Welcome the Kansas City Chiefs 2012 NFL Draft class.
I went through and looked at all the Chiefs draft picks trying to figure out what grade I'm going to give them. I know grades are pointless the day after the draft and so many things will change that this analysis will look silly a year from now. But whatever. I like grading the picks entirely-too-early.
I settled on giving the Chiefs a C. I know I gave them a B in my write-up at SB Nation but I've had a couple more days to think about the picks and I keep coming up with more questions.
So my final grade: C.
I don't necessarily think they needed multiple new starters out of the draft. They needed depth, and that's what they did. Depth isn't sexy so people like me are going to knock the Chiefs picks a little bit for that. I see the Chiefs philosophy, and agree with some of it but I do have a beef with a couple of the players selected.
My run down of the Chiefs picks is after the jump. Here's how you graded the Chiefs draft in our poll.
Round 1: Memphis DT Dontari Poe (Approval 35%)
This just seemed so...un-Pioli like. Or was it? What do we really know about Pioli? After four drafts, I don't think we know as much as we think we know. Nick Wright of 610 Sports was on the Chop Talk podcast with BJ Kissel and Matt Conner and he said the KC media put a label of "risk-averse" on Pioli early on and that just doesn't seem true. He does take risks, especially in the last two drafts, and everything we think we know about a Pioli draft pick isn't exactly accurate. The perception is there, but the reality is different.
The Poe pick still surprises me. Pioli is criticized for a lot of things but he doesn't take players that have their effort questioned, or at least it doesn't seem he does. I don't know if the motor questions are accurate with Poe but I have heard what those who have been around him, like some in the Memphis media, have said. That's why this pick is so strange for me. Scouting reports rarely question the motor of a Chiefs draft pick. Doesn't fit the scheme, not the right size, not smart enough....we've seen all those criticisms. But questioning someone's effort? That doesn't happen very often with a Pioli pick. Again, maybe the supposed draft experts are wrong. Quantifying effort is tricky business.
That said...I can agree with the reasoning or the strategy behind the pick. Poe, in an ideal world, will be a three-down player. That gives the Chiefs more versatility, especially in the sub packages. Poe basically takes up two positions -- the base and sub defense, which is good value. I understand the strategy behind the pick.
My issue with the pick is that I think you want your first round pick to be as much of a sure-thing as possible. You can handle a player not hitting his ceiling but you shouldn't accept a player hitting his floor. You don't want your first round pick to bust and I think Poe, according to some reports, has arguably the highest bust potential in the first round (outside of Ryan Tannehill). Yes, he also has an enormous ceiling but it's the possibility of a bust that has me worried.
So, yeah, I see why the Chiefs made the pick and I'm not even totally against it. It's the bust factor that has me worried.
Round 2: Illinois OT Jeff Allen (Approval 67%)
I really like this pick. I'd even go so far as to say I love it. He's a four-year starting offensive lineman so there aren't a ton of question marks about him. He's a great value in the second round. He has a path to starting for the Chiefs, which depends on Ryan Lilja's future.
Allen completes the transformation of the interior of the Chiefs offensive line. Just a couple years ago it was Brian Waters, Casey Wiegmann and Ryan Lilja on the offensive line. Now it's 2010 draft pick Jon Asamoah, 2011 draft pick Rodney Hudson and 2012 draft pick Jeff Allen. Methodically adding a piece every year which gets us to this point.
Allen is my favorite pick in the Chiefs draft. (Unless he's a bust. Then just forget I said that.)
Round 3: Oklahoma OT Donald Stephenson (Approval 49%)
I like the idea behind this pick. Stephenson will be a swing tackle for the Chiefs, which is an important position. Remember last year when the Chiefs had all those injuries? And they were criticized for the lack of depth at those positions? Drafting Stephenson is a pre-emptive move to counter that possibility at offensive tackle. For that reason, I like the pick.
But the third round does seem a little high for him. Maybe others were waiting in line to take him but I did get the sense that he was drafted a little too high. He's a developmental tackle who, if Branden Albert is re-signed, won't be a starter unless someone else is injured. I think in general you want to find a future starter in the third round. Stephenson's role on the Chiefs is as a backup.
I agree with the logic behind the pick, and I guess I'm content with it, but it does seem a little high for a guy who, ideally, won't play.
Round 4: Fresno St. WR Devon Wylie (Approval 74%)
Two years ago the Chiefs drafted Dexter McCluster thinking he could be a slot receiver and return man. A year later and McCluster switched positions. The Chiefs now look to Wylie to fill a similar role. I like the pick because of the skills he brings, as well as some returner ability.
I'm just not totally sure where he fits on the Chiefs. Where is he on the food chain: Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin, Steve Breaston and Tony Moeaki? Add in Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis and Kevin Boss, and I think he's going to have trouble breaking into the Chiefs offense. Maybe that's a testament to the Chiefs offense, too. And the list above depends on Dwayne Bowe's future, too.
Oh, and he's a white slot receiver, which means everyone will compare him to Wes Welker.You know, the guy who catches 111 passes a year, one of the league's best receivers? That comparison is going to get annoying after a while.
Round 5: Alabama CB De'Quan Menzie (Approval 84%)
Love this pick, too. NFL Films' Greg Cosell called Menzie one of the best slot cornerbacks in the draft. The Chiefs obviously had a plan with some of these picks. Picking up Poe in the first round and hoping he can stay on the field all three downs, which opens up the sub package on defense.
Menzie played the "star" position at Alabama, like Javier Arenas. That position requires you to understand what's going on all around you so Menzie is a smart player and isn't one of those guys who gets away with things based on just his athleticism. Sounds like Menzie has the capability to play a couple of different positions.
With Peyton Manning in the division, and the NFL in general moving towards more passing, I think the Chiefs are trying to stay ahead of the curve.
Menzie seems a lot like Arenas, which makes me wonder about the future of Arenas, who is a good punt returner.
Round 6: Texas A&M RB Cyrus Gray (Approval 86%)
I like this pick from a value standpoint, let alone hitting on a position of need. Solid overall pick here.
What I like about Gray is that he he's been contributing at Texas A&M for multiple years so you have tons of tape on him. He had a shoulder injury last season, which could've been what dropped his stock, but it sounds like he's healthy.
You look at the Chiefs running back position and with Jamaal Charles there you think they're set. But they're really not. That position is actually not secure. Peyton Hillis is on a one-year contract so he could be gone after this season. Charles needs a complementary running back next to him and that job is wide open for 2013 and beyond. Gray's fit with the Chiefs would be that position next to Charles.
Let's be honest. The chances of either of these guys working out aren't very good. 7th round picks turn into starters less than 10 percent of the time. I'm not expecting much from these two picks.
You hope someone like Long can make the roster, as UDFA Brandon Bair did last season. I wonder if a roster spot will come down to those two players.
Hemingway has long odds considering who the Chiefs already have at receiver. His ceiling right now would be the Chiefs 5th or 6th best receiver. Maybe (hopefully) he cracks the team, but it won't be easy.