Coming into Week 4, I finally acquiesce to the majority of AP fans and throw a WR into the 1st rd pick. I'm not happy about it (which will automatically thrill some of you), but I still have a couple of weeks to make up for it. The Chiefs do have a need at WR. It's only debatable by the most technical of definitions and I can't think of any reasonable argument against us adding a WR in some capacity...I just don't think a 1st rd WR helps us in the short term.
Now, the trick is finding the right kind of WR. There have been plenty of names thrown around over the past several months, but there are a number of them that can probably be eliminated right off the bat. Andy Reid's offense has always relied on one big WR and multiple smaller, shiftier WRs. From Todd Pinkston to Terrell Owens to Riley Cooper and now to Dwayne Bowe, there has always been the one big guy in Reid's offense...which means the position is currently filled on our roster. That puts guys like Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, Allen Robinson, and Donte Moncrief in the "very unlikely" category. Andy Reid will want a WR that fits his offense, and John Dorsey will go get him one. Further proof? Look at the WRs the Chiefs have been connected to so far: Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Emmanuel Sanders, DeSean Jackson, and Joe Morgan. None of these guys are large WRs with Morgan being the tallest at 6'1.
Given that, we can realistically narrow our WR search down to three players in the 1st: Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham Jr, and Marqise Lee. It's tough to determine which of these guys will be in play for the Chiefs, especially with the Eagles likely taking one of them right before us at #22. All three players make solid cases for themselves as being an option for us. But to set this up, we'll have to give a "best guess" as to who the Eagles are going to take...and I think that will be Marqise Lee. Chip Kelly is very familiar with Lee as he once tried to recruit him to Oregon, and would later watch Lee light up his defense a couple of times. It may be a bit of a reach, but I trust Kelly to have a firm grasp on the talent of the Pac-12, and college football in general (much like Pete Carrol and Jim Harbaugh).
So that leaves the Chiefs with an interesting choice between Cooks and Beckham, which leads us to...
1st (#23): Brandin Cooks - WR - Oregon St:
Cooks gets the edge over Beckham because he seems a little more refined and has better speed. Cook's biggest contribution in year one is likely to be as a Punt Returner. He has the right build and skill set to be able to work his way down the field behind Dave Toub's scheme. I know a lot of people will get excited about a guy like Cooks in our offense, but I would advise some restraint in those expectations. WRs do not often make big contributions in their first season. Granted, the same can be said of just about any position, but fans tend to let their imaginations run wild when it comes to WRs. That's not to say that Cooks wouldn't be our 2nd best WR in 2014...but that's more a result of our problems at WR rather than his impressive talent. The Chiefs do get a quality long-term prospect here though, and Dwayne Bowe's status as our #1 WR gets challenged in future years.
3rd (#87): Dion Bailey - S - Southern Cal:
As long as I'm doing things I don't want to do this week, I'll take a break from banging the drum for Jonathan Dowling (don't worry, he'll be back next week). Dion Bailey offers a bit of versatility with his size and can be used as the third safety in the Chiefs defense. I don't think he will ever be a player we can rely on as a starter, but as a role player, he's got plenty of value. This pick would pretty much set Husain Abdullah and Sanders Commings as our principle matches with Eric Berry in the deep secondary.
4th (#124): Brandon Linder - OG - Miami (FL):
An experienced and gritty "phone booth" blocker, Linder is an interesting prospect because he truly gets the mental aspect of football. He isn't going to overpower too many guys, and I don't like his athleticism in terms of getting to the outside, but Linder's head for the game and technique can help make up for his athletic limitations. He knows how to block, which is every bit as important in the NFL as strength and speed. He should be competitive with Rishaw Johnson, Rokevious Watkins, and Jeff Linkenbach at RG, but I still don't feel comfortable about that position moving forward.
5th (#163): Antone Exum - CB - Virginia Tech:
The Chiefs add some general secondary depth here with Exum. In similar fashion as Donald Washington, Exum doesn't project as a starter anywhere, but solid depth everywhere (granted Watshington never lived up to that). The Chiefs have some issues in the secondary that need to be sorted out, so adding as many players to the mix as possible gives them the best opportunity to fix it.
6th (#193): Tyler Starr - OLB - South Dakota:
Going back to the well for this one...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): Larry Webster - DE - Bloomsburg:
Big, strong, fast, athletic, and still developing, I have been constantly searching the interwebz for more and more info/tape on this kid (including his basketball tape). Webster has major potential on both sides of the ball. That doesn't mean he will ever meet it...but the potential is there. He has the rare frame and body type that would allow him to become either an OLB or DE in the 3-4. The build is there to pack on weight, or to keep lean and fast. Or, the Chiefs could even tinker with moving him around to TE where he has also been projected. His athleticism would make him a very natural fit there. We could be talking a two-way player, and I'm not exaggerating that. This former basketball player should have all the scouts screaming at their GMs to make the move. Hopefully the Chiefs scouts make their case better and faster than their counterparts.
Top 5 UDFAs:
Bryn Renner - QB - North Carolina: Once believed to be a potential early round prospect, Renner's 2013 season could not have gone more wrong for him. Injured much of the year and unimpressive when he was in there, his senior year was almost an exact opposite of his sophmore and junior seasons. However, there is potential there, and a quality QB guru may be able to bring the best out of him...hey, QB guru?! We have one of those!
Lorenzo Taliafaro - RB - Coastal Carolina: As far as late round/UDFA prospects go, I think Taliafaro fits the 3rd down back mold better than anyone. He runs strong and angy, falls forward, and doesn't surrender to first contact. That's what you want in short yardage situations. Not going to run away from many guys, but he can keep his distance if he gets into open field.
Zack Kerr - NT - Delaware: We have to find a way to get Dontari Poe a breather. The value doesn't fall very well for us in the draft as there are a limited number of NTs this year. Kerr is not going to be a starter, and I don't have the highest hopes for him even as a backup, but he's the best value and we need the help there...and I have no faith in Jaye Howard or Jerrell Powe.
Quincy Enuwa - WR - Nebraska: We need to churn the roster depth at WR. Adding new players to the mix is how you get guys to shape up or ship out. Enuwa has good potential to develop, but is likely a Practice Squad player early on. Hopefully that means someone like Frankie Hammond takes the next step in their own development.
Solomon Patton - WR - Florida: This dude can flat out fly. Lacks the ideal size to be an NFL WR...or even an undersized NFL WR, but he's got speed to burn and is very shifty. Patton should be in direct competition with Weston Dressler for that Dexter McCluster role. As a depth WR/weapon player, he's a great value as an UDFA.
Staying with the heavy focus on the defensive side of the ball as I think that will be where we need the most help long term. However, the additions of some WRs should help our offense continue to grow...just not as fast as some folks think/hope. I don't think this draft board will yield much as far as short-term returns, but over the long-term there are a number of players that I think could become key contributors for us.