As was mentioned before, based on the majority opinion at Arrowhead Pride, GM Scott Pioli had already well-filled the "positional value" positions QB, LT, and DE.
As a result, this was going to be more of a purely "needs-driven" draft, similar to the NE pick of Jerod Mayo at #10 overall in 2008, with an emphasis on a safe pick that would fit the scheme. The Chiefs had three major needs going into this draft: NT, ILB, and safety.
With the picks of Eric Berry at #5 and Mt. Cody at #36, two of those three major needs have been filled, leaving only ILB as a major unfilled need. Minor needs are WR-slot, OT-swing, OG-zone blocking, TE-blocking, and maybe OLB. On to pick #50, also known as the "2b" pick at Arrowhead Pride.
As was mentioned in conjunction with the 2a pick (#36), a major potential issue was whether to fill a major need with a good player or to fill a minor need with a "can't-pass-up" player. After pick #36, the only "can't-pass-up" players mentioned by AP members were Jerry Hughes and Charles Brown. As expected, both were off the board a few picks after Mt. Cody. TE-blocking Rob Gronkowski is also gone. That points us directly toward the best ILB on the board, the 2nd best ILB in the entire draft. He fills the final major need and better yet, is an absolutely perfect fit for the Chiefs defense. He was the player I was leaning toward for this pick anyway, and just like Mt. Cody at #36, he is still on the board. Some have mentioned him as a 2nd Round pick, and others say he is a 3rd Round pick. History has shown Pioli is not above a slight reach in order to get a player of "positional value" or to fill a major need. At worst, this is a slight reach for a player with 1st-Round talent who is a perfect fit at the final major need.
First of all, it's important to look at fit. Let's look at the job requirements for an ILB in the Chiefs 3-4 defense. For a Tampa 2 defense, you want a smaller, faster MLB like Jordan Dizon, whose main responsibility is sideline-to-sideline zone pass coverage. For the Chiefs 3-4 defense, you want a big strong run-stopper who can cover the middle, but he doesn't need to have sideline-to-sideline speed. You want an old-school physical linebacker who can bring the pain, stop the ball-carrier dead in his tracks, and hit receivers on crossing routes, seperating them from the football, their helmet.....and maybe their head. In addition, in New England Scott Pioli had always had smart, fierce LB's with great leadership, like Tedy Bruschi. Bruschi was undersized and a step slow, but he stopped people dead in their tracks in the clutch with bone-rattling hits. He was smart and a fiery leader. Bill Belichick called him the "perfect football player". This is the kind of player who fits the Chiefs 3-4 defense perfectly. As the AP people said, it really is "New England West" in Kansas City these days.
OK, let's look at the 2 main ILB candidates to see how well they fit what Pioli wants for the Chiefs 3-4 defense. A recent fast-riser is Jamar Chaney, who is 6-0, 242. After some digging, it turns out that his stock is rising because he put up a fast 40 at the Combine. However, he seems like he's not a very smart player. He's a better athlete than football player. According to Draftboardinsider.com,
"I think people are over their heads about Chaney. Going back and watching him play, his problems in run support and tackling really hurt him. You figure in that he doesn't blitz a ton, and that's another strike against him. I almost wonder if his football IQ is pretty low, and he's more of just a run and chase guy. He doesn't get off blocks well so he prefers to try and use his speed and quickness to get around blockers to avoid them, and should spend considerable time in the film room and the weight room. Mark me down as thinking Chaney will be drafted too soon, and not be as productive as a lot of the linebackers who will be drafted after him. His triangle numbers have clouded people's judgment, paired up with a bad ILB class."
That doesn't sound like Tedy Bruschi to me. In fact, it sounds like the exact opposite.
Our second candidate is Brandon Spikes, who is 6-3, 249. Spikes is a big, strong old-school physical ILB who stops ball carriers cold, decapitates receivers over the middle, and is fast enough to cover the middle in a 3-4 defense. He's also very smart, very aggressive, and a fiery leader. He's among the best at reading plays quickly and blowing them up. Best of all, he's a fantastic tackler. Fans of both the Chiefs and Lions have seen what happens the last few years when players don't tackle. Any lack of straight-line speed he may have is not as crucial as it would be for, say, a CB or safety, and is certainly not a liability for an ILB in this 3-4 defense. In fact, it's that bad 40 time at his Pro Day (and the lack of position flexibility it implies to some teams), that let a 1st Round talent slide this far to begin with. Brandon Spikes doesn't need to play OLB in KC.....but he's the perfect fit at ILB. According to Draftboardinsider.com,
"You can't discount how productive Spikes has been the past 2 seasons. He's shown himself to be a leader on a very talented University of Florida defense and a legitimate NFL prospect. At this point, teams have to look at Spikes as a 2 down linebacker, who would excel in run support, but will need to work hard on pass coverage. Spikes is a big guy, and probably won't wow people at the Combine with his 40 time or his other traingle numbers. That will scare some teams, especially in a day and age that the league covets speed so much. And you figure in that he's really only an inside player, and you cut a few more teams out of the mix. But in the final analysis, stopping the run is still vital to a team's success and Spikes has all those tools that you look for. He's big and strong and aggressive and a great tackler. He's durable and smart and never gives up on the play. And one thing too is he's a very good tackler, which is rare in the NFL. And let me add this. Spikes isn't awful in coverage. He just isn't fluid. As I said above, his upside is enormous and I really don't see anything in his game that he struggles with that cannot be improved on."
Now THAT sounds like Tedy Bruschi. Brandon Spikes is a great football player who fits the Chiefs 3-4 scheme perfectly and fills the final major need.
With this pick, the Chiefs will have safety Eric Berry, NT Terrence Cody, and ILB Brandon Spikes......all 3 major needs filled with great players who are safe picks that fit the scheme. Not a bad start.
With the 50th pick in the Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select ILB Brandon Spikes.
Do you approve of this pick?
Yes (106 votes)
No (14 votes)
120 total votes