If you’re thinking, “You’re an idiot. You’re previewing the 2013 draft already??? The 2012 season hasn’t even played out yet!!! This will be a waste of my time.", then please stop reading now. This is meant for draft junkies only. Let me preface this by stating that nothing is certain, and a lot can happen in one year. At this time last year, RGIII was projected as a 5th round WR on a lot of draft boards. I know it's about 360 days away, but let’s preview some 1st round players in the 2013 NFL draft at some potential positions of need for KC.
This is the ultimate make or break year for Matt Cassel. I think he will need to put up MVP caliber numbers in order to convince Pioli to keep him around, and that probably isn’t going to happen. His tenure here has been disappointing overall, and I think the Pioli-Cassel marriage is on its last leg. If Cassel fails to prove his worth, we might see Pioli break character and trade up for a QB. I would love that move, but only if it were for one of the following:
Matt Barkley, USC. Many people will scoff and say, “Psh... Just another USC quarterback who will struggle in the NFL.” That isn’t fair. He is not Sanchez or Palmer. He is Barkley, and he should be evaluated on his skill set, not his predecessors.
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas. If Wilson stays consistent this season, he will be a top 5 pick in the draft. He’s just scratching the surface of his potential.
Geno Smith, West Virginia. This is my guy right now. His stats are eye-popping, and his 4th quarter efficiency rating (a VERY telling and underrated stat) is his strength. I’ll be interested to see what Smith can do against tougher competition, now that he’s in the Big 12.
Hear me out. Peyton Hillis is here on a one year deal, and Pioli doesn’t usually extend the contracts of his one-year-guys. Jamaal Charles is coming off of an ACL surgery that might change the trajectory of his career. If Jamaal isn’t the same player that he used to be and Hillis leaves, they’ll need a productive runner. I’m not saying Jamaal will never be the same, I’m just preparing for that possibility.
Montee Ball, Wisconsin. When you’re already a record-breaking RB, and you are given another year to develop in a pro-style offense, nothing but good things can come out of that, barring injury.
Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina. I’ll be surprised if he decides to go back for his senior year after this season. He’s a touchdown machine who can fit in any offense.
Joseph Randle, OSU. If Randle puts up another season like he did last year, expect him to forego his senior year and enter the draft. 26 TDs is nothing to scoff at.
If Dorsey can continue to improve, he’ll get re-signed. Jackson, on the other hand, may have already reached his ceiling. And his ceiling just isn’t good enough. Pioli might be looking for his replacement if T-Jax doesn’t shock everyone and show a massive improvement in 2012. Personally, I like Allen Bailey a lot, and I think he should be a starter soon, but if Pioli doesn’t feel the same way, we could see one of these guys drafted in the 1st round:
Margus Hunt, Southern Methodist. Who?? Just look him up. This is the guy who turned heads when he had three sacks in SMU’s victory against Pitt in the Compass Bowl. He also happens to be 6‘8 295 lbs. HULK SMASH!!
William Gholston, Michigan State. In 2011, Gholston had 67 tackles and 5 sacks. If he stays consistent, he’ll forego his senior year and be one of the top 5-techs in the 2013 draft.
Of course there could be more holes on the Chiefs team around this time next year, but these three are the most likely, in my opinion. You could make an argument for just about any position. Let’s face it, a lot can happen in one season. There will probably be some players who are pleasant surprises, and some players who underachieve. We’ll see how the season plays out. My prediction for 2012 is 11-5 with a playoff victory (I’ve nailed the Chiefs record the last two seasons).