From the FanPosts -Joel
The Kansas City Chiefs are a few days away from selecting in the 2014 NFL draft. This is a crucial draft due to a surprising amount of needs on both offense and defense for a team that went 11-5 last year. After the departures of Dexter McCluster, Jon Asamoah, Geoff Schwartz, Tyson Jackson and (gag) Kendrick Lewis there are plenty of holes on the team that arguably have not been filled adequately after supplementing players in free agency.
Don't kid yourself. It is more critical this year than most that the Chiefs get a good haul in the draft if they want to compete against the Broncos in arguably one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. Fortunately, this year's draft is flooded with talent in comparison to other recent drafts. There are ample opportunities to aquire the players necessary for the Chiefs to win in 2014 with this draft if GM John Dorsey plays his cards right. So here is where I put on Dorsey's grey Chiefs sweatshirt and give it a try.
I wrote a Fanpost about draft strategy a little while back and I will use that logic to help walk threw the selection process in the 2014 NFL draft. Other draft strategies that I try to employ are:
- Try to draft immediate starters in rounds 1-3. Players that can come in and make an immediate impact this season for the team. Rounds 4 and later are for high upside players. Players that show the raw talent necessary to be good players in the NFL, but for whatever reason are available later in the draft. It's nice to find starters in later rounds, but normally those players aren't available that late so instead take a high upside player that you believe can be one some day.
- The only offensive lineman that you draft in the first round are starting OTs. (Preferably LTs) Being that the Chiefs took a LT last year, and Donald Stevenson appears to be a solid starter at RT, it seems the Chiefs have legitimate starters at both OT positions. It is OK to take a C or G in the first round, but only if they are a special player. Otherwise, historically, very high level NFL interior lineman have been drafted in later rounds. Don't waste the pick unless you are SURE that this player is a 10-plus year starter.
- The first and most important thing to do when drafting is to draft the player that best helps the teams ability to win football games. If you find a player available to you in the draft that is substantially better then any other player on your draft board then pick him. If you have several players similarly rated on your board and you have an opportunity to trade back a few spots, pick up more draft picks, and still pick up one of the players in that similar skill range, then you have to make that move. In that circumstance, the chances of the Chiefs improving the team through the 2014 draft vastly increases with more picks, especially if those picks are earlier in the draft.
- A three down player always trumps a two down player. The more snaps you take as a player during the course of the game is important. Specialty players get down graded, and versatile players get upgraded.
So lets get to it then.
With the No. 1 pick in the 2014 Draft the Houston Texans select...
1.) HOU: Jadeveon Clowney
The Houston Texans consider trade offers, but don't find any worth not taking Clowney for. Clowney is a generational player, and the risk of not picking him outweighs the risk of taking him No. 1 overall. Sure Clowney is a knucklehead that doesn't like to practice, but I can remember a Chiefs Hall of Famer that fit that bill as well. Don't let anyone fool you. This is the pick. This was always the pick. Houston's GM should be fired in he doesn't take Clowney as far as I am concerned.
2.) STL: Jake Matthews
Fisher knows who he is getting with Matthews.
3.) JAX: Khalil Mack
The Jags desperately want a quarterback here, but Mack is the best player available. The Jags gamble that they can pick up a quarterback later in the draft and take the best player available (BPA) here in Mack.
4.) CLE: Johnny Manziel
The Browns can't pass on their top rated quarterback in this years draft. The need is to great to pass the opportunity up.
5.) OAK: Sammy Watkins
The Raiders take the best wide receiver in the draft. I wish Al Davis was still alive to ruin this pick by taking the fastest punter in the draft.
6.) ATL: Greg Robinson
Atlanta goes BPA here and takes Robinson.
7.) TB: Derek Carr
Tampa surprises everyone by passing on Bortles and Bridgewater. Carr is a legit talent with NFL bloodlines and more experience. I still believe that Carr may eventually be the best quarterback out of a deep class.
8.) MIN: Blake Bortles
Minnesota knows the pain that is having Matt Cassel as your starting quarterback. They refuse to go through that again.
9.) BUF: Eric Ebron
No. 1 tight end in the class goes to Buffalo. They wanted a target to help out their second year quarterback.
10.) DET: Taylor Lewan
Detroit drafts one from their own back yard. Detroit needs a tackle and Lewan is the best one left.
