The day is almost upon as. After what feels like centuries of unbearable waiting, the day of the 2014 NFL Draft is almost here. I'm pretty sure we need to set in motion the outrage machine that is social media and sick it on Roger Goodell so that this never, ever, ever happens again.
My biggest complaint with the delayed draft? The fact that pundits have used the extra time to torpedo and exalt prospects based on literally zero new information. Remember when Teddy Bridgewater was absolutely without question the top quarterback prospect? Now the national conversation is around whether he'll be taken in the first round at all. And what's this all based on (because it is NOT based on his tape)? Supposedly a so-so pro day and a "meh" Wonderlic score. But what it's REALLY based on is boredom. People have run out of hot takes, so they invent them.
For every day that goes by, another new rumor gets floated that we (the desperate public starving for any NFL-related news) gobble up like a fat kid gnawing on cheesecake.
But it's almost over. We've almost made it. With that in mind, all three questions today will focus on the NFL draft. As usual, send mailbag questions/comments to MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com or tweet to @RealMNchiefsfan. Next time we'll be doing a lot more non-football questions that have piled up, so feel free to join the fray.
Onto the draft!
@RealMNchiefsfan would love to see your take on 3rd-4th rd wrs— Dave Brusa (@Dave_Brusa) April 18, 2014
That's a fun question. I'm of the mind that WR is the way to go in the first round, but it's obviously worth discussing what receivers could be available in the third or fourth round if the Chiefs go another direction. In this draft, there are absolutely going to be very, very talented wide receivers available in the middle rounds. To let you know how talented this group is, CBS has SEVENTEEN receivers projected in the first three rounds.
There aren't going to be 17 wideouts selected in the first 96 picks, barring some kind of insane situation where multiple runs on WRs occur. There are a couple of guys who I think could potentially help out right away that might fall to the Chiefs third round pick.
Jarvis Landry, LSU
If your reason for not wanting Landry is because he went to LSU, feel free to skip the rest of this column and proceed to the comments with a red-hot take. Each player is an individual who should be judged on his own merit, and this idea of "Oh no, not another player from school X" is about as crazy as it gets.
I was pretty down on Landry (along with the rest of the world, it seems) until recently. I was encouraged to review his film before making judgments on the player, so I gave him a shot via Draft Breakdown. You should do the same.
There are multiple games to watch Landry's snaps available. If you watch them and don't walk away with your mind changed about Landry, fair enough. I was impressed.
First things first; if you saw Landry's 40 time at the Combine (which was an abysmal 4.77), there are two things you should know. First, Landry was injured running that 40. Second, he ran a significantly better (though hardly blazing) 4.58 at his pro day. It's something to at least consider.
Landry is not as explosive as his teammate Odell Beckham Jr. Everyone knows that. But it's almost like everyone has focused so much on what (and who) Landry isn't that they've discounted what he is and what he does well.
Landry runs solid routes and seems to constantly get open despite his perceived lack of speed. He knows how to find open spots in a defense. He's got 10 1/4' hands that are crazy-strong, and he does a very good job of catching with those hands (as opposed to using his body, as it's rumored some receivers do). He also doesn't seem to be bothered by contact in his routes, a huge plus in the NFL.
There's a reason Landry was highly productive in an offense that rarely passed and had a quarterback who had ... issues (let's just say that after watching Beckham and Landry's film, I'm more than underwhelmed by Zach Mettenberger. I'm not even whelmed). He can play. I wouldn't mind seeing him in red next year one bit.
As far as a guy to take a flyer on in later rounds (not that you asked) ... Martavis Bryant intrigues me. Of course, there's a very good chance he's more athlete than football player, but MAN what an athlete. A guy who is his height but still has exceptional speed/acceleration is a rare, rare thing in football. He's just as likely to do absolutely nothing as he is to explode, but that's what late round picks are all about; taking a shot. He could develop into an exceptional deep-ball threat.
MN... is there a chance that drafting Stephon Tuitt or Louis Nix at 23 would help the defensive line get a lot stronger? I view the Walker signing as more of a depth signing than a starter signing. If KC picks Tuitt at 23, Dontari Poe would stay at nose, and drafting Nix would give KC flexibility to move Poe around (which I think would give opposing OL nightmares). I have seen Poe sparingly play DE, but when he did, he was ELITE.
Well, I've made my feelings about Swagger Vance (based on re-watching half his games last year) perfectly clear. I think he's a guy who can come in and be a sizable upgrade as a pass rusher over what the Chiefs had last year next to Poe. That said, MOAR beef up front is never a bad thing.
Both Tuitt and Nix have their strong points. Starting with Tuitt ... one thing it seems people fear regarding Tuitt is that he's just another Tyson Jackson. I have to say, I don't really agree with this fear. Tuitt showed in 2012 that he can get after the quarterback. My understanding (and I'm sure a commenter will correct me if I'm wrong) is that Tuitt took some time to return to form after hernia surgery between 2012 and 2013 (OW). He's shown elite ability to get into the backfield. That can't be ignored.
