Perhaps you were a bit confused about what the Kansas City Chiefs were doing in the 2014 NFL Draft. Or perhaps you weren't, in which case, I guess you can stop reading now.
But the rest of ya's may have found yourself thinking these thoughts heading into said draft:
- "They need to add a WR. They were last in the league at production from the WR spot in 2013, AND they lost Dexter McCluster."
- "If there's one position they don't need, it's RB. Jamaal is one of the two best in the NFL, and Knile Davis showed a lot of upside last season."
- "If there's one position on defense where they're absolutely set, it's OLB. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are the best Puff Puff Pass Rushing tandem in the NFL."
- "As much as that playoff loss sucked, the Chiefs still have great depth at CB in veterans Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith, and youngsters in Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker."
All of these thoughts are valid. You would not be wrong in thinking any of these, nor should you be embarrassed having them secretly recorded and leaked to TMZ by your mistress, who is 49 years your junior.
But Andy Reid and John Dorsey have a direction and I believe in them. So I went on a spiritual journey to explain. Hop aboard:
"Why draft an OLB in the first, and a CB in the third?"
This Chiefs draft was indicative that they have their eye on the future, and more specifically, 2015. Their first two picks were, essentially, used as replacements for good players, at important positions, who are getting older and cost too much.
I'm speaking of two fan favorites, Tamba Hali and Brandon Flowers.
This may come as a shock to some of you, the ones who I don't particularly care about, because that means you haven't been listening to Amateur Hour enough.
Tamba is getting older and is a one-dimensional player. Flowers isn't a good fit for Bob Sutton's aggressive man-to-man scheme. And the Chiefs could save $7.5 million by cutting either player (or $15 million total) after the upcoming 2014 season.
It's my belief that both Tamba and Flowers will be facing a "take a pay cut or skedaddle" type situation next offseason.
Which means both Dee Ford and Phillip Gaines will have the opportunity to play big roles in KC, come 2015. In 2014? I expect Ford to play in or around 50 percent of the defensive snaps, while Gaines will compete with Cooper for the third CB position.
So, if you're the type of guy who craves immediate production from your top picks, this draft class is not for you. However, if you're the type of guy who has his eyes set on an AFC West division without the best regular season QB of all time (Me - not the best QB part, the eye on the future part), then you might find yourself rather delighted.
"Why didn't the Chiefs draft a WR?"
A more difficult question than the prior, but here goes...
Perhaps, Andy Reid and John Dorsey have ultimately decided that Alex Smith isn't all that good at utilizing wide receivers.
I know, "Duh," right? However, accepting that as a truth can be a very valuable commodity for this team. It would mean they won't force it, and will look to build around it instead.
Two things to keep in mind:
1. The Michael Crabtree case study. Here's some numbers:
Michael Crabtree, with Alex Smith as starting QB: 47 games, three 100-yard games
Michael Crabtree, with Colin Kaepernick as QB: 18 games, seven 100-yard games
2. Andy Reid's most successful teams in Philly never included a dynamic WR, outside of the one year with Terrell Owens. In the four years before adding TO, from 2000-2003, the Eagles went 46-18, making three NFC Championship games. A look at their leading WRs in that time period:
2000 - Chad Lewis (TE) - 735 yards, Charles Johnson - 642 yards
2001 - James Thrash - 833 yards
2002 - Todd Pinkston - 798 yards
2003 - Pinkston - 575 yards, Thrash - 558 yards
And just for fun...
2013 - Dwayne Bowe - 673 yards
This system has worked for Andy Reid before. Playmaking QB (I actually like the Alex / McNabb comparison), strong running game, top special teams unit, playmaking top five defense (the biggest difference at this point). It would appear he's trying to recreate that.
So, if Alex isn't built to throw to WRs, and Andy's offense doesn't necessarily require it, why spend (waste?) a high draft pick on one? (This one's rhetorical.)
Which means, I would argue, that John Dorsey and Andy Reid have made one very big mistake since arriving in KC: Dwayne Bowe's contract.
If they are truly committed to Alex for the foreseeable future, it's hard to imagine D-Bowe making any more Pro-Bowes, which is the type of production you'd expect for how much money he's making.
"Why draft another RB?"
Let me answer that question with another question: What is their plan for Alex Smith?
My best guess: Surround him with playmakers out of the backfield and in the intermediate passing game. In other words, RBs, TEs, and niche players (Dex, DaT - who I love).
Dorsey and Reid spent a third rounder on Travis Kelce, signed Anthony Fasano and The Beard (don't forget about him!) before Alex's first game in KC. They took a RB in Round 3 of 2013 draft and Round 4 of 2014 draft (watch out Round 5 next year!).
And, despite Dorsey's history with the Packers, the Chiefs have yet to take a WR the last two drafts. This says a lot to me.
You may think in reading this, that I condone for it all. But I don't. I am a firm believer in building your team with a QB on a rookie contract, and spending all the moneys elsewhere. But that doesn't mean this strategy is lost on me. It makes sense. Alex is the QB of this team, whether I like it or not. Andy has gone this route before and been very successful doing so.
In conclusion, this draft gets my vote of approval, even if I'm still a little Johnny Depressed.