11.) TEN: Anthony Barr
Tennessee needs an outside linebacker and a really good one is left on the board. They take Barr.
12.) NYG: Aaron Donald
The Giants are getting a steal here. Donald is one of the best if not the best defensive players in this years draft. I personally don't believe he fits in a 3-4 front, but he should be an All-Pro in a 4-3 front.
13.) STL: Calvin Pryor
St. Louis needs a Safety and takes the top rated one in the draft.
14.) CHI: Hasean Clinton-Dix
The run on safeties has begun and Chicago needs one bad. They take Clinton-Dix.
15.) PIT: Justin Gilbert
The Steelers need a CB and they draft the top rated one on their board.
16.) DAL: Timmy Jerrnigan
Dallas is still transitioning to a 4-3 defense, and need the personnel to do so.
17.) BAL: Zach Martin
Baltimore needs help on the o-line and Martin is versatile enough to play more than one of those positions.
18.) NYJ: Mike Evans
Evans falls to No. 18 and the Jets take him. Someone falls each year, and I predict it will be Evans this year.
19.) MIA: Xavier Su'a-Filo
Miami desperately needs help at offensive line. They probably prefer a tackle here, but they settle on a top rated guard being that none of the top 4 tackles are left.
20.) ARI: Ryan Shazier
Huge upside with this pick. Arizona really lucks out when an athlete like Shazier falls to them.
21.) GB: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins
Green Bay needs to replace Jermichael Finley. Sefarian-Jenkins was a first round pick before he battled injuries last year. Austin passes Green Bay's physical and the draft him at No. 21.
22.) PHI: Kelvin Benjamin
The Eagles pass over Beckam Jr. and Cooks to pick Benjamin. This seems like a reach, but there are some rumblings from up in Philly that the team likes Benjamin at No. 22.
The Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock!
This might be best case scenario for the Chiefs in my opinion. Due to teams picking for need, higher rated players have fallen to the Chiefs.
The top 5 players left on my draft board are:
2. Brandin Cooks
3. Darqueze Dennard
4. Odell Beckam Jr.
5. Rashede Hageman
The top 5 players left on CBS' draft board are:
14. Teddy Bridewater
15. Odell Beckam Jr.
16. Darqueze Dennard
20. Brandin Cooks
23. C.J. Mosley
The top 5 players left on Sports Illustrated's board are:
1. Teddy Bridgewater
7. C.J. Mosley
11. Darqueze Dennard
12 Louis Nix
17. Marqise Lee
Hageman is a physical freak, but concerns about his motor and desire lead me to believe that it is too early to take him at No. 23 although he does fill a need at defensive end. Nix is a stud, but the Chiefs already have a stud nose tackle in Dontari Poe. C.J. Mosely is a stud 3-down inside linebacker prospect out of Alabama, but with DJ on the team and an injury concern with Mosley (like many former Bama players), the Chiefs decide to pass.
Beckam, Cooks and Lee all fill a big position of need for the Chiefs and all are a pretty good value here. I would prefer to get a wide receiver with more size than Beckam, Cooks or Lee have here, but there is no lack of skill or college production from any of the three. If I had to pick one wide receiver here it would be Cooks, but what about the other available players?
Darqueze Dennard doesn't fill a large need for the Chiefs, but his ability may outweigh the perceived lack of need. The Chiefs defense needs to improve after that embarrassment in Indianapolis, and the value of getting a lock down cornerback with the No. 23 pick is hard to pass up.
Bridgewater is the top player available on all three boards. Add to that, the Chiefs have been linked to picking a QB recently, and Alex Smith has one year left on his contract. Could the Chiefs be looking to draft a franchise QB with the No. 23 pick in the 2014 NFL draft?
And the phone rings!
Dorsey picks it up and David Caldwell, the Jacksonville Jaguars general manager, is on the line. Gus Bradley needs a quarterback and after the Chiefs have been linked to taking a quarterback in the 2014 NFL draft, and considering Andy Dalton's recent grumblings, the Bengals could be looking to draft a quarterback too. The Jags took BPA earlier with Mack, but with Bridgewater still available Caldwell has to make his move.
