For those of you who woke up Monday morning, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed expecting for me to sprinkle you with wisdom from my mighty brain, I apologize. Here is my make-up exam. Because I know that so much of your daily life revolves around Mock Monday, so much so that even the slightest disappointments are met with the most creative insults you guys can manage (“You’re off your rocker, Crocker!!”).
Well, the kind of abuse I have to take from meanypants like you would scare off a lesser man. But I am a Mighty Blogger, and I seek validation so desperately that I will continue shoving every stupid idea I have into the blogosphere until the entire Internet loves and adores me. Which should be any day now.
Without further ado, here is every pick the Chiefs currently have (the numbers indicate the round in which they’re selecting), along with who I think the Chiefs should realistically select.
1. QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
No, this pick is not as shocking if you’ve been keeping up with our discussions around here. But that’s not to say this pick isn’t still controversial. I have run into vehement disagreement from almost all of my co-bloggersman on AA, as well as virtually every reader who has weighed in on the subject.
You need to look no farther for my reasoning than from watching this year’s Super Bowl, the lessons of which were crystallized by AA’s post of the week from Jeremy, arguing that to succeed in the NFL in 2010, you must be able to pass the ball extremely well. Read it and be a smarter person.
There’s an adage in the NFL Draft: do not pass on a franchise QB unless you already have one. I would argue that there are two potential franchise QBs in this NFL Draft, and approximately zero on the Kansas City Chiefs roster. Cassel has not yet proven himself, occasional flashes do not a champion make. And we cannot succeed without a champion under center.
Of the two QBs to consider in the 1st round, there’s Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen. I personally believe that if Bradford dropped to us, he’s not worth the #5 overall. He’s not a franchise guy — he struggled at OU when he wasn’t protected by college football’s best offensive line (plus injury concerns!). But Jimmy Clausen had a spectacular season with decent (but not great) talent around him all year at Notre Dame. 20+ TDs with single-digit INTs? That’s a wow, folks.
Pioli has several reasons to go with Clausen (provided that SS Eric Berry is off the board). The biggest reason is Charlie freakin’ Weis. This is as rare and special an opportunity as you’re going to get in the NFL — when you bring in an offensive guru to run your offense, and possibly drop his nation-leading protege into his lap in the Draft. Think about that.
The potential of that fusion is nuclear, and there’s simply no way Pioli could have foreseen the possibilities of it when he signed Cassel long-term, which gives Pioli the cover he needs to make this selection if he were so inclined.
You must have the quarterback to win. Period. And if that’s the case, hedging our bets on the position (and dangling Cassel or Clausen out as trade bait if the other QB becomes a franchise talent) might not please us in the short-term, but as the Packers have shown us, nothing pays off more in the long-run.
The rest of my selections are after the jump.
2. OLB Ricky Sapp, Clemson
I’ve said time and again that this is an outstanding Draft for passrushers, and the Chiefs should utilize it by dropping at least a pair of picks on the position. I do that here, and I’ve done so in almost every Mock Monday I’ve posted.
Sapp is a ton of fun to watch, and while everybody agrees he needs a little weight on him, he’s such a perfect fit in the 3-4 it will be fan-frickin’-tastic if he falls to the top of the 2nd round. In any typical Draft, he wouldn’t. But this year, he’s competing no fewer than five guys who I think project as great pass-rushing talent — plus teams are pensive to take 3-4 OLBs in the first round because of the lousy conversion rate.
Sapp is an outstandingly athletic passrusher whose sheer ability to turn the corner, zip around blockers, and embarrass even exaggerated pass protections is matched only by his Jared Allen-like pursuit. Like all passrushing OLBs, he needs to improve on his run defense. But the Chiefs need someone to get to the QB.
2. FS Nate Allen, South Florida
I extensively broke down the Draft’s safety talent here on AA last week. One of the most promising players who could drop the most would be Nate Allen, who I think is a great free safety prospect with top-o’-the-2nd type ability, but will drop because of the South Florida stigma. Nate Allen offers us the speed and baiting ability that we’ve been desperately needing at free safety — possibly as much as any position on this team except for center.
3. NT Terrell Troup, Central Florida
Well while I’m promoting AA’s scouting department, allow me to highlight another post where I broke down the available Draft talent at nose tackle. In that breakdown, I wrote the following about Terrell Troup: “Ladies and gentlemen, here is your Kansas City Chiefs’ third round pick.” I believe it. Everything in me tells me that Pioli loves this guy’s potential, Crennel loves this guy’s size, and and Haley loves this guy’s dedication. A work in progress, Troup lives to stuff the run, and he could be a block of granite in the middle of our line in a couple of years.
4. C Eric Olsen, Notre Dame
Hey at this point there’s not a lot to choose from, and the first four picks were of such strong value I’m not going to Draft for need. Center is going to be a tricky position to address anyway. It always is. But with Weis on board and this team’s propensity to stay within the family, Olsen makes perfect sense as a fourth rounder. He looked awfully rough at the Senior Bowl, but played very well throughout the year for the Irish. Pioli personally de-emphasized Senior Bowl performances anyway in favor of a player’s entire college career.
5. OLB Antonio Coleman, Auburn
The Chiefs decide to make the most of the deep passrushing talent. And so long as Coleman doesn’t tear up the Combine (which, considering his mediocre speed, he probably won’t), he’ll definitely be available here for a hell of a pick. Coleman is the ying to Sapp’s yang. He’s a bigger 3-4 OLB, and plays very intensely against the run. But he has stacked up a ton of sacks in his time at Auburn and had a great volume of games for the Chiefs to scout; he’s as known a quantity as you’re going to get. Coleman, unlike Sapp, does not have great athleticism, but he balances that out with a nose for the ball and good fundamentals.
5. RB Ben Tate, Auburn
YES, I KNOW. I’m becoming a homer for Tate. I love this kid, he runs so hard and looked so surprisingly great at the Senior Bowl. If he lasts ’til the 5th round I may just take him with the “5a” pick rather than this “5b” pick. Oh well. To cite Jeremy again, Jamaal Charles has major durability concerns as a full-time back. So we either need to bring in a full-time back for Charles to run with, or bring in someone like Tate and develop a great tandem of talent at the position. So long as Williams continues to develop into a decent smasher, we could have our own Earth (Williams), Wind (Charles), and Fire (Tate) before you know it.
5. OT Chris Marinelli, Stanford
I really like Marinelli, even though it’s going to take a season or two before he gets a chance. Because that’s how his entire college career played out. Redshirted as a freshman, he had to earn a starting spot eventually at right tackle and played very well for Stanford. Playing through injury as a junior, he had to earn a mention on the All-America Second Team. And this year, he filled in at left tackle in a pinch and had to earn his stripes there. If he tests well, the Chiefs are going to love this guy. And he’ll have to earn it in the NFL.
QB: Cassel, Croyle, Clausen
RB: Charles, Tate, Williams, Smith
WR: Bowe, Chambers, Wade, Long, Lawrence
TE: Pope, Cottam, O’Connell
LT: Albert, Smith
LG: Waters, Harris
C: Olsen, Smith
RG: Brown, Alleman
RT: O’Callaghan, Marinelli
DE: Dorsey, Magee
NT: Troup, Edwards
DE: Jackson, Gilberry
OLB: Hali, Coleman
ILB: Johnson, Belcher
ILB: Williams, Mays
OLB: Sapp, Studebaker
CB: Flowers, Carr, Washington, Leggett, Daniels
S: Burnett, Morgan, Page, McGraw
KR/PR: Lawrence, Charles