The best teams in football all have one thing in common...they make the smart decisions instead of the nostalgic ones. Nobody is completely irreplaceable. Even Joe Montana and Marcus Allen were found to be expendable at one time. Good teams are built around a player, great franchises are built around a system and process. And that is one thing that remains to be seen about the Chiefs under Andy Reid and John Dorsey. Are we willing to move on from certain players in favor of building a strong franchise?
Chiefs fans have been told that we will be building through the draft. That sounds great, but so far it's tough to swallow. Our most significant additions to the roster have all come via Free Agency so far. And we are coming into the 2nd draft of the new regime with only 6 picks. That sure doesn't sound like the MO of a team building through the draft.
But, it is a process, and one that relies on the Chiefs being patient in some areas, and aggressive in others. The Chiefs were very patient in Free Agency...to the point that I was legitimately worried about some of you (well, as worried as one should be about a bunch of strangers on the internet). That is the right play to make. Most teams that are over-aggressive in Free Agency end up falling flat. Our HC is the text book example of that. It is far better to be aggressive in the draft with players that you are not overly-committed to. But how does one get aggressive there? By putting yourself in a strong position...
Trade: The Chiefs send the #23 pick to San Francisco for the #30, #77 (3rd rd), and #243 (7th rd) picks.
Look familiar? Well it should for those of you that have been following the open threads. This is the same trade I mentioned a couple weeks ago. Why? Because it makes sense...a lot more sense than this talk of Cleveland deciding a pair of 1st rd picks and a high 2nd aren't good enough. Why do the 49ers make this trade? A couple of reasons. The first is the pick/player angle. At #23, SF should have its choice of top end 3-4 DEs, including Stephon Tuitt, RaShede Hageman, Timmy Jernigan, and maybe even Aaron Donald. Justin Smith isn't getting any younger, and the 49ers will want the best heir-apparent they can get. And on top of that, the 49ers now have a precarious situation on the horizon with Aldon Smith. The front office in San Francisco should be worried about what will happen after this season. After the run on WRs, OTs, and QBs that is likely to happen in this draft, there will be a number of good D-linemen still on the board, but the Chiefs are the first of a 3-5 team run that could all be looking in that area. The Chargers, Bengals, Browns, Panthers, and Patriots are all teams that could certainly be looking to bolster their DL. Yes, each team has other needs, but when you're drafting late in the 1st, it isn't always about filling needs. The Chiefs will be major contenders in that regard, but after adding Vance Walker, they don't have to stay put and take the "best" one, so we are a strong candidate for trading back. Plus, it appears we have a fairly strong working relationship with SF. Next, there is the 3rd rd comp pick that the 49ers picked up. The rich get richer...but part of that is because they know HOW to spend. That's the case here as SF still has a pair of 3rd rd picks even after moving up in the 1st rd. Finally, there is the 7th rd pick. The 49ers have 3 picks in the 7th rd, so they aren't giving up anything here. The Chiefs, meanwhile, get an opportunity to take a guy that they don't want to miss out on as an UDFA.
This places the Chiefs in a strong drafting situation. The drop from #23 to #30 isn't dramatic, but we are able to add a couple of quality draft choices to help us actually do some building. The Chiefs now have the ability to be aggressive through the rest of the draft. We have the ammunition to go get a player we like, as well as the contingency options to sit back and see how the board develops.
1st (#30 from SF): Dee Ford - DE/OLB - Auburn:
The Chiefs grab a player who is likely to be the last of the premier outside pass rushers on the board. Ford is a quick-twitch pass rusher who surpises his opponent with a combination of speed and power. He is well-suited to be an OLB in a 3-4 system, but he does need some work in dropping into pass coverage. Of course, that shouldn't be too big a worry for the Chiefs considering Tamba Hali's limitations outside of rushing the passer.
This pick isn't just about the player, it is about the ability to build and commit to building through the draft. Ford is an excellent player in his own right, and we have gotten some great value here. However, even more important, there is a strategic purpose here. Ford is likely to be the last of the premier pass rushers taken in the draft. While the 2014 draft class is rich with talent, the class of outside pass rushers is not overwhelming. And the drop off from Ford to the next outside pass rusher is a pretty big one. Suddenly, teams that were thinking of taking a pass rusher in the early 2nd have found out that there isn't anything there. That's big news for teams like Houston, Atlanta, Washington, and Tampa Bay that had placed big hopes in a fast turnaround. At least 3 of them missed out on Jadeveon Clowney, and likely didn't get ahold of another top tier prospect. Suddenly, these teams have found themselves in the market for a big name pass rusher...
Trade: The Atlanta Falcons send the #37 (2nd rd) and a conditional 2015 3rd rd pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for Tamba Hali.
