- No attempt to get a Safety in the offseason which is clearly a position of need
Regardless, it can’t be ignored that the Chiefs have done nothing whatsoever to address the safety position this offseason. It might not have been the biggest need on the roster when last season ended, but after adding a few stop-gaps at other positions, safety is creeping higher and higher up the list.
If Berry is the best available player and fills a major need, what better combination could there be?
Final Thought: Eric Berry is winning the "Big Board" race by a mile in my estimate. There is no greater need and no better player. With his leadership, character, vision, tackling ability, and ball hawking/playmaking ability, there is no justification to NOT draft this guy. If he draft falls the way I believe it should fall with Bradford going #1 to start things off, Eric Berry should be available at #5. There is no excuse not to get this guy and I will say it here and now. If the Chiefs pass up on Eric Berry, they will forever kick themselves for letting him get away. On April 22nd, it will be in the best interest for Kansas City Chiefs future to hear...
With the 5th Selection in the NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select: Eric Berry, University of Tennesse
Great article by Michael Ash and I hope my interpretations helped justify his points and lead to more discussion regarding the state of the Chiefs draft.