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Mailbag: Sean Smith's great season, Chiefs vs. Patriots, drafting WRs

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I owe you fine folks an apology.

Here I was thinking everything was going well. I'd written about Albert Wilson and Justin Houston. I'd talked about the fun moments of 2014. I was even getting a chance to play around in the comments a little. I felt like I was in here doing my job and doing it well.

Then I realized I hadn't done a mailbag in weeks, and I had old questions just ... just SITTING there.

It's a disgrace. It's a travesty. It's the worst thing anyone has done since some footballs got deflated (or, you know, deflated themselves magically without anyone knowing. somehow). And I won't stand for this kind of outlandish behavior from myself.

So let's mailbag, shall we?

(In case you don't know, email mailbag questions to MNchiefsfan@hotmail.com or tweet them to @RealMNchiefsfan)

At this point, it's impossible to say for sure. We're in the ridiculous time of the year where player stock rises and falls for no GOOD reason.

"But MN, there's still the Combine and draft visits!"

Yes, I know. And seriously, outside of finding out a guy has some kind of incredible attitude issue, there's virtually nothing that can be taken from any of the offseason, non-game-film, ridiculously detailed "scouting" sites (and apparently teams) do once the college football season is over.

Game film is it. It really is. Nothing else matters all THAT much. Allow the prosecution to present 2 Exhibits that will prove this beyond a reasonable doubt.

Exhibit A: De'Anthony Thomas

Remember the time Thomas wasn't all THAT fast because his 40 time didn't blow anyone away? Me too. All anyone had to do was turn on Oregon film and see that Thomas is insanely fast. Instead, people started thinking we were getting someone like Dexter McCluster (more quick than fast). Turns out Thomas is one of the fastest players I've ever seen. Whoops.

Exhibit B: Teddy Bridgewater

Of all the quarterbacks coming out of college last year, Teddy's film was far and away the best. He was the consensus best QB. Then the offseason happened (though some of the "whispers" began before the season ended) and his stock plummeted.

The crazy thing is that none of the reasons Bridgewater's stock went down had to do with his tape. "Weak" arm. Lack of fire. Small hands. SMALL HANDS??????????? Yep, small hands. Bridgewater ended up being taken behind Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel (sheesh...), and was WILDLY superior to both of them and every other rookie QB. Turns out pocket presence and accuracy aren't overrated in the NFL.

Anyway, my point is we have no idea why people will start harping on a player this time of year. Fans, analysts, and teams all lose their minds as the tape gets further and further in the past. Recency bias creeps in, and guys who should be highly regarded slip while guys with no real resume get elevated. It's insanity.

(Cue someone pointing out that Dontari Poe's college film wasn't great)

And wouldn't you know it, people are already starting with Amari Cooper! Here's an article with some random scout claiming Cooper doesn't have the "wow" factor. Seriously. This is on the NFL's web page. "Wow" factor. I love it.

All that's a long road to a short thought; we don't know how far Cooper could drop. Heck, with the way the draft swings he could be there when the Chiefs pick. I don't think he's got the kind of hype Sammy Watkins did coming out, and last year's crop (crazy deep. Not that it helped the Chiefs, naturally) might have teams spooked of going WR too early (they'll convince themselves they can snag a guy 95 percent as good in the third. That almost never works out, but recency bias will do its magic).

I haven't watched a lot of Cooper, but my understanding is he runs good routes, has decent speed, possesses solid hands, and can run after the catch very well. That sounds like a good deal to me.

The Chiefs are in a situation where they are likely going to have a few extra picks (due to compensatory picks) and are (in one guy's opinion) pretty close to making serious noise in the playoffs. Let's say Cooper DOES drop a little bit. I'd say once he gets past the top 10 the Chiefs ought to at least CONSIDER making a trade. If he goes past 14, go for it. It won't cost all that much and could upgrade a position of desperate need.

Of course, all of this is academic if they make a splash at WR in free agency. Here's hoping

(Thinks Randall Cobb thoughts)

I have no idea, but that's the craziest stat I've ever heard. There's no way that can be true.

(checks)

Holy crap, you're right.

That is unbelievable. That's insane. That is mind-boggling. In 621 coverage snaps, Sean Smith had zero penalties. Playing cornerback. In the NFL. In 2014.

I don't even... I can't. I just can't. You know how many other corners who played at least 60 percent of their team's snaps did that last year (at least per PFF)?

Absolutely none. Zip. Nada. Two times zero. Five minus five. Literally no one.

And no, I have no idea how he pulled that off. It seems borderline impossible. What I do know is Smith played solid all year after a Week 1 debacle (he may well have been one of the worst players on the field against the Titans). That said, I haven't gone back and watched his film on All-22, so I genuinely couldn't tell you how he managed it. But I'll do my best to figure it out, and it'll likely result on a 5,000 word article.

Smith had a very good season last year. He was a fantastic free agent signing. Well done, Sean Smith.

I'm not going to get into the whole debate regarding adding more teams to the playoffs. I really haven't given it enough thought to have a genuine opinion other than it would seem to make the regular season a tad less meaningful. One thing I hate about the NBA is that you can absolutely suck and still make the playoffs. Half the league makes the playoffs. It's kinda silly. The regular season just doesn't mean all that much. Ask Gregg Popovich.

