From the FanPosts. -Joel
Drafting players is always a bit of crapshoot in the NFL. In the early rounds GMs look for players with uncanny measureables or tremendous statistical production from the best college conferences. In rounds 4-7, teams have to make bets on smaller; slower players, kids who didn't go to dynasty schools; or perhaps were playing out of position.
Sometimes this gambles pay off. Chiefs fans are certainly spoiled in this regard. In recent years the last four rounds of the draft have produced a crop of bona fide studs such as Jared Allen (rd. 4), Brandon Carr (rd. 5), Kendrick Lewis (rd. 5) and Ryan Succop (last pick rd. 7). Many of these players, however, never pan out. After a few years of scraping the bottom of the roster or practice squad, they wash out of the league.
Scott Pioli took over as vice president of player personnel for the New England Patriots in 2002, giving us a nice ten year sample of late round draft selections. Let's see what trends we can uncover from the last decade of Pioli picks.
Round Player Position College Status
|2011||4||Jalil Brown||CB/S||Colorado||3rd String|
|5A||Ricky Stanzi||QB||Iowa||3rd String|
|5B||Gabe Miller||OLB||Oregon State||3rd String|
|6||Jerrell Powe||NT||Ole Miss||Backup|
They know their role:
Jalil Brown, CB/S:
Many draft analysts listed Brown as the best press corner in the 2011 Draft. Despite being listed as the third RCB behind Carr and Arenas in week 17, he's the Chiefs second best option to jam receivers at the line. If Routt were to go down due to injury, I think Brown could easily get the start over Arenas if the opposing receiver was tall or physical.
Ricky Stanzi, QB:
Some fans interpreted Coach Hobo's inexplicable starting of
Shane FalcoTyler Palko as an indication that Stanzi wasn't fit to see the field. Frankly, I have a hard time believing anyone could be as bad as Palko. The addition of Brady Quinn seems more like a move designed to guarantee that the Chiefs have a NFL-caliber (as opposed to cut from an arena team) QB if Cassel went down. I see Stanzi as a long-term development project—one that could potentially yield a starting quarterback.
Gabe Miller, OLB:
Drafted based on his all-world quick-twitch off-the-line burst but couldn't unseat Cameron Sheffield as the pass rusher backing up Tamba Hali, before he was stashed on the Injured Reserve list for the year. A full year of film study, conditioning and an actual offseason should help him make the transition from 4-3 DE, but the OLB position is starting to look crowded.
Shane Bannon, FB:
A versatile H-back type player that never saw the active roster despite a rash of injuries at running back. Letting Le'Ron McClain walk and not signing any true replacements at fullback seems to bode well for this Ivy League product, but a free agent signing or scheme tweak by new OC Brian Daboll might make him completely expendable.
Jerrell Powe, NT:
I was holding my breath every time the Chiefs were on the clock last year wondering if the pick would be Ricky Stanzi or Jerrell Powe. Based on his two-gap play at Ole Miss, Powe was creeping into the first round of some 2010 mock drafts. A year later he fell to the sixth for a variety of factors including: his age, disappointing senior stats, his learning disability and lack of scheme versatility. Then we started hearing rumors last season from an anonymous "source at Arrowhead" that Powe might have been a wasted pick. I'd love to see him develop into a player that demands more playing time, but the acquisition of Dontari Poe and re-signing of Amon Gordon are putting him in a position where he needs to prove his value.
|2010||5A||Kendrick Lewis||FS||Ole Miss||Starter|
They know their role:
Kendrick Lewis, FS:
A day one starter from the fifth round is a rare feat. Kansas City fans are getting spoiled by excellent defensive backs from the late rounds. With Romeo Crennel's love of 3 safety looks, I think we can expect Kendrick Lewis to be playing centerfield at Arrowhead for a good long while.