Caldwell offers the Jags second round pick (No. 39)and third round pick (No. 70) ) for the Chiefs First round pick (No. 23). A quick consultation with the (Draft Value Chart) DVC shows us that the No. 23 pick (760) is virtually equal in value to the No. 39 pic k(510) plus the No. 70 pick (240).
The clock is ticking...
What should Dorsey do?
With the 23rd pick in the 2014 NFL draft the Kansas City Chiefs select ...
Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard
5'11 / 199 pounds / 30-1/4" arms / 9" hands/ 4.51 40-yard
It came down between trade down, Dennard and Cooks for me. Bridgewater is tempting here, but Andy Reid isn't sold on him. Add to that, if Dorsey takes a quarterback in the first round there will be pressure to start him this year. Then you factor in that you already spent two second round picks on Alex Smith. It doesn't make a lot of sense to give out so much compensation for Alex to let him go two years later.
The trade makes a lot of sense here and is very tempting. However, John Dorsey recently said in his pre-draft presser that he was considering four players at No. 23. Trading down 16 spots is too big of a drop to realistically expect one of those players will still be available. The projected drop off in talent between No. 23 and No. 39 is just to big to take the offer in my opinion, though it is a very tempting offer.
Cooks came in third with big time playmaking ability at a big position of need for the Chiefs. However, this draft happens to be full of talent at the wide receiver position throughout the draft. Cooks is a really good prospect, but there should be an opportunity to get a pretty good prospect at wide receiver in the third round, too.
My favorite defensive player available is Dennard. The ability to take away the opposing teams best wide receiver is a huge value, and that's what you get with Dennard. Dennard is a playmaker and a game changer. He is a really good press-man corner, and that fits Bob Sutton's system. I have him rated as the No. 1 cornerback for the Chiefs in the 2014 draft. Just watch the game tape here and you cannot deny the skill there.
Perhaps most of all I love his competitiveness and tenacity. In my opinion this is an underrated trait in a CB. Dennard falls to No. 23 due to lack of "elite speed" and a perceived lack of fluidity in the hips that some say was exposed in his combine workout. I say put on the game video. Dennard has what it takes to be a shut down corner in the NFL.
3rd round - Colorado WR Paul Richardson
6'0 / 175 pounds / 32-5/8" arms / 8-7/8" hands / 4.40 40-yard
APers everywhere are crying when they learn that Terrence Brooks is not going to be available at No. 87. Well get over it, because Richardson is a stud!
All I need to know about Richardson is on the game film. Forget what you may have heard, Paul Richardson has No. 2 wide receiver ability in the NFL. Richardson put up 83 receptions for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013 after missing the 2012 season with a torn ACL. The recovery doesn't appear to have stunted his explosion or speed.
What's even more impressive about Richardson is that for the 20 career TD receptions he had at CU he averaged an amazing 41.8 yards per score. That is an absurd number. That is the definition of a homerun threat. This is exactly the type of player that the Chiefs offense needs. Short of Jamal Charles, no other starter on the offense has "take it to the house" ability. Richardson brings with him a legitimate deep threat that this team desperately needs in my opinion.
Another reason that I like Richardson a lot for the Chiefs is his ability to get wide open. He appears to be able to cause major hesitation in the opposing cornerbacks feet with his footwork. Once the defenders "feet are in the mud" Richardson burns them with his speed. This is exactly what a cautious quarterback like Alex Smith needs, a wide receiver that gets wide open and makes his decision easy.
Richardson does not have a lot of weight for his size which leads to questions about his durability, but other than the ACL it doesn't appear that he has had many other health issues. Richardson also has tiny 8 7/8" hands for his size which leads to questions about drops with Paul, but he shows the ability in his game video to make spectacular receptions despite his small hands.
Other concerns are that he only really runs two routes, the go and the post, but he does an incredible job at those two routes. Richardson could benefit from better learning and honing of the route tree. I bet Andy can help with that.
Bottom line, Richardson showed a propensity to make big plays even though he was on a bad team with a sub par quarterback. Draft him, get this guy in the weight room and work on his hands and you have a game changing #2 WR for the Chiefs. I love this pick. Richardson would be a late first or early second round pick in any other draft in my opinion.
