This sucks, the Chiefs had a horrible season and I am reduced to fast forwarding to next year’s draft. So, being a football fanatic and a shift worker (on call) who’s relegated his children to the ex for Christmas day, I find myself researching college talent for my team. Yeah, I know, the combine and pro-day are still far away and will further winnow/change the list before draft day, but still, I’m taking an early look. I need some cheer. My Christmas gift to you is borne from my wish for a better 2013 season.
Quarterback is the position we MUST focus on. Let me be clear...there is NO other choice at the first pick. My vote: Geno Smith. To me, this is a no brainer. Our number one need and the consensus best QB in the draft, Geno IS the pick. (Let the arguments commence.) For the record, I believe Wilson is a close second, but because of injury concerns I will flatly pass on him...in the 1st round. As a second round pick though...hell, yes! Barkley’s stock has dropped this year...possibly all the way to the second round. Glennon is next up...and I have little argument with his abilities. He’ll either go in the first or second.
So, here’s where it gets interesting...what to do in the second round? Personally, I would like to double down on QB. Call me crazy, but insurance and real competition at QB is important. (Plus, why not deny the other teams a good QB?) IF, and this is a mighty big if, Barkley or Glennon is there in the second, I would be mighty tempted to take one of them. Barring that option, what position do we address? I see our next highest needs prioritized in this order: safety, corner, inside linebacker, center, and wide receiver. Finally, Glenn Dorsey is probably leaving. Depth at DE would be wise. Why this order, you ask? In simplest terms safety/corner over inside linebacker because they are on the field on EVERY snap. An impact player has more value when on the field. ILB is a glaring hole, but our linebacking corps as a whole is damn good and the ILB comes off the field on passing plays. As for center, Lilja is on his way out. Hudson will be back, but with no back up. If we find an outstanding center, Hudson is interchangeable at guard. We need some depth on the O-line. Centers can be found later in the draft. Wide receiver will be a hotly debated subject. Do we re-sign Bowe? Is Breaston coming back? Is Baldwin going to become Bowe or fade away? Are the Chiefs going to use McCluster...or replace him with Wylie? Where IS Wylie? Some on AP believe wide receiver is an absolute need. I believe the poor showing at wide receiver is directly related to the god awful talent under center. A real QB and unhandcuffed Offensive Coordinator will use the receiver talent we have already.
Who is in the draft that can immediately help our secondary? With Rivers and Manning, twice each, every year, our secondary needs help...and this year’s draft class has all the right answers. Let’s look at safety first. I see safety as the highest need because we have near zero depth. Eric Berry appears to have finally returned to pre-injury form, but Lewis, although serviceable, has injury concerns, size, speed, and spotty tackling issues. The best safety in the draft is Kenny Vaccaro out of Texas and draft experts (Walter/Charlie) see him gone by mid-1st round. So, cross him off the list unless he pulls a Houston before the combine. Next up, and maybe within reach are a pair of outstanding strong safeties: Matt Elam, Florida and Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma. Both are likely NFL first year starters, smart, team leaders, speedy, hard hitting, and can play either strong or free safety. Failing their availability, the Chiefs should keep an eye on Eric Reid, LSU.
Arguably the second most pressing need is corner. Javier Arenas has been pretty good, but he is not Brandon Carr...yet. Jalil Brown is a big question mark. If the light comes on, he will be serviceable or maybe better. Problem I see with drafting a corner is the elite ones (Milliner/Banks) will be gone early in the first. Good ones are still available into the third though and if Xavier Rhodes falls to the second round the Chiefs could decide to take him and chance a Berry/Lewis/Menzie/Daniels safety net being good enough.
One fun long shot pick for the top of the second would be if Tavon Austin falls to us. I am intrigued with Austin. I highly doubt he makes it past the Patriots in the first, but it would be insanely cool to pair Geno with his (unofficial 4.28 forty) number one target. I expect some to ask why pick another diminutive wide receiver like Dexter McCluster? I’d say watch the videos...he has elite speed and sick cuts. Wylie 2.0 yes, but, worth a look.
Mainly I focused on the 2nd round. Here’s the wish list I compiled after a day reviewing mock drafts, watching videos, and basically filching the internet’s player ratings. They are loosely listed by mock draft position:
(The number following the college is the current mock draft position posed by the two writers at Walter’s. Walter/Charlie Notice, Glennon was picked to go 6th overall by Walter but 41st by Charlie.)
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia 28/28 (5-9 176lbs 4.39s)
Matt Elam, S, Florida 29th/24th (5-10 202lbs 4.4s 40)
Matt Barkley, QB, USC 33rd/38th (6-2 230lbs 4.83s)
Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma 39th/33rd (5-11 212lbs 4.49)
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas 39th/41st (6-3 220lbs 4.80s)
Mike Glennon, QB, N.C. State 6/41st (6-6 232lbs 4.61s)
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State 45th/29th (6-2 215lbs 4.44).
Eric Reid, S, LSU 47th/51 (6-2 208lbs 4.5s 40)
Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State 51st (5-11 181lbs 4.5s)
David Amerson, CB, N.C. State 58th (6-3 194 4.46)
Depending on who we pick with the 34th pick. Here’s a peek at players who should be available in the third. (We will have the 65th and probably the compensatory 97th pick.) We can fill two more big needs with a pair of these guys. There’s 5 corners, 3 safeties, 5 DEs, 3 ILBs, 5 QBs, a G/C, and another WR in this round. Beyond that...we have the second pick in the fourth round which several of these players could fall.
Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse (his stock is rising fast...I wouldn’t expect him to fall to the 3rd. I wouldn’t take him in the second though.)
T.J. McDonald, S, USC (6-2 205lbs 4.42s. Had he come out last year he would have been the second best free safety behind Barron.)
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut (Some have him ranked as the 5th best corner in the draft. 6-1 190lbs 4.34)
Nickell Robey, CB, USC (5-8 168lbs 4.32) He may stay for his senior year.
John Simon, DE, Ohio State
Chase Thomas, DE/OLB, Stanford
Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers
San Francisco 49ers: Carrington Byndom, CB, Texas
Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee (If he falls to the bottom of the third round and we took a safety/corner in the second...this is our guy. Definitely would take him at 97.)
William Gholston, DE/DT, Michigan State (Was once considered a 1st-2nd round choice. He has nice versatility. for the next level. He looks like a perfect fit as a 4-3 defensive end, but he also could be a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense.
Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Zac Dysert, QB, Miami of Ohio
Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford
Kevin Reddick, ILB, North Carolina
Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia
Sean Porter, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
Travis Frederick, G/C, Wisconsin
Robert Lester, S, Alabama
Take a look... Pick 5...1st, 34th, 65th, 97th, and whatever the 2nd pick in the 4th is after the compensatory picks are done. Who and why would you choose them?