You have to reach for nose tackles.

I was a participant for the fourth straight year in the best mock Draft that nobody talks about on the Chiefs-o-sphere: the Annual ChiefsPlanet Mock Draft. Annually hosted by user OnTheWarpath58 (who tirelessly works to keep things in tip top shape), it is a collection of about fifteen to seventeen people who take their responsibilities as mock owner so seriously that the quality of the mock is about as high as you’re going to find. It doesn’t have the discussion depth of the Arrowhead Pride Mock Draft, which is always a great read, but in my opinion the quality of selections are tons better, and it goes a full seven rounds, which is fantastic.

This year, OnTheWarpath58 (we call him “OTW”) commandeered the Kansas City Chiefs’s draft, replacing General Manager Scott Pioli, and here are the eight selections he made (no trades allowed):

1. S Eric Berry, Tennessee
2. OLB Jerry Hughes, Texas Christian
2. S Chad Jones, LSU
3. WR/KR Marshawn Gilyard, Cincinnati
4. TE Anthony McCoy, USC
5. C/OG Chris Scott, Tennessee
5. OLB Lindsey Witten, Connecticut
5. NT Jay Ross, East Carolina

Now I ragged on him for the Ross selection, because in my opinion Jay Ross won’t even be able to handle the nose position in the NFL. But the rest of the picks I thought were good value and actually pretty promising selections (although two safeties, good as Berry/Jones would be, is unorthodox). However, I was no fan of the Jerry Hughes selection — but only because he passed over NT Terrance Cody of Alabama to select him. Terrance Cody at 2a!

OTW explained his selection: You DO NOT draft for need. You draft for value. Then I insulted him. So he insulted me. And then we hugged it out. After all, he makes what should be the primary argument in all of NFL drafting: BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE. Which, by the way, you can hardly argue with. Even I rate Hughes higher than Cody.

But I think this rule has an exception: except for franchise quarterbacks and nose tackles. Follow me after the jump while I explain.

In the NFL right now, about half the teams by my count play a 3-4 defense that requires a nose tackle (Patriots, Browns, Chargers, Chiefs, Broncos, Cowboys, Jets, Packers, Dolphins, Cardinals, Ravens, 49ers, Bill, Steelers). Out of these teams, only the Cowboys and Jets are pretty much set at the position, everybody else is either looking for their guy or looking to replace the guy they’ve got. And in any given offseason, you’re only going to have one or two premier guys hit the market, and only four or five decent prospects come out in the Draft.

You have to reach for nose tackles, because (a.) their insanely high demand makes it likely that they’re not going to make it to where they’re truly worth, and (b.) even if they do make it to your pick, there’s a 90% chance that somebody else you might rate higher would also be available. So going by this pure equation of BPA has a legitimate exception.

All the noses are off the free agency market at this point, so that leaves the Chiefs with a desperate need for a quality nose tackle, and only three to five such candidates in the entire Draft. Which means the Chiefs need to make a reach with one of their first four selections to get this position filled.

Potential reach with our first rounder: Dan Williams, Tennessee 

Paddy has already made the case that the #5 overall might be wisely spent on Dan Williams (6’2″, 327 lbs):

If the Chiefs really want a nose tackle that can come in and start from day 1, they might have to find a way to get one in the first round because after that, all bets are off.

Truer words hath never been spoken. I would not be particularly thrilled with Dan Williams at #5 overall because I think he’s a mid-1st prospect. But then again, OT Bryan Bulaga is a mid-1st prospect and I’d rather eat a bucket of dirt than go that path. I’d much prefer a reach for a premier defensive position than to reach for a position we’ve already got filled. Ultimately, though, I think the Chiefs would be wise to reach for a nose with one of their three selections on Day Two. The #5 overall really does need to go to the BPA.

Potential reach with our first second rounder (“2a”): Terrance Cody, Alabama

I actually think this would be a value pick more than anything — although I’m sure even better values, like OLB Jerry Hughes, would also be available. But I think Terrance Cody is the best nose tackle in this entire Draft. Are you telling me a 350-380 lbs nose tackle that tore it up in the SEC isn’t going to be a ferocious lane-clogger in the NFL? I don’t need to spend any more time on this — Cody absolutely has to be our pick if he’s still around at 2a. Too bad the Chargers will have scooped him up in the 1st.

Another potential reach with our 2a pick: Cam Thomas, North Carolina

Aside from his amazing size (6’4″, 330 lbs), Thomas also sports uncommon athleticism. Thomas has looked really good in college but I think he’ll be even better in the pros given all the gagdets his athleticism will allow the defense to play with. I think he’s even a guy that can stay on the field on third down, which is usually a passing down and usually a down nose tackles sit out. Thomas is probably borderline 2nd/3rd round talent, but will likely not make it to our “2b” pick — especially if Cody’s off the board — the Bills have nothing at the position and will reach for Thomas if they have to.

Potential reach with our 2b pick: Linval Joseph, East Carolina

You might have heard his name here before you read it anywhere else, but Joseph is a really, really big fish (6’4″, 328 lbs) from East Carolina’s pond. How good, exactly, is Joseph? Well… aside from the fact that he ran the 40 in 5.08 (faster than any other nose), pumped up 29 bench reps at the Combine, and racked up 60 tackles and 3 sacks his senior season — his domination put virtually the entire East Carolina defense in this draft. (Jay Ross, CJ Wilson, Van Eskridge.) Now you tell me — is East Carolina a renouned defense factory? Or did Joseph tear stuff up? Joseph needs to be selected with our 2b if the Chargers chose not to select a nose with their first rounder — he simply wouldn’t get by them.

Potential reach with our third rounder: Torrell Troup, Central Florida

I am of the belief that this is the Chiefs’ actual intention, so long as Troup hangs around to this point. There are some mocks that dry up the NT well in the 2nd round, so Troup may not even last this long. But Troup is a character-first guy that Pioli tends to love. He’s also the unathletic big ugly (6’3″, 317 lbs) who basically just wants to hold his spot on the defensive line that Romeo Crennel tends to love. And he’s the kind of workaholic who only cares about football that Todd Haley tends to love. If Troup lasts to here, he’s going to be a reach since he’s borderline 4th round talent. But he’s going to be our reach.

There are other NTs available in this Draft, but they either don’t fit our defense or they are late rounders. Check them out here.

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