4th round Stanford FS Ed Reynolds
6'1 / 207 pounds / 30-3/4" arms / 8-1/2" hands / 4.57 40-yard
Ed Reynolds is a smart, instinctive free safety. He has ball-hawking ability and a propensity for taking interceptions in for scores. He has a football lineage with a father that played in the NFL. The concern about Reynolds has always been his speed. However, Reynolds ran .01 seconds faster in the 40-yard dash than either Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor at the Combine. I have always believed that if you want a free safety to come in and play well immediately then you need a smart instinctive player first and foremost. Speed is great, but it doesn't help much if you are running the wrong direction. This is a very underrated part of being a deep safety in my opinion.
Ed Reynolds is a smart and instinctive player that has a great chance to start at free safety for the Chiefs in 2014, and in my opinion has the upside of being a multiyear starter at free safety for the Chiefs. Not bad for a fourth round pick.
5th round - Western Kentucky FS Johnathan Dowling
6'3 / 190 pounds / 33-1/8" arms / 9-1/4" hands / 4.52 40-yard
I would REALLY like to take Aaron Murray here. I think Murray is a reach in the third round, a consideration in the fourth round and a steal in the fifth round. The Chiefs need leverage in the Alex Smith negotiations and a back up plan if Alex won't sign for a reasonable amount. Murray is likely one of the most pro ready QBs in the 2014 draft, and should be ready to start next year, or this year if necessary. I believe there is a chance that he falls this far, but in this scenario he doesn't and the Chiefs take Dowling instead.
Dowling is a physical specimen with tons of potential at free safety that slides due to character concerns. You can't teach size or speed and this guy has both. Citadelchief has already told you everything you need to know about Dowling, so I won't wast my breath. This pick is insurance for Reynolds, but more importantly this pick has TONS of upside for the fifth round. This is a risky pick, but if Reid and Co. can get between his ear and get his attitude straight then this could be a steal of a pick due to Dowling's rare mixture of size, speed and ability at the safety position.
6th round - North Carolina OT James Hurst
6'5 / 296 pounds / 33-3/4" arms / 10-1/8" hands / No 40-yard
Hurst is a back up swing offensive tackle / guard. He comes in to compete with Rishaw Johnson at right guard and back up Eric Fisher and Stephenson. That is what this team needs. Hurst fills a big need at a late round with a fair amount of upside. Hurst has the size and a fair amount of ability, but unfortunately broke his leg in his 2013 bowl game against Cincinati. Consequently, he was not invited to the Senior Bowl or Scouting Combine. There is a ton of upside here, and the Chiefs can afford to let Hurst's leg heal. The best part is that a early round draft pick was not wasted.
6th round - Stanford DE Ben Gardener
6'4 / 262 pounds /30-3/4" arms / 9-5/8" hands / 4.83 40-yard
Gardner gets no love. Not even invited to the Combine. Downgraded mostly because of his lack of athleticism and dwarf 30-3/4" arms. Ironically, he flashed athleticism at his pro day with a 39.5" vertical, 10'2" broad jump and a 4.83 40-yard dash. Gardner posted 4.5 sacks in 2011, 7.5 sacks in 2012 and 4.5 sacks in only eight games in 2013 due to injury. He helps with situational pass rush right away with an upside of a starting defensive end if Gardener can bulk up and stay explosive, but lets face it the biggest and best reason to draft Gardener is that wicked "Jared Allen-esque" mullet.
Rookie Free Agent: Oklahoma PR/WR Jalen Saunders
5'9 / 165 pounds / 30" arms / 8-7/8" hands / 4.44 40-yard
With a need left at punt returner after the draft, Dorsey pecks up the phone and calls Saunders' agent. He explains that Saunders has a great chance of making the team and makes an offer. Saunders takes the offer from Dorsey to sign with the Chiefs and become the Chiefs new punt returner. He also comes into compete for the slot wide receiver position. Saunders falls due to size concerns. but the Chiefs risk little to nothing signing him to a free agent rookie deal.
Honorable Mention: Oregon TE Colt Lyerla
Lyerla is a head case with drug issues. He also has first or second round ability at tight end. If he isn't drafted, then Dorsey has to at least test the waters with Lyerla. The upside is just too high to not try. Maybe the Chiefs get him, maybe they don't. Maybe Lyerla is in prison three years from now. Either way his talent is worth taking a shot out in undrafted free agency.