Tuitt is more athletic than T-Jax (or Mike DeVito, for that matter). Even cursory viewing of his tape reveals a guy who, while no Jadeveon Clowney (who is?), can move around a bit, particularly for a guy his size. I'm not crazy about Tuitt, but the T-Jax comparisons don't make much sense to me. I wouldn't hate him as a pick. However, there are guys I'd rather see taken in the first if they're going DL ... and one of them MIGHT be Louis Nix.
I know people hate the idea of moving Dontari Poe. The man just made the Pro Bowl after his second season, and is widely regarded as one of the best 3-4 NTs in the league already. He's a brick wall against the run, can take on double teams every down, has unbelievable stamina, and can get after the passer. Why mess with a good thing?
It's not just because I love to tinker. It's a matter of how practical it is to double team a player. In the basic 3-4 alignment, Poe is going to draw a double team almost every play, and it's easy to double him because he's smack-dab in the middle of the o-line (yes, it's more complicated than this. No, I don't feel like going in-depth). Either guard can be used to assist the center, depending on what is happening elsewhere on the line. Moving Poe to defensive end creates a scenario where you have to use two specific players on Poe, making it easier for Bob Sutton to scheme regarding blitzes, stunts, and other wild and crazy ideas.
I also really like the idea of Poe being able to switch sides at random. Football is a game of matchups, planning, and execution. If you can keep opposing teams guessing over where you'll be lining up, you've got an edge right from the start. I get that the Chiefs 3-4 DEs have different responsibilities, but Poe is capable of handling either, and DeVito / Walker are flexible enough players to manage the switching on a limited basis as well.
At the end of the day I feel like Nix would give the Chiefs base set more options to work with. Of course, the problem with Nix is that he's a two-down player, as opposed to what Tuitt (or Hageman, who I'd prefer to Tuitt) brings to the table. In an increasingly pass-oriented league, it's tough to justify a first round pick on a guy who is likely off the field on passing downs.
Bottom line for me; I like Vance Walker and Mike DeVito, I think Mike Catapano has a lot of potential as a rotational pass rusher (I swear, I have my reasons), and Allen Bailey is a passable rotational player. So I wouldn't get too fired up adding a defensive lineman (unless it's Aaron Donald. In which case I'll strip naked and sprint down the street screaming with joy) in this draft. I wouldn't be too down on Tuitt or Nix, but either would be my seventh or so choice as the Chiefs first round pick.
Let's say John Dorsey called you up and asked you to spend the week with him advising on one of two sides of his job.
1) Help pick the draft of the 2014 Chiefs
2) Work on contract negotiations for the players already on the roster carte blanche.
I'm a rarity in that I would rather, all things being equal, be a part of contract negotiations. It's an interesting facet to the NFL, and a large part of my day job involves negotiations (of course, not at nearly these stakes) so I hope I'd be decent at it. Plus, it would allow me to lock up Eric Berry once and for all (that came out wrong).
That said, I have to pick the draft. Because all things are NOT equal. Contract negotiations take two to tango. And for all I know the guys I'd like to work out deals with (Alex Smith, Eric Berry, Justin Houston) don't have any interest in negotiating right now. A week would go by and I'd have done nothing but make three phone calls that ended in, "No thanks, not right now."
The draft is different. You pick a player, and he has to play for you (unless he's Eli Manning. Then he gets to pout his way to New York). So I'd be guaranteed to be a part of the process, as opposed to sitting on the sideline if agents didn't feel like talking.
Plus, I think I'd be a major asset in the war room because of my lack of risk aversion, which mostly would stem from the fact that my job isn't on the line. I'd be willing to go super-aggressive with trades if that's what it took to get the guys I wanted (and in a draft THIS talented I'm not sure why people wouldn't be looking for more picks). Throw me in that room and I'd find a way to trade us into three second round picks (because it's just like Madden, right?).
I also would like to be involved in the draft for the purpose of screaming "YOU HAVE TO TRADE UP FOR THIS MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" if Aaron Donald fell to pick No. 15 or so. My worst nightmare is Donald getting picked at like 21 or something, where a sixth rounder and a pack of gum could have gotten him (in case you don't know this, I kinda like Donald as a pass rusher). I wake up at nights in a cold sweat imagining this happening. Please don't let this happen, John Dorsey. I'm begging you.
That's all for this mailbag session. I guess I'll close out with literally my only mock draft attempt of the offseason. And it'll only consist of the Chiefs first three picks. Best case scenario (besides something amazing like Beckham or Donald falling to 23) for the Chiefs in my eyes:
No. 1: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
No. 2: Terrence Brooks, FS, Florida State
No. 3: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
I assume that I'll be completely wrong, as will most of us. Thursday can't get here fast enough.
If you're too lazy to look above, email mailbag questions to MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com or tweet @RealMNchiefsfan.