The Combine for me doesn’t make a player, but it can sure kill a player. Learning that Taylor Mays is fast in shorts, or that Trent Williams can do a cones drill effectively, or that Dan LeFevour throws good in short- and intermediate-distances, doesn’t particularly change my opinion of them unless it’s something downright silly amazing.
Some silly amazing performances at the Combine include:
- OT Russell Okung (Oklahoma State) outlifting every tackle in the field with the longest arms.
- OT Bruce Campbell (Maryland) is ridiculous on every level.
- RB Ben Tate (Auburn), Ben Tate, Ben Tate. Just, wow.
- RB CJ Spiller (Clemson) has unbeatable speed for a guy as talented as he is. He is Top 5 talent.
- NT Linval Joseph’s (East Carolina) size/speed/strength has justified my belief that he’s a sleeper. I’ve said this more than once.
- ILB Daryl Washington (TCU) is faster than a lot of the running backs in this Draft…
- TE(?) Dorin Dickerson (Pitt) is puny for a tight end at 6’1″, 220 lbs. But a 4.40 forty-yard dash makes him very interesting.
- And yeah, okay, despite my concerns, WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame) is a first-rounder.
Other than that, there’s not much going on here that moves folks up the boards here. And players from bigger programs realize that as a result, they can only hurt themselves. So the Combine is becoming more and more about small school prospects trying to show their chops than it is a free-for-all talent show where we get to learn more about all kinds of players.
The Combine dashes far more hopes than it helps.
But because some players had the stones to step up to the plate and try to prove themselves (and did themselves well by doing so), eight of them have become honorary Kansas City Chiefs for this mock.
Enjoy it, after the jump.
1. OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State
As things settle in, it is increasingly looking like the #5 pick will be a decision between Okung and S Eric Berry from Tennessee (first four picks in order: Bradford, Suh, McCoy, and Clausen). This pick makes Pioli a ton of friends with the “casual” fanbase, the football pundits, and more conservative Chiefs fans that pine for the Chiefs of the past two decades. The hardcore base and more ambitious fans, if the Chiefs blogosphere is any indication, would adore him for taking the chance on the playmaking defensive-captain-in-waiting Eric Berry. I of course count myself among the latter.
The problem is this Combine. Eric Berry still has some wheels to show off, and I’m sure Pioli will be watching to a certain extent, but it doesn’t really matter. Despite his outrageous track record on the field, Berry is going to be out-footraced by some, and out muscled by others. Okung, on the other hand, was just beastly — he had a good (not great) 40 and destroyed the weights. Pioli is a trenches guy first, second, and third. I don’t think it will be possible for him to pass on Okung. Bastard.
2. WR Damian Williams, USC
Williams actually had a pretty perfunctory day at the Combine. I think he may actually be a threat to fall to the second round, now. Not because of him, of course, but because Golden Tate and Arrelious Benn had phenomenal days, and now this Dorin Dickerson kid from Pitt looks like a player, too. The competition for Williams, a polished route-runner with great hands, just got a lot tighter. If he falls to the second, he could be desperately needed help for Cassel downfield.
2. RB Ben Tate, Auburn
You’ll notice that the first three picks of this mock are aimed at giving Cassel every chance possible to succeed. In the past I’ve become sold that this would be a great Draft to beef up the defense early, but there is some golden talent here in a round or two.
That said, my love affair with Tate has officially gone clinical. I loved watching this big-bodied tough runner at the Senior Bowl, and he blew the #&$*ing doors off the Combine. 220 lbs and he runs a 4.45!? And he runs that tough!? Are you kidding me!?
3. NT Linval Joseph, East Carolina
Another guy I’ve liked a ton has been Linval Joseph. I like him so much that I’m officially declaring a boycott of the Chiefs from even considering Joseph’s East Carolina teammates: DT Jay Ross and DE CJ Wilson. It is clear now with Linval’s amazing talent that they clearly fed off of him.
4. OLB Dexter Davis, Arizona State
Davis is a speed demon off the edge, putting up plenty of reps but even more importantly pulling off a 40 in the mid-4.5s. Davis had great production in the Pac-10 but is getting overlooked because the elite passrushers in this class look great in shorts. Davis did great at the Combine but he has a consistent career of putting up numbers at A State. Measurables and production, a great midround selection if there ever was one.
5. C Jeff Byers, USC
Byers is another Trojan that fills a position of need. None of the centers really turned heads this year, so I think Pioli passes on Maurkice Pouncey and continues his overall trend of going interior OL in the midrounds. Byers, like his teammate Charles Brown, is a master technician at the position and schooled heavily in a Charlie Weis-style offense. He is two years removed from any injury concerns and has done nothing but improved the past two years. Byers is the rare “safe pick” that still has a high ceiling.
5. OLB Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Washington
I fear one-year wonders when it comes to passrushers. I like somebody with a consistent career, which shows that his opponents over the years had ample time to break down his tape and study him, and still couldn’t stop him. That describes the unheralded-but-talented Te’o-Nesheim. I can’t pronounce his name but I sure can say wow at a lot of his tape. Unlike speedster Dexter Davis, Te’o-Nesheim is a bigger, more powerful passrusher who is an ideal 3-4 OLB on the strong side. I’d like to see more of his coverage, but his size and strength is prototypical.
5. QB John Skelton, Fordham
A pure physical specimen that is about as raw as you can possibly get. Pioli likes a good physique in his late-round quarterbacks that he always likes to pick up. But he also likes character and personal strength — two areas I can’t attest to in Skelton one way or the other. I just know the dude’s big, has a good arm, and a ton of interest after weighing in at the Combine.
The depth chart:
QB: Cassel, Croyle, Skelton
RB: Charles, Tate, Williams, Smith
WR: Bowe, Chambers, Williams, Wade, Lawrence
TE: Pope, Cottam, O’Connell
LT: Okung, Albert
LG: Waters, Harris
C: Byers, Smith
RG: Brown, Alleman
RT: Albert, O’Callaghan
DE: Dorsey, Magee
NT: Joseph, Edwards
DE: Jackson, Gilberry
OLB: Hali, Davis
ILB: Johnson, Mays
ILB: Williams, Belcher
OLB: Te’o-Nesheim, Studebaker
CB: Flowers, Carr, Leggett, Washington, Daniels
S: Page, Morgan, Brown, McGraw