Cam Sheffield, OLB:Troy knows how to produce pass rushers. Both Osi Umenyiora and DeMarcus Ware suited up for Trojans before finding fame and fortune on the fields of the NFL. Despite suffering a devastating neck injury in the 2010 preseason, Sheffield managed to come back and earn a spot backing up Tamba Hali in 2011. The lack of additions to the OLB corps this offseason seems to indicate that this position is set for the time being. Sheffield looks to have the inside track again in 2012, but he'll have to to stave off Gabe Miller in training camp.
|2009||4||Donald Washington||S||Ohio State||3rd String|
|6||Quinten Lawrence||WR/KR||McNeese State||3rd String (Dolphins)|
|7B||Jake O'Connell||TE||Miami (OH)||3rd String (Chiefs)|
|7C||Ryan Succop||K||South Carolina||Starter|
They know their role:
Ryan Succop, K: This Gamecock knows how to ball.
Donald Washington, Safety:
A super athlete who doesn't look so super on the field (unless he's playing with Sabby Piscatelli). This
could beprobably should be the year that he loses a training camp battle and gets cut. Unfortunately, this year's weak safety class could keep him around until 2013. The only UDFA who I think has shot to unseat Donald Washington is K-State's Tysyn Hartman. Fun fact: I think Washington still holds the record for highest vertical leap at any NFL Combine ever.
Jake O'Connell, TE:
I really wanted to draft Clemson's Dwayne Allen. I would have tried to trade back in the second round to get him. Jake is really neither fish nor fowl at the TE position, so I could see a pure blocker like Maneri beating him our for the third TE spot, (or Mims/Stephenson spending some time lined up at TE in jumbo and power running packages). I wouldn't HATE signing a guy like Dallas Clark just to tide the Chiefs over until next year. It worked with Kelly Gregg right?
Quinten Lawrence, WR/CB/KR:
This small school player could never really catch on. Already cut once by the Dolphins this is his last training camp to prove something.
Colin Brown OT:
A miss in a weak 2009 Draft class. I have to think that he'd be an UDFA in other years.
Javarris Williams, RB:
Was a camp body for the Texans last year, but as far I know hasn't managed to sign with any team yet.
*** The Patriot Years ***
|2008||4||Jonathan Wilhite||CB||Auburn||Backup (Bears)|
|5||Matthew Slater||Special Teams||UCLA||Pro Bowl Special Teams Captain|
2008 Notes: Matthew Slater is an All-Pro Special Teamer and Jonathan Wilhite has looked decent as a backup CB. You can never have too many good DBs.
|2007||4||Kareem Brown||DE||Miami (FL)||Washed Out|
|5||Clint Oldenburg||OT||Colorado State||Washed Out|
|6||Justin Rogers||LB||SMU||Washed Out|
|6||Mike Richardson||CB||Notre Dame||Backup (Colts)|
|6||Justise Hairston||RB||Central Connecticut||Washed Out|
|6||Corey Hilliard||OG||Oklahoma State||Backup (Lions)|
|7||Oscar Lua||LB||USC||Washed Out|
2007 Notes: The height of Belichick/Pioli trade back mania. You have to wonder if these players got enough coaching/attention to get a shot at developing into NFL players.
|2006||4||Garrett Mills||TE||Tulsa||Practice Squad (Patriots)|
|4||Stephen Gostkowski||K||Memphis||Pro Bowl Starter|
|5||Ryan O'Callaghan||OT||California||Retired Backup/Spot Starter|
|6||Jeremy Mincey||DE||Florida||Starter (Jaguars)|
|6||Dan Stevenson||OG||Notre Dame||Washed Out|
|6||Le Kevin Smith||DT||Nebraska||Washed Out|
|7||Willie Andrews||DB||Baylor||Washed Out|
2006 Notes: Any 4th round kicker ought to be hit. Mincey was genuine find in the sixth. Stealing Ryan O'Callaghan off the Patriots practice squad and starting him was a pure desperation move. Thank god we finally have a bit of roster depth.