Because it's a high pick in the 2nd rd, the Chiefs don't get any further compensation for this year. After missing out on the Clowney sweepstakes, the Falcons know they have to add a premier pass rusher somehow, and Pioli knows Hali well. The Falcons are desperate to get back into the top of their division, so making a move like this is justified in the eyes of the pundits. The Chiefs, meanwhile, continue to build through the draft. Drafting is not about the season ahead...it's about the next 5 seasons, and that's the mindframe of John Dorsey here. The Chiefs also add another solid pick for the 2015 draft as well.
2nd (#37 from ATL): Morgan Moses - OT/OG - Virginia:
The Chiefs solve the OG question here with Moses. A just flat out gigantic man who can move, Moses projects well as a starter at either OG or OT, which provides some great versatility. This is the kind of player that you can build around on the OL, and he should provide a quality balance to Eric Fisher for years to come.
3rd (#77 from SF): Stanley Jean-Baptiste - CB - Nebraska:
The Chiefs add to their secondary here with Jean-Baptiste. He possesses the frame that the FO likes for DBs, and has quality ball skills and recognition ability. His size and strength should allow him to press WRs and interrupt timing routes, which will allow our pass rush a little more time to get after the passer.
3rd (#87): Jared Abbrederis - WR - Wisconsin:
Of all the mid-round WRs, I have the most confidence in Abbrederis as an early contributor. He's sneaky quick, runs solid routes, and has great hands. He isn't going to burn many people, but on 3rd downs, he becomes a reliable target that would be easy for a defense to forget about...here's where your Wes Welker comparison should be made, as he built his whole career on that.
4th (#124): Josh Huff - WR - Oregon:
The Chiefs go ahead and double-down on WRs. We need competition in our WR corps, and nothing does that quite like bringing in a pair of youngsters to force the veterans to step up. Huff is a strong counter-balance to Abbrederis. Huff is the better athlete and has some serious big play potential. However, he struggles in doing the little things that WRs need to be able to do in order to succeed at the NFL level.
5th (#163): Larry Webster - DE - Bloomsburg:
A fast riser in recent weeks, Larry Webster is no longer the best kept secret in the draft. Somebody is going to strike gold with Webster. A phenomenal athlete making the transition from basketball to football, Webster is not your average crossover athlete. First of all, as a basketball player...he's good. This isn't a "couldn't hack it, had to pack it" story. Webster earned awards as a basketball player as well as a football player for the Huskies. He has the size, athleticism, and natural talent to be a star in the NFL, but he will have to be coached up hard both on the field and in the weight room. His talents also give him a ton of versatility that makes him projected by some as a TE as well.
Trade: The St Louis Rams send the #188 pick (6th rd) to the Kansas City Chiefs for Chase Daniel.
The Chiefs get aggressive again, this time showing confidence in Tyler Bray's ability to step up and be the primary backup to Alex Smith. Whether you like Daniel or not, it is undeniable that we are paying him way too much to be a completely unproven backup. If the Chiefs are not in a postion to be able to trade him, then we need to be addressing QB in the draft anyways. The Rams make this trade because there are still questions about Sam Bradford, and they will want to have options moving forward. And after likely getting a good haul from trading out of the #2 pick, there's really no concern about spending late round picks.
6th (#188 from STL): Jonathan Dowling - S - Western Kentucky:
I feel that I have sufficiently made my case for this pick over the past several months.
6th (#193): Seantrel Henderson - OT - Miami:
Just a big dancing bear, Henderson is almost too large for his own good. Henderson is athletic and strong, but his size causes him problems with his technique. He will need time to let his body adjust to the demands of the game. From a natural talent point of view, he should be a 2nd rd pick...but because he can tend to be awkward in his movements, teams that need an early impact will likely pass on him. Henderson's fall is the Chiefs gain as there won't be any demand to play him early on.
6th (#200): Tyler Starr - OLB - South Dakota:
A small-school playmaker, Tyler Starr has the potential to really surprise a lot of people at the next level. High motor and intensity, plus an excellent combination of size and speed to develop as an OLB. His lack of raw strength is what keeps him in the later rounds like this.
7th (#243): Colt Lyerla - TE - Oregon:
With the influx of extra picks, there is absolutely no risk in taking Lyerla. This kid should have been talked about in the first 3 rounds, but poor decisions have crushed his draft stock. Getting Lyerla in the 7th is a great way to tie him up without having to invest much into him.
Top 5 UDFAs: I'm sticking with 4 out of the 5 from last week.
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 orJerrell 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.
Lonnie Ballentine - FS - Memphis: His measurables and size seem to indicate a WR, but Ballentine is a deep secondary player. This is a low-risk gamble on a player, but if he can be coached up, he presents a nightmare match-up scenario for opposing offenses in the red zone. Honestly, if the Chiefs were to use a 6th rd pick on Ballentine, I can't say that I would be upset. The Chiefs have already looked at Ballentine, as have a couple others, so this is definitely someone we should keep an eye on.
Sorry about the lack of pictures this week. For some reason, the editing process wasn't working for me.