We are now at the point of the pre-draft season where all the fans and prognosticators are going through the motions of determining who will go where. I've come to the conclusion that really we are at the point of having too many questions and not enough time. We have discussed and probably will continue to discuss the merits of particular players (the two most notable at this time seem to be David DeCastro and Michael Brockers), however, I have yet to see a post or an article (whether on this site or another) that contemplates some of the major questions facing the Chiefs in the draft.
I know that some of you probably have your mind made up and believe (a great word for this Easter Sunday, but I digress) that if our GM will just select that one player (insert your guy here) then we will solidify our place as "risers" in the AFC. This might be true, but we just don't know and we can't even be sure that we will get the guy that the front office was expecting at #11.
Follow these questions after the break.
For example, when will the "unknown" pick occur in this draft? Remember in the 2010 draft when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Tyson Alualu at pick #10. Nobody called that one, then with the next pick San Fran took Anthony Davis from Rutgers and that was considered a stretch pick as well. Could we see Buffalo or those crazy Jaguars do something similar this year? What happens if say Jacksonville at #7 decides they want to fortify their O-line with David DeCastro? If that's who Pioli is secretly targeting then who's next on the draft board?
Or what happens if some team pulls an Atlanta and jumps 20 some spots to get a top ten talent? We're all looking at you Cincy. Or maybe with Holmgren on the hotseat for missing RG3, he has to select Tannehill at #4 and then use his second first rounder with future picks and some fodder from this year thrown in to get back to say #8 to get either Blackmon, Richardson or Floyd. Who drops and how does that domino potentially change the Chiefs' draft board?
How about an April "surprise"? I can't help but wonder that Morris Claiborne's wonderlic score won't be the only piece of draft info to drop that could effect someone's draft stock (Justin Houston, Randy Moss anyone?).
We are already seeing the rising "stock" (i.e. Michael Floyd, Fletcher Cox) but how much of that is accurate and how much is just to push others down the board? And when this happens what does it mean for the Chiefs? Does it mean we are able to find a trade partner who allows us to move down the board, missing as fans on our desired prospect while picking up valuable draft assets later on? (See Justin Houston 3rd round 2011)
What about the positional draft "run" that seems to occur ever so often? Remember the great offensive line draft run in 2008, when 7 offensive tackles went in the first round. There was a collective "what the?" from draftniks everywhere. However, teams knew if you wanted an offensive lineman in '08 you might have to reach.
Then we have the whole "it's a copycat league". So we can expect teams looking to pull a New England and find the Gronk-Hernandez link or the Giant's never-ending supply of pass rushers. If we combine this point with the previous one, it's entirely possible that this years first round will be watching the Melvin Ingram / Courtney Upshaws of the world fly off the board early and often.
Another question that comes to mind, is how to stop the New England / NYG's of the world. If New England is going to throw 2-3 TE's on the field, why look at a traditional 4-3 or 3-4, why not go to your sub-packages more often. If that's the case, with a thin Safety crop, a guy like Mark Barron could go top 10. Or guys like Melvin Ingram and Luke Keuchly with their versatility will go higher than expected. While DeCastro would solidify the O-line and Brockers would help the defensive interior, could a guy like Barron upgrade Kendrick Lewis while allowing us to play him more as a Safety/LB hybrid in sub-packages?
We haven't even gotten to the smoke that's coming from One Arrowhead Drive. Everybody and their brother knows that we have been looking at QB's left and right. Pioli has even stated that he would like to draft a QB every year but is this accurate? I went back and looked at some of the archived posts here at AP from the last couple of drafts and what you find is rather interesting. Mostly you will see that prior to the draft most draftniks have ideas of what they think we need and what Pioli will do (draft O-line, take a NT, never take a safety at 4, etc.) then you have what actually happens (trade down and take a WR who was considered a high second round pick by most draftniks, take Eric Berry, take Tyson Jackson). One consistent thing the last couple of years has been the information that the Chiefs have looked to trade out of their spot.
Also, how does Romeo change the draft dynamic? If Pioli and Haley truly were having problems after the 2010 playoff season, what kind of draft room did we have last year? Also, what shopping list has Romeo told Pioli that he wants? Could it be we go Defense because Romeo feels he is just a couple pieces away on the D? I mean our Free Agency haul focused heavily on upgrading our run game. Could this be a key to the traditional mantra of, "run the ball and stop the run"?
That brings us to my last question and probably the most central to our draft debates. What does the Chiefs' draft board really look like? Do we have 3-5 prospects with similar ratings to the point that we would / could take a chance to drop back into the 20s? How does our preferred choice rank to where we currently sit? Is it better than our spot (see Eric Berry arguably the #2 talent in the 2010 draft) or is it worse than our spot (see Tyson Jackson)?
I know I won't be surprised about how all of this plays out but I am very intrigued to see what happens whether that is DeCastro, Brockers, Barron, Ingram, Kirkpatrick, a trade or even the QB of the future with Ryan Tannehill. We know the bottom line from the front office is to upgrade the talent.