Merlin's Magic: Mock Draft Version One Edition

Mock drafts are always tricky. People love to construct mocks. It’s a fun exercise, but often they look perfect (from their perspective). Usually, this involves players that person covets falling conveniently into their laps. I am not a big one for doing mocks, but I thought I would give it my best shot. I am going to try to emulate a real draft, but I don’t have enough expertise about the other teams to be accurate. So, I am going to mock only the Chiefs’ picks. Let’s set some ground rules to try to make this a fair exercise. 1] No trades. All picks will be picked at their spots. 2] I will use the big board from DraftTek.com as the official big board. The big board does change frequently, but the slot mentioned in this article is accurate as of it’s writing. 3] Reaches will be confined to five spots above the draft slot with only a two spot reach permitted for round one. Reaches down have no limit but I will try not to reach too far, keeping with a best player available at a position of need approach. 4] No assuming free agent signings to patch holes.

In my previous article. I mentioned my five primary needs for the Chiefs. They were: NT, ILB, SS, OT/G/C and OG. With four choices in the prime first three rounds of the draft, something is going to get left out. OK, on to the picks and who I am looking at with each selection

Round one, pick #5: There are three viable choices here, Berrry, Okung and McClain. Okung is the best pick for positional value. Berry is the best player available. McClain (#8 on the big board) is my pick. A good case could be made for either Berry or Okung. Technically, Berry is out anyway. He is #2 on the big board. However, McClain has a couple of advantages. McClain was a coach on the field in college. He directed a complex NFL style 3-4 Defense. He can grow into that same level of player in the NFL. His learning curve is short, his football IQ and physical ability is high. Plus the longevity of an ILB is high. He could be the leader on defense we so badly need.

Round two, pick #36 – There are tons of great options with this pick. Players like Golden Tate, Earl Thomas and Sergio Kindle will all get lots of support and for good reason. They are fine players. My heart says Jon Asamoah, the guard from Illinois. My head says pick Terrance Cody (#36 on the big board), NT from Alabama. Personally, I am not in love with Cody. He is a two down player who plays in a phone booth and doesn’t get much of a push. However, no one makes a pile like he does and our NT position is a sieve. Cody occupies both A gaps just with his 375 lbs frame and his strength is immense. I am hoping to address this position in free agency, but per my rules, I can’t. I have to take Cody here. If I don’t, there isn’t another starting NT left in the draft and I am not comfortable with Ron Edwards starting next year. It’s not a pick that makes me happy, but that’s part of doing a good job. Sometimes you have to do what you think is right, not what you really want.

Round two, pick #51 - I just miss out on Asamoah here. He is #44 on the big board and I can’t reach that high. That’s part of any draft, you lose players you really like. There is another attractive player available. He is Maurkice Pouncey (#51 on the big board), C/G from Florida. Of all the center prospects, I like him the best. When you draft for a team, one thing to look at is teams in your division. With SD and Denver both playing 3-4 defenses, a larger center that could solo block a nose tackle is very important. Pouncey is 318 lbs and can handle a NT better than someone like Walton who is 305 lbs or Tennant who is 291 lbs. If I were the Chiefs, I would start him at left guard and move Brian Waters to center. Then, when Waters retires, we can slide Pouncey to center. This plan has a couple of advantages. It extends Waters’ career and it lets Pouncey learn the pro game without having to make all the line calls he would have to make a center. It’s a win/win and I am very happy with this pick.

Round three, pick #68 – I was hoping Darrell Stuckey would still be available here. He flew all the way up to #60 on the big board, so he is out of reach. I’ll settle for Mike Johnson (#69 on the big board), OG from Alabama, yet again. I have no love for Alabama. It’s just the way this board is falling. Johnson is a very versatile lineman and Pioli loves versatility. He could make me revise my plan about Pouncey playing left guard. I would just toss both Pouncey and Johnson at guard and let Haley and Muir sort out who plays on which side.

At the end of the traditional first day of picks, I am pretty happy. Strong safety was the position that was not filled and I can live with that. It does highlight the need for a vet FA signing in at least one of those five positions. Moving onto the second day of the draft, now I can work in my second level of needs. Those would be WR, RB and TE. If the value is there, I can even look at my tertiary needs of OLB, CB and FS. At this point in the draft, I am looking more for players rather than positions.

Round four, pick #99 – Toby Gerhart gets a look here, but I can’t pass on Jordan Shipley (#102 on the big board), WR from Texas. He shouldn’t be here and will not last past my pick. He is a very good slot receiver prospect and is the best value at this spot. He can also help out as a return guy.

Round five, pick #132 – Aaron Hernandez (#128 on the big board), TE from Florida has fallen pretty far. Hard to pass up his value here. Charlie Weiss should be pretty happy with the passing game weapons he is picking up.

Round five, pick #138 – Cameron Sheffield (#141 on the big board) OLB from Troy is the selection here. He is a small school prospect with some good pass rushing skills. I like his value here and we could use someone to pair with Tamba at OLB in passing downs.

Round five, pick #144 – Strong safety is a need I really wanted to fill earlier, but the way the board fell, it waited till this pick. Kurt Coleman (#144 on the big board), SS/CB Ohio State is my pick here. He is a bit undersized for SS, but could also play nickel back. Either way, he has a chance of helping and that’s all you can ask from a fifth round pick.

Overall impression. It has a good feel to me. I tried to do this real time and not reach far in either direction. So, it feels like a solid real draft. I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I hit the most of the major needs. The biggest disappointment was not having a strong safety I liked in the first three rounds of the draft. Also, I really wanted a running back to pair with Charles. That’s another need that just didn’t get filled. That’s what a real draft is like. The draft rarely falls perfectly for you. I was very happy to get Pouncey in the second round. Shipley and Hernandez available that late were bargains I just couldn’t pass on. What an exercise like this highlights is just how many players we are away from being a contending team. It seems pretty clear that we need a couple of free agent signings. Trading down a couple of slots from #5 would also be very helpful. We could still pick up McClain and grab another second or third round pick. It all depends on who the trading partner is and how far back we move. Pioli certainly has his work cut out for him this offseason. There are too many holes to fill on this team and not enough picks to address them all.

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