I'm afraid of the NFL going the same direction. Of course, the reverse argument is that with the parity in the NFL, having more teams would result in generally competitive games (as opposed to, again, the NBA, where first round series can be something of a laugher at times) and more "surprise" playoff runs. Now I'm back on the fence. Kinda.

Anyway, Chiefs at Patriots. This SHOULD be pretty easy to pick. The Patriots played great football down the stretch. They reshuffled their OL and got The Gronk (who is, in my opinion, the actual MVP of that offense) fully healthy. Their defense has been playing well, and they blew out the Colts with no problem whatsoever.

On the other hand, it's tough to totally discount the absolute whomping the Chiefs gave the Patriots at Arrowhead. I mean, it's one thing to say, "Oh yeah, Team X beat Team Y once so they'll do it again." That kind of logic rarely holds up in football. But when one team just DESTROYS another team ... that's tough to ignore.

Additionally, the Chiefs are a terrible matchup for the Patriots. The Chiefs get after the quarterback as good as any team in the league, and Tom Brady can be rattled in that situation. And the Pats secondary (which has played really well this year) doesn't help them all that much against the Chiefs. And you have to take into account how Dwayne Bowe undressed Darrelle Revis Island in the first half back on that Monday night. Those factors make it tough to not pick the Chiefs.

At the end of the day, though, the LeGarrette Blount factor changes things. With the way the Chiefs inside linebackers played the run down the stretch this season (and the fact that Ron Parker is a quiet weakness against the run at safety), there's a legit chance Blount could run for 175 yards on the Chiefs. In fact, Blount is the reason I believe the Pats have a good shot at beating the Seahawks. He's a knucklehead, but he's a scary knucklehead against a vulnerable run defense.

I think the Chiefs wouldn't be able to take Belichick by surprise in this game the way they did way back when. The Chiefs unveiled a ton of formations and plays NO ONE had seen yet, and he caught ol' BB completely by surprise. In the time since the Chiefs OL got exposed as vulnerable to... well, basically everything. I think that would get exploited all day and the Chiefs would have a tough time putting up points.

The Pats would take that one by 10.

Hmmm ... well, I'll have to suspend my disbelief for just a moment. Because from everything I've ever seen, sign and trades just don't happen all that much in the NFL. Plus, there are some logistical problems in how that would need to be done procedurally with Houston's agent jumping up and down and blocking the process.

Also, there's the whole "YOU DO NOT TRADE THE BEST PASS RUSHER IN THE NFL RIGHT AS HE ENTERS HIS PRIME!!!!!!" line of thought. To which people will likely point to Jared Allen, so there you go. Let's just think about what we'd need for compensation.

First of all, I don't see a player-for-player trade. It's fun to think about, but it's just SO rare in the NFL. I wish teams would do it more often, but that's where the league is at. It's draft picks or nothing.

That said, if I'm John Dorsey I'm hanging up on any proposal that doesn't include the words "two first round picks," and even leading with that only keeps you on the phone for another minute. I'm trying to think of the bare minimum I'd take for Houston. What do you charge for the second best defensive player in the NFL?

We tend to overvalue draft picks as a whole. We love to believe a 1st rounder will net you a Pro Bowler, a 2nd rounder will net you a very good starter, a 3rd rounder will get a decent starter, and 4th-5th rounders will get you solid rotational guys. At least, that's the way it sounds when fans describe the draft. "We'll let Player X (an average player) walk and replace him by drafting a WR in later rounds" is just the silliest statement imaginable" (no offense anyone).

If it were really THAT easy, teams would have better draft records. For example, look at the draft history of Ozzie Newsome, widely regarded as one of the best drafters (if not the very best drafter) in the NFL. Look at all those misses. They're as frequent as the hits. Again, this guy is the best in the business. My point isn't Newsome is terrible (he's very good), it's that we as fans vastly overrate draft picks and their likelihood of success. There's a reason Belichick goes for quantity.

Another factor to take into consideration is where a team is at in the draft. A team willing to sell the farm for Houston could well be a team that's a pass rusher away from contention, and therefore not in the top 10. You have to consider that when factoring in instant return.

If it's a team in the top 10 of the draft in 2015, I'd take the following: two first round picks, a third round pick, a second round pick in 2016, and a fourth round pick in 2016. Anything less than that and I'm all, "NOPE."

If the team is NOT in the top 10 in the draft of 2015, I'm gonna need 2 first round picks, a 2nd round pick, a 4th round pick, a 2nd rounder next year, and a 4th rounder next year.

I THINK I'd say yes in that situation if Houston's contract were absolutely monstrous (which it very likely will be). Some might say that's way too much, some might say it's not enough. But that's where I'd land. Houston is the second best defensive player in the league, plays a premium position, and is 26. You just don't trade that guy without getting the world back in return.

This seems as good a spot as any to stop. I've got one mailbag question left, but I'm reserving that one for an entire column all its own.

Get me mailbag questions, folks. It's gonna be a long offseason. And remember, football is fine, but food, parenting, television, movies, other sports ... literally ANY topic is welcome in the mailbag. Let's have fun with it this offseason.