Anyone else notice that there hasn't really been all that much draft talk here on AP this offseason? Well, don't worry, I'm here to fix all that. With 42 days remaining until the draft (that's 6 weeks exactly for all you math majors out there), I'm going to start up a weekly thread. Not really that much different than how we've done it in the past, except for the fact you all know I'm sure to throw something in there to piss you off (it's a gift).
So, without further adieu:
1st (#23): Xavier Su'a-Filo - OG - UCLA:
The Chiefs start off the draft with a yawn. This won't be a popular pick with Chiefs Nation...until we see the returns on this investment. Su'a-Filo is a flat out dominant offensive lineman. He's got size, strength, athleticism, an excellent skill set, and experience. This move would be made to lay the foundation of our team moving forward. A strong and athletic OL anchored by Eric Fisher and Xavier Su'a-Filo has the potential to be as good as the group that Dick Vermeil put together.
3rd (#87): Stanley Jean-Baptiste - CB - Nebraska:
The Chiefs are not moving on from Brandon Flowers this year, but the groundwork will be laid to do it in the future. Jean-Baptiste has excellent size and athleticisim, but needs to become more physical. He doesn't have great speed, but he has solid technique and recognition that allows him to break on passes and make up ground. Jean-Baptiste would likely battle with Marcus Cooper for the #3 job this season, with Chiefs fans likely to be excited about both winner and loser of that competition.
4th (#124): TJ Jones - WR - Notre Dame:
It is unlikely that the Chiefs greatly alter their WR plans just because they missed out on Emmanuel Sanders. Andy Reid will make due with what he has while making only a couple of modest additions. TJ Jones fits that role. He will likely never be a featured player, but he offers a lot of value as a role-playing #3 or #4 WR. He was productive at Notre Dame, and while not being a physical standout in any area, he is fast enough, quick enough, and strong enough to be effective as long as he's not being covered by top tier DBs.
5th (#163): Jonathan Dowling - FS - Western Kentucky:
The Chiefs seem to have made their decision at FS. When Bethea turned out not to be an option (if he was even seriously being considered), the Chiefs quickly re-signed Hussain Abdullah. So it seems likely that the plan is to see how Sanders Commings has developed. If he's ready, we play him. If not, we play Abdullah. However, the Chiefs still need depth in general there, and Johathan Dowling is a great option. A play-maker with a ton of ability, Dowling needs a steady environment and good coaching to realize his potential. This guy could be the steal of the draft.
6th (#193): Tyler Starr - OLB - South Dakota:
A small school product with a raw skill set, Tyler Starr is a playmaker with some very good athleticism. He lacks raw strength, but has the quickness to get outside of the tackles and get them out of position or off balance. Has decent coverage ability when put on TEs as well as the size and quickness to not be overmatched. Needs to refine his tools and learn how to make his pass rush work rather than just blindly attacking the QB. His aggressiveness will create plays, but can also get him in trouble.
6th (#200): Taylor Hart - DE - Oregon:
A stout run stopper with surprising athleticism, Hart is a versatile player that has lined up at multiple positions in his career at Oregon. Plays with good recognition, quickness, and strength, but not enough in any category to clearly define where he should be playing. Will need to either add weight or become leaner. Seems to succeed in spite of his technique and appearance. As a late round pick, he will have the opportunity to supplant the disappointing Allen Bailey. With Vance Walker being more of a pass rusher, the Chiefs will need a reserve player that is more run-stuff oriented to serve as the counter-balance. A DE rotation of Walker, DeVito, Catapano, and Hart has a lot of potential.
Top Five UDFAs:
1. Connor Shaw - QB - South Carolina: Sit down Manziel, we're talking about Connor Football here. A top performer amongst QBs in 4 categories at the Combine, Shaw has incredible athleticism for his position. Not a traditional QB by any means, Shaw is your "gamer" type of guy. He overcomes less than ideal stature and mechanics with grit, intelligence, and a gun-slinger mentality. Will quietly rack up 300 yards against a defense. A risk taker who will likely never be a starter, he has the potential to be a backup that can come in and generate an unexpected spark from his teammates.
2. Donald Hawkins - OT - Texas: The Chiefs seem to have their starters set on the OL, but they could still use some depth. Hawkins has excellent athleticism and can handle himself in space which gives him a lot of potential as a reserve Swing Tackle. He's not very strong at the point of the attack, but if the coaching staff knows that, they can play to that advantage with screens and swing passes...which we just so happen to be very good at. We aren't looking at another Donald Stephenson here, but Hawkins could be a guy that we're glad to have in a pinch.
3. Jake Murphy - TE - Utah: It's difficult to tell how the TE situation is going to work out for the Chiefs, so I imagine they will be bringing someone in while likely not going over the top looking for a new starter. Murphy has a solid combination of skill and physical attributes to be productive. He could challenge Sean McGrath and Demetrius Harris in Training Camp, and has the potential to perhaps even crack the 53-man roster.
4. Lorenzo Taliaferro - RB - Coastal Carolina: The Chiefs are still in need of a quality 3rd RB. Taliaferro is perhaps the absolute definition of what you want in that player. Great size and possesses quality power. He isn't a speed threat the way Charles or Davis is, but he is flat out reliable. Follows his blockers, falls forward, has reliable hands, and runs hard. This is exactly what you want in a short-yardage guy who is out there to get a 1st down. Will never be a feature back, but could be a very reliable backup.
5. Zack Kerr - NT - Delaware: The Chiefs starting DL is set, but we need depth. That is especially true at NT where Dontari Poe was essentially left out there to wear down over the course of the year. Poe is a great player, but it is unreasonable to expect him to play every snap of the season. Kerr is a low-cernter of gravity guy that plays with a lot of strength. He can stack and shed single blockers or split double teams. Lacks as a pass rusher, but can be the space eater in short yardage situations. He's short and not very agile. Essentially, he is a man-mountain best used to plug the middle.