Simply put, I’m extremely impressed with the Chiefs‘ brass right now. Impressed enough that if they get all our picks signed quickly enough I might even drop the Arrowhead boycott. Before, I thought all of this rebuild-through-the-draft talk was just the Chiefs being frugal. In the NFL Draft‘s aftermath, however, my opinion is starting to change.
It looks like the Chiefs are going to load up during this draft and the next, and also save up money for some young free agents when they are closer to competing. I guess that’s always been the rebuilding plan, but prior to the Jared Allen trade and this draft class I was calling bullshit. Now I am one step closer to becoming a believer. I’m not there yet, but I’m definitely a lot closer than I was a week ago.
Yesterday the Chiefs made out like bandits. Carl Peterson was Mozart instead of Salieri for once, putting together the finest draft-day masterpiece of his lengthy tenure. I think Bill Kuharich and Herm Edwards also deserve a lot of praise, but at the end of the day Carl’s the boss. Hate him or love him, you’ve gotta give credit where credit is due. Yesterday’s draft crop was an “A+” pull, and I’ve rated it as such.
Today wasn’t the over-the-top success Saturday was, but it was still a very successful day. I think a lot of Chiefs fans question it because some of the positions we drafted, but they’re missing the point. The Chiefs drafted the best player available all day long today. They have committed to fixing this thing long term, and have decided this is the way to do so. The Chiefs had an eye on being truly competitive in 2010, instead of winning an extra game or two next year. Keep that in mind as I hand out my grades for the day…
Grading Day Two:
RB Jamaal Charles, Texas - Charles is the anti-L.J. He’s smaller, shiftier, has great hands and prefers making people miss rather than trucking them. He had a fine career at Texas, and I think he’ll be the perfect compliment to Larry Johnson in the running game. After all, Larry can never rack up 416 carries again–we must protect our biggest investment. Those of you who truly hated this pick are putting too much faith in Kolby Smith. Charles will really, really help our running game–this year. Grade: B+
TE Brad Cottam, Tennessee - One of my Draft Apples, this was my favorite pick of the day. If it wasn’t for an injury and a lack of targets, he might have ended up going in the first round like Dustin Keller. Even Mel Kiper said that. He won’t totally replace Jason Dunn, or Tony Gonzalez when he hangs up his No. 88 jersey, but he’ll bring a lot of what both guys bring to the table. I think we’ve found both of their successors in the same player. Grade: A
S DaJuan Morgan, N.C. State – I was kind of scratching my head on this one, and I’m not nearly as high on the Page and Pollard Connection as some fans (especially Jarrad). Then I read about Morgan and watched his highlights. This guy plays with great passion, has a nose for the ball and really brings the wood. Plus, I think he’s a late bloomer. He only started his junior year at N.C. State, and missed his senior year of high school football due to a car accident. I mean, how many games of football at a high level has he actually competed in. Some think he would have been a first rounder had he stayed in school. I’m not so sure about that, but the kid does have potential. He’s going to be hit or miss. Grade: C+
WR Will Franklin, Missouri - The Helicopter was the second fastest receiver in this class, and he has a ton of upside. But why wasn’t he more of a star at Mizzou? Hopefully, it’s because he played alongside so many potent receiving weapons, most notably Jeremy Maclin (’09 draft, anybody?). Hearing that he’s a good kid and an above-average blocker helps his case. So does the fact that we passed on Early Doucet in favor of him. Still, I’m not totally sold. Like Morgan, boom or bust. Grade: C+
CB Brandon Carr, Grand Valley State – Considering we got the best small-school corner not named Dominique Rogers-Cromartie in the fifth round, yeah, this pick was probably our best of the day. Good size, good speed, hard hitter, etc. What’s not to like? He absolutely dominated at the D-2 level–no receiver ever even scored on him. I think he’s a steal who ultimately got punished for where he played ball. Ron Jaworski even said that this was the guy Herm Edwards wouldn’t shut up about this morning. The other Brandon will team up with Brandon Flowers to form a solid CB tandem, possibly from Week One out. Goodbye Pat Surtain? Grade: A
T Barry Richardson, Clemson - He’s huge–6-foot-7, 330 pounds–and has been described as a big dancing bear with good feet. Personally, I prefer him to Herb “1980s NBA Goggles” Taylor. Brimming with potential. Grade: B
WR/KR Kevin Robinson, Utah State – K-Rob was one of the best kick returners in the draft, and that’s why we took him. My money is on him being our return guy in ’08 and the foreseeable future. He’s pretty dynamic in the return game, and will probably seem like Dante Hall to all of us after suffering through the Eddie Drummond era. Don’t expect much from him as a wideout, though. Grade: B
DE Brian Johnston, Gardner-Webb – He’s big and fast–6-foot-5, 280 pounds, 4.78 40—so there’s a lot to like, especially in the sixth round. Plus, this was a need. Reading his bio, he sounds like a poor man’s Jared. Hell, he even caught a touchdown last year. Played some outside backer in college, too, another sign of how athletic he is. He’s got a strong shot to make the team. Grade: Incomplete (depending on if he makes the team)
TE Michael Merritt, Central Florida - All I know about this kid is that we must have really liked him to have taken him after drafting Cottam in the third round. We’ll see if he makes the team, especially with Michael Allan still around. Grade: D (not a need)
Kansas City Chiefs Day Two Draft Grade: B+
Overall Draft Grade: A (draft’s top grade)
In 2010, this could be remembered as the draft where we really turned things around by drafting a complete class, and not just a quality first rounder. Let’s hope so.
One other post-draft note I want to point out: has anybody else thought about the possibility of us moving to the 3-4? We have four good linebackers, and Donnie Edwards can play inside; Alfonso Boone and Turk McBride would make much better 3-4 ends than 4-3 ones; Glenn Dorsey and Tank Tyler give you a great 1-2 punch inside; and Tamba Hali can handle playing in the 3-4 with his strength, technique and motor. Just a thought.
Alright, I’m off for a long-awaited vacation. I hope you enjoyed the draft and our draft coverage!