|2005||4||James Sanders||S||Frenso State||Backup (Cardinals)|
|5||Ryan Claridge||LB||UNLV||Washed Out|
|7A||Matt Cassel||QB||USC||Pro Bowl Alternate Starter|
|7B||Andy Stokes||TE||William Penn||Washed Out|
2005 Notes: Nothing to see here, move along.
|2004||4A||Dexter Reid||S||North Carolina||Retired Backup|
|4B||Cedric Cobbs||RB||Arkansas||Washed Out|
|5||P. K. Sam||WR||Florida State||Washed Out|
|7||Christian Morton||CB||Florida State||Retired Special Teams|
2004 Notes: Neither Reid nor Morton really lit the world on fire. I would have thought Cobbs would have translated better to the NFL in a "running back by committee" system, he ran in the 4.5-4.6 range at 225-232 lbs and put up 3,027 rushing yards at the University of Arkansas.
|2003||4A||Dan Klecko||DT||Temple||Retired Backup|
|4B||Asante Samuel||CB||Central Florida||Pro Bowl Starter (Falcons)|
|5||Dan Koppen||C||Boston College||Pro Bowl Starter (Patriots)|
|6||Kliff Kingsbury||QB||Texas Tech||Washed Out|
|7||Spencer Nead||TE||BYU||Washed Out|
|7A||Tully Banta-Cain||LB||California||Retired Starter|
|7B||Ethan Kelley||NT||Baylor||Injury Retired Starter|
2003 Notes: What a stud class. Asante Samuel and Dan Koppen are perennial Pro-Bowlers. Dan Klecko and Tully Banta-Cain both started for multiple teams, although calling either of them true starters is a stretch. Ethan Kelley started for the Patriots before following Romeo Crennel to the Browns in 2005. He looked like a promising player seeing starts at both NT and 3-4 DE before knee injuries prematurely ended his career.
|2002||4A||Rohan Davey||QB||LSU||Washed Out|
|4B||Jarvis Green||DE (3-4)||LSU||Retired Starter/Backup|
|7A||Antwoine Womack||RB||Virginia||Washed Out|
|7B||David Givens||WR||Notre Dame||Injury Retired Starter|
2002 Notes: David Givens was a playoff stud during the dynasty era. He signed 5-year deal with the Titans when an ACL tear ended his career. Jarvis Green was another of those beloved LSU defensive linemen. He was a stuck behind future hall-of-famer Richard Seymour for most of his career, but would have been a starting lineman on many teams.
*** Trends ***
Total Picks in rounds 4-7: 50 (not counting the 5 from the 2012 Draft)
Starters: 6/50 counting kickers and sometime starters like Banta-Cain but not Pro Bowlers
Backups: 10/50 I'm listing O'Callaghan as he is out of the league but did start for a year
Too soon to tell: 4/50 Stanzi, Bannon, Miller, Brown
Running Back: 0/4 (0% success rate)
*** Conclusion ***
What does the future hold for our latest crop of late round picks?
4 Devon Wylie WR Fresno State
5 DeQuan Menzie FS/CB Alabama
6 Cyrus Gray RB Texas A&M
7 Jerome Long DE (3-4) San Diego State
7 Junior Hemingway WR Michigan
I have absolutely no idea, but I did learn a few other lessons along the way:
1. Draft developmental O-linemen early and developmental D-linemen late
I'm guessing this is because most offensive linemen play every snap, whereas a developmental defensive lineman can get his feet wet in sub packages.
2. Defensive backs are safe picks
The 91% success rate is a little high, a few of those guys listed as depth hung around the bottom of their rosters for years by playing special teams. With growing importance of nickel and dime units teams need a lot of talented defensive backs.
3. Pioli kinda sucks at drafting running backs
I hope Cyrus Gray is the one that breaks the trend, because he's never hit on a late round guy—ever.
4. Never draft a stud linebacker's little brother
5. A 5th round pick is just as likely to succeed as a 7th round pick
So don't count Junior Hemingway out or Gabe Miller in.