My prediction for the Kansas City Chiefs first round pick on Thursday night is Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Vernon Butler. I had this written up yesterday and then saw ESPN's Adam Teicher make the same prediction. So Teicher scooped me.
Here are a few reasons why Butler will be the pick:
1. D-line fits the Dorsey model. Eric Fisher was a replacement for Branden Albert, Dee Ford was a replacement for Tamba Hali / insurance to the Justin Houston contract talks and Marcus Peters was a replacement for Sean Smith. In this model, Butler is the replacement / insurance against Dontari Poe, who is in the final year of his contract. This is really the only position where that fits. Maybe offensive tackle if you think the Chiefs aren't picking up Fisher's option.
2. Defensive line is a need. An immediate need? Sort of but not really. Butler could fill in the rotation next year but the three top defensive linemen next season are pretty well entrenched: Allen Bailey, Dontari Poe, Jaye Howard. Poe is in the final year of his deal and Howard is on a two-year contract. So, something will change soon. Defensive linemen take some time to develop. It makes sense they would start that development now.
3. He was a Senior Bowl standout. So was Fisher and so was Ford. They weren't the only ones who flashed there that the Chiefs picked. Dorsey goes to Senior Bowl week in Mobile, Alabama and clearly sees some value in it. Butler did well there.
4. Andy Reid likes to draft big guys early. Andy Reid drafts fat guys. He had defensive line first round picks in 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2012. Three other years he had an offensive lineman in the first round. In 2008, his first pick was in the second round but it was a defensive lineman.
5. He visited the Chiefs. Folks seemed to miss this. Butler told a newspaper he visited Kansas City so he has been in here at some point. I doubt the Chiefs are doing that as a smoke screen.
6. He passes the SPARQ threshold. Read the defensive line section here. That analysis is better than anything I can give.
7. He has long arms. Dorsey likes long arms on his offensive linemen. Probably doesn't mind it on his defensive linemen. (OK, this one is a stretch)