As we’ve discussed before, this Draft will not only be the most important step of the Chiefs’ progress this offseason, it will essentially be the only step of the Chiefs’ progress this season. With no deal occuring between the players and the owners, the NFL is undergoing an uncapped year, which will in effect kill free agency: teams will be allowed to hold onto more players, and the few worthwhile players that will make the market will have 32 teams free of cap restrictions bidding on them. The less the Chiefs participate in free agency, the better.
This wreaks havoc on the rebuilding effort in Kansas City if the Chiefs blow this Draft. Everything this offseason rides on these eight picks. (Of course, knowing Scott Pioli’s pension for wheeling & dealing, it’s very likely that it’s a different number come April.)
Chatting it up with Paddy earlier today, he wanted me to keep an eye opening this evening for any news. I understand why he’d ask me, I am after all the blackest white man there is, so who better to usher in your evening on MLK day?
Paddy’s off seeing “Avatar” tonight FOR THE FIRST TIME. If you’re as alarmed as I am that he’s waited this long to see it, and if you are smart enough to agree with me that “Avatar” is like the most awesome movie since “Snatch” (which is in fact the most awesome movie of all time), then this mock is for you.
Don’t worry, there aren’t any spoilers.
My picks for the Chiefs are below, a resulting depth chart is after the jump. Use comments, as always, to tell me precisely how full of it I am.
1st round. S Eric Berry, Tennessee
I’ve already had my rant-’n'-rave as to why Eric Berry is the must-have pickup of the Draft. If there is any prayer on earth that Berry falls to us at #5 overall, no other player is worth even looking at. Berry (outside of Suh) is the most talented player in the Draft, fits a position of need, and would have the largest impact on our team.
Now, there exists a very real possibility that Eric Berry will not fall to us. If the Rams lose their mind and pick up Suh instead of solidifying their future with QB Jimmy Clausen, the Lions and the Browns would both be highly interested in upgrading their sorry pass defenses with Berry. If that’s the case, my #2 player on the big board for the Chiefs is an unconventional, controversial choice that you all will probably hate me for. I’ll be getting around to that later this week.
Most comparable “Avatar” character: Jake Sully. Berry is one-man force that can completely rejuvenate a culture.
2nd round. C J.D. Walton, Baylor
Better protection is going to be a necessity for Cassel this year, and no pick at #2 does us more good than Walton from Baylor, a player that everybody is overlooking this year but quietly crushed every defensive tackle in his wake in 2009. I may just be high on Baylor since Jason Smith went so high last year, but with his teammates getting run over all around him, Walton was a pure beast/mauler/warrior-poet in the middle.
Walton’s best strengths are his run-blocking and leadership, he reminds me a lot of Tim Grunhard because he gets absolutely nasty — almost to a personal level — with the pain he inflicts on his victims. He loves nothing more than to block for the run, which he’s elite at — it’s his pass protection that needs work. He’s not a stunning athlete but he’s one of those guys that just loves to be on the football field hurting people. Limited athletically, so we’ll see his stock fall during the Combine, but the smart teams will have him targeted as a pure 2nd rounder in a Draft that’s shallow on centers (as Drafts usually are).
Most comparable “Avatar” character: Colonel Miles Quaritch, while manning the giant metal robot. ‘Nuff said.
2nd round. OLB Eric Norwood, South Carolina
I love this pick if no team reaches for pass-rushing talent in the first, which I realize is a long shot. This is a draft that has a lot of passrushing talent, and I think the Chiefs could do well for themselves by going for elite passrushing talent early and pick up some depth with upside later. That said, Norwood has the chance to be elite. Norwood has sported an entire college career of good sack numbers, so he’s not the one-year wonder that Jerry Hughes or Sergio Kindle are. He may drop to the second because he lacks elite speed, but his ferocity in fighting off the edge will grab the attention of every team in the league.
Most comparable “Avatar” character: Trudy Chacón, the pilot. Norwood has the heart of a lion and the gunning ability of a demon.
3rd round. RB Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State
I could spend a lot of time explaining what I’ve seen from Dixon on the field and why those particular talents would be good for the Chiefs, but let me summarize by listing his measurables: 6’1″, 235 lbs, 4.5 speed. Those of you looking for the thunder to Charles’ lightning need look no further.
