Take Risk Off The Table

Any players that you might consider “risky” are not high on Pioli’s list of priorities, according to magnificent bastard Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride:

“By nature, I’m not much of a risk-taker,” he said. “There’s people who have been very successful being risk-takers. Personally, that’s not part of my make-up.”

“By nature, I’m not much of a risk-taker,” he said. “There’s people who have been very successful being risk-takers. Personally, that’s not part of my make-up.”


So let’s talk turkey, folks: which players rumored to be atop the Chiefs’ draft board are riskier prospects, and therefore are likely devalued, and which players are less risky, and therefore are more likely to be valued?

Here’s my take. Feel free to give me yours. (Note: I will not include Bradford, Suh, McCoy, and Okung in my calculations, as they are 99% likely to be gone by the #5 overall.) In order, after the jump:

Less Risky:

1. OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa – As much as I hate the pick, I think Bryn Bulaga is the least risky pick at the Chiefs #5 selection. Bulaga has great intangibles, and it’s possible that some of his skills could translate to him being a more consistent LT than Branden Albert has been (although in my opinion, Albert is now used to the Haley offensive line scheme and will be just fine at LT in 2010). If that’s the case, then the Chiefs can move Albert to the right side (unlikely) or try him out inside at guard (much more likely), giving the Chiefs a sudden wealth at the position with Brian Waters and Ryan Lilja in the mix. If Bulaga doesn’t mix in at LT, Albert can man the position just fine, and Bulaga can shift to the right side where he belongs — starting day OL: Albert, Waters, Wiegmann, Lilja, Bulaga.

2. OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma – Trent Williams is a sleeper pick at the Chiefs at #5 overall. I’d much prefer us selecting him (or just about anybody) over Bulaga, because Trent Williams is actually elite left tackle material. His athleticism is ridiculous, and his roof is very, very high. I believe Williams can be incredibly special in the NFL. It would be certain that Williams would replace Albert on the left side. If he somehow doesn’t, Williams excelled at center as well, giving him a fallback position in case he doesn’t thrive at guard.

3. QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame I know, you guys hate it when I bring him up. But solidifying your QB position (by far the most important in the NFL), pushing Cassel to be even better, and ensuring that if Cassel doesn’t pan out, we’ve got the personally-groomed protege of our offensive coordinator ready to take the helm. You may or may not like the pick (although I freaking love it), but it is a very safe selection at the most important position.

4. S Eric Berry, Tennessee – Berry is low on this list because there is a little bit of risk here. Don’t get me wrong, Eric Berry has precisely zero red flags. But the same cannot be said for Top Ten safeties. Safeties, as has been argued before by people much smarter than me, are big injury risks. Especially potential strong safety types like Berry. Buyer beware.

5. NT Terrance Cody, Alabama – An unconventional and unwise pick at the #5 overall, I’d still put Terrance Cody’s chances to succeed in the NFL at around 99%. Cody’s role in the Romeo Crennel defense wouldn’t overreach his limited athleticism; the Chiefs ask their nose tackles to essentially hold their ground, and little else. Cody at #5 might not be the best use of a Top Ten pick, but it would guarantee to solidify the interior of our line for a long, long time.

More Risky:

1. S Taylor Mays, USC — Yes, the guy I’m high on. I don’t pretend that he’s not a risky pick, though. I also don’t pretend that Pioli and I have the same taste in players. Mays can cover vast parts of the field and free up the rest of your back seven. He also will need a significant amount of grooming time and has spoiled many on-the-field chances during draft season at places like the Senior Bowl. Would be a blast to see him in a Chiefs uniform, though.

2. ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama – I’ve already explained my hesitations with McClain:

McClain possesses the intangibles to be a great on-field leader. But his coverage is completely suspect. We’re not talking about the bolting speed of Aaron Curry here. We’re not even talking about Jared Mayo. We’re talking about a downright slow linebacker. In third and short situations, his great size and ferocity will work out great. But in third and long… speedy slot receivers, faster backs out of the backfield, and the more adept tight ends will very likely have their way with him. This makes McClain a two-down player.

At a devalued position line inside linebacker, I think he is way too risky given his lack of speed.

3. NT Dan Williams, Tennessee – Paddy has been aggressively making the case for Dan Williams, almost as aggressively as I’ve favored Clausen. But he looks, to me, like the classic example of a draft season workout warrior. When Williams was actually on the field, playing for Tennessee, he was in the discussion as a 3th and 4th round pick. This draft season we’ve seen him rocket up to a sure-fire second-day pick, a high-second round pick, a first round pick, and he now flirts with a Top Ten selection.

4. RB CJ Spiller, ClemsonAnother guy I’d love to see the Chiefs take, but Spiller is a smaller back and while I think he’s an even better prospect than Darren McFadden (hell I’d put him on par with Reggie Bush), I think he’s going to fall simply because running back is a devalued position, and smaller running backs especially struggle. I think Spiller is a gamebreaker and will be one of the best players to come out of this Draft for a decade, but any running back is a magnet for pain and injuries, and Spiller’s no exception.

5. CB Joe Haden, Florida – With cornerback depth being a major need for this team, but cornerback starters not so much, Haden wouldn’t immediately provide us with much improvement (although a Flowers-Haden tandem with Carr backing up would be wicked). Haden’s major problem is that he’s either a speed risk or an injury risk. His 40 time at the Combine was pathetic for a prospective 1st round pick, but there was whispering that it was the result of a back injury. That’s fine and dandy, but you’re either welcoming a slow corner or literally damaged goods by taking this guy.

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