Merlin's Magic: Draft Board 2009

Last article, I talked about how a team goes about stacking their boards. Now it’s time to reveal my board and talk about draft day strategy. Since the Chiefs are drafting #3, I am only going to go three deep in my board. For the purposes of this discussion, I am not going to assume that any veteran player gets traded. Should that happen, I would reevaluate needs. This is the proper way of going about things. Others prefer to assume trades to aid their case for a decision they made months ago.

Without the obvious next Derrick Thomas in the draft, my board is 1] Aaron Curry 2] Eugene Monroe and 3] Jason Smith. I do project Curry as the designated pass rusher in the 4-3 Under scheme. If we transition to a pure 3-4, he could play any of the four LB positions. I gave Monroe the slight edge over Smith at OT, but you could argue it either way. Practically, I do not expect that to matter. One of those tackles should be gone before we pick at #3.

Ahead of us is Detroit and St. Louis. I expect Detroit to take either Matt Stafford or one of the top two offensive tackles. The Rams taking an offensive tackle may be the safest prediction in the entire draft. So, at #3 we should have Curry and either Stafford or an offensive tackle (Smith or Monroe) available. So, what would I do?

Trade down is my first and best option. It’s very, very hard to trade out of the top five picks. The money those contracts demand has gotten completely out of hand. What will it take to trade down? As Pioli quite correctly stated. Teams do not trade up in the draft for a pick, they trade up for a player. What player is worth trading up for? Michael Crabtree may get some interest, but the QB position is the one position that can get the most interest. Fortunately, Mark Sanchez is in the draft. Still teams have to believe that they have to move up to #3 to get him to pay the huge price in terms of picks and money. For this we need an accomplice . As luck would have it, we may have an accomplice with it’s own set of motivations. That team would be Seattle, that drafts #4.

Rumors are a dime a dozen and most of them are not to be believed. Seattle does have a need for a QB, but they also could use a OT. The Sanchez to Seattle rumor is out there. It may be true. It may be there to try to force a trade up for Sanchez, thus hoping one of the top two OT’s falls to them. It may be total garbage. Regardless, it may make our pick vital for a team that falls in love with Sanchez. Of course, many of the teams that have shown interest in Sanchez are playing it cool right now. That strategy should be pretty obvious. On draft day, the Chiefs on the clock could be a very exciting time.

Who has the ammo to move up to #3 and who has shown interest in Sanchez? Many teams could use a QB, and you can never count the Redskins out. However, Denver is the one team with the ammo and interest to acquire Sanchez. The trade I think is the fairest is for the Chiefs to trade picks #3 and #139 (5th round) to Denver for picks #12, #18 and #79 (3rd round).

Realistically, I give us a less than 50% chance of trading this pick. If we take a player, my board consists of 1] Aaron Curry 2] Eugene Monroe 3] Jason Smith. Curry is the best linebacker prospect in ten years. He has skills to be a good pass rusher and is a complete linebacker. If Curry is not available, I would take whichever offensive tackle is left. With that, Albert could move to either guard position or maybe right tackle. With any of those three players, the Chiefs would be much improved.

Are these three players the complete set of players Pioli might take at #3? No. The Pats were notorious for stacking their draft board with a list that was quite different from the scouting consensus. Don’t be too shocked if we pull someone like Tyson Jackson or Everette Brown out of left field.

I want to take some time to address a point raised time and time again by the Chubby Club. That is the idea that since Curry wasn’t asked to rush the passer in college, you can’t expect him to rush the passer in the NFL. On the surface, this sounds like a reasonable point. However, some colleges place their top athletes in a ‘centerfield’ type role to maximize their effectiveness. This appears to be the case with Aaron Curry.

I have a historical comparison for you. Many years ago, the Chiefs were looking at a safety in round one with the idea of playing him at cornerback. If Arrowhead Addict had been around then, I can just imagine what the Chubby Club would have said. ‘you can’t project him as a shutdown corner! He played freakin safety!’ ‘If he was that good at shutting receivers down, why wasn’t he asked to do that in college?’ Yes folks, the same arguments. Anyone guess the player? It was Dale Carter who was a safety for the University of Tennessee. He turned into a pretty good shutdown corner in the NFL.

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