Hell, Dixon might even go sooner due to the lack of top-end running back talent, but his impact on this team would be unmistakable. I would expect him to go around our second pick in the second round if he has a really good Combine.
Most comparable “Avatar” character: Tsu’Tey. Dixon may not possess elite talent, but he is a classic kind of tough.
4th round. OT Ciron Black, LSU
Why is Ciron Black falling? As recently as a few weeks ago Black was regarded as a sure-fire early rounder. Now he’s being rated across the board as a midrounder. That likely means something’s up that’s worth taking a second look at, but I haven’t seen it yet. Black has been a full-time LT for the Tigers for four years. That’s honestly enough for me. I don’t see him as being quick enough to handle blind-side pass-rushers, but I wouldn’t keep it out of the question. He’d make a great right tackle and could fill in at LT in a spot.
I should mention that I’m not 100% sure what running scheme the Chiefs are gunning for this upcoming year. If they are deciding to fully commit to a zone-blocking scheme, than Black (and Walton, for that matter) is probably not what you’re looking for. But if I remember correctly, the Patriots weren’t necessarily high on zone blocking all the time when Weis ran the offense.
Most comparable “Avatar” character: the hammerhead rhinos. Black is a giganto who might actually be bulletproof.
5th round. OLB Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech
Everybody’s favorite late rounder. This is a great Draft for passrushing depth, which I consider to be much more important than virtually all inside linebackers. This team is hurting for passrushing pressure, and now that we’ve beefed up the outside of our defensive line with Dorsey, Jackson, Magee, and Gilberry, it would help to have some actual terror coming off the edges. With Hali and Norwood, the Chiefs would already have a pretty good threat on the edges. Worilds gives them a spell without sacrificing a passrushing threat, like Andy Studebaker does.
Most comparable “Avatar” character: Neytiri. Sure Worilds may not strike fear like some others do, but overlook him and you’ll occasionally find a six-foot poisonous arrow in your chest.
5th round. NT Kade Weston, Georgia
This is not a very good Draft for nose tackles (there almost never is such a thing). If the Chiefs are smart, however, they don’t sacrifice any of their eight all-important picks this year to reach for one. Take a less important Draft to reach, this Draft means everything in 2010.
But don’t think that Weston is settling for too little. Weston, while being about 330 lbs, still gets up and into the backfield better than almost every NT in this Draft class while still being a damn good block of granite in run defense. Weston’s about as NFL ready as it gets, unlike other nose tackles that have to make the transition to 3-4 punishment, Weston has weathered the trenches enough to start on Day One.
Most comparable “Avatar” character: Colonel Miles Quaritch again, but without the gigantic metal robot. Still a force to be reckoned with, but it’s not like he’s 18-feet-tall and homicidal.
5th round. NT Ekom Udofia, Stanford
I know two nose tackles in one draft is a somewhat unusual move, but after taking a known quantity and potential starter like Weston, I have little problem spending my last pick on Udofia, who I believe is a pretty talented nose who has had ankle issues throughout college.
Make no mistake, nose tackle is a need we must fill in this draft, and Weston and Udofia are ying-and-yang types that could help us fill it competently, if not outright well. Udofia’s ability to play well through pain will definitely register with Pioli and Crennel, who love players with iron resolve. The question here is what is Udofia’s ceiling? He started his collegiate career with an outstanding freshman year, but then quickly became merely above-average when his injury history began. What is he capable of?
Most comparable “Avatar” character: Norm Spellman, Sully’s unlucky avatar sidekick. You get the feeling that with a fair shot, Udofia would reward anybody who gave him the opportunity.
Depth chart after the jump. Feel free to rip me a new one in comments.
QB: Cassel, Croyle, Gutierrez
RB: Charles, Dixon, Williams, Smith
WR: Bowe, Chambers, Wade, Long, Lawrence
TE: Pope, Cottam, O’Connell
LT: Albert, Black
LG: Waters, Smith
C: Walton, Smith
RG: Brown, Alleman
RT: Black, O’Callaghan
DE: Dorsey, Magee
NT: Weston, Udofia
DE: Jackson, Gilberry
OLB: Hali, Worilds
ILB: Williams, Mays
ILB: Johnson, Belcher
OLB: Norwood, Studebaker
CB: Flowers, Carr, Leggett, Washington, Daniels
S: Berry, Page, Morgan, McGraw