The picks are in and announced. Rookie minicamp is coming soon. Now that the 2013 NFL Draft is officially over, there's a new crop of incoming players for Kansas City Chiefs fans to get to know. Yet despite the NFL's worst record last year, the Chiefs clearly have a high view of the talent already in house given the risk-reward potential of the players selected.
If anything, the Chiefs new power brokers in general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid believe it's better to reach for potential (upside, if you will) than proven production. That's a rare quality for any team selecting in the top 10, let alone at the top, but that's exactly what happened over the weekend.
Looking back on the Draft, it's clear that Reid and Dorsey both felt that the bulk of the Chiefs' needs had been taken care of. Quarterback was settled on the depth chart. The secondary had been overhauled. Key additions and decisions had been made along the lines. The ability of the Chiefs to take care of the greatest needs, as they saw them, in advance of the Draft allowed them to take the risks that they did.
Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher
When the dust settled on the first overall selection, the Chiefs decided Eric Fisher was their favorite among the offensive tackles. It should have been clear from this point forward that the Chiefs were reaching for the stars in Reid's first season. They took Fisher's athleticism over Joeckel's well-rounded game. They took Fisher's subpar level of competition over Joeckel's 39 career starts at LT in the SEC. Analysts raved about Fisher's potential, and the Chiefs cashed in.
The team did take an offensive lineman, so it's not as if the Chiefs gambled on a quarterback or skill position player high, but this was a need that they created with the release of Eric Winston and the public dangling of Branden Albert as trade bait. And when presented with two options, they shrugged at the safest choice.
Cincinnati TE Travis Kelce
With the next pick at the top of the third round, the Chiefs grabbed Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce. Despite the presence of a healthy Tony Moeaki on the roster alongside the newly signed Anthony Fasano (to a four-year deal), Kelce was the pick for Reid and Dorsey given his Gronk-like potential. With this pick, the Chiefs eschewed the team's perceived needs (linebacker, safety, d-line) and overlooked Kelce's troubled past for a chance to grab an impact offensive weapon.
Arkansas RB Knile Davis
Yet if Kelce was a reach for an impact player, then the late third round choice on Knile Davis is a greatly amplified version of the same. The Arkansas back struggles with staying on the field and, even then, he can't hold onto the ball. If the Chiefs wanted to gamble on an injury risk, then Marcus Lattimore was there for the taking. Instead they threw everyone a curveball and landed Davis with the compensation pick from losing Brandon Carr last offseason.
Consider that the Chiefs already have Jamaal Charles and a solid stable of candidates for the depth chart behind him, and it's clear the team loved Davis as a prospect and didn't care about any of the rest. Forget the other players. Forget the concerns. Forget other needs. The team grabbed the highest player on the draft board and submitted the pick. End of story.
What makes all of this so important is that, taken all together, the Chiefs didn't make a single "safe" pick until Day 3 of the NFL Draft. That is the sort of statement you make about a deep roster or playoff squad without much to fix or focus upon. It's akin to the Packers grabbing Randall Cobb in 2011 when they already were loaded at receiver. That team, of course, went 15-1 the previous season.
All of this comes down to one primary point -- and it's either the one that you take comfort in or the one that worries you most: The Chiefs' brass feels really good about the state of the roster. The work is not done. More moves will be made. But it's clear that the team feels like a solid enough core is in place to move forward, despite the absolute nightmare known as the 2012 season.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say, which means perceptions about the Chiefs' offseason moves -- either internal or external -- do not matter until the team takes the field. However it's clear that the team did not go into the draft to heal their wounds or patch up holes. Instead they felt comfortable enough with the state of the roster to gamble on the first two days of the Draft. That's either very good or very bad news for the Chiefs.