As much as I want to, I figured you guys probably didn’t want to listen to me rant about the CBA again this week. And since the “7 holy days” agreement is reasonably promising, it seems fair to spare the billionaire tyrants my wrath for a day.
Like many of you, I’m starting to lick my chops in anticipation of the upcoming draft. But I’m no Mel Kiper. The way I handle the draft is to become extremely attached to a handful of players based on dubious logic and snap-judgements. There are usually about ten guys I really want, and ten guys I really don’t, and we don’t pick any of them. It’s a personal roller-coaster that I have a really good time with, but I’m under no illusions that I’m actually able to accurately judge between one prospect and the next. I can get the obvious stuff right, thats about it. For expert draft coverage, go to Merlin and Adam, or as I all them, Merl Kiper and Toren McShay (right?).
Draft season always makes me think of our past drafts. I’m somewhat of a Chiefs draft historian. I might not be able to predict who we pick, but I can sure as hell remember them. Name a year, name a round, and I can tell you who we picked. A fairly worthless skill, big picture. It turns out people aren’t really interested in when Montique Sharpe and Willie Pile were drafted*. It is only during draft season, when mentally compiling charts of our previous years’ picks and tendencies, that my memorization becomes at all usefull.
*7th round 2003. We had 2 seventh rounders that year. Cha-ching!
I thought this week I’d consult my mental database and see who checks in as our best picks of the last ten years. Of course this is all subjective. But the common perception is that the Chiefs have been terrible drafters for most of the last decade. And thats true, pretty much. I’ve been saying for years you could staff a Burger King with our defensive tackle busts (Downing would be manager). But there have been some pretty great picks in there too. Here are the ten I’ve deeemed best:
10) Jarrad Page 7th round, 2006- Page’s Chiefs career ended with a whimper rather than a roar due to the ridiculous advice he was getting from his brother/agent. In the end, he got the trade he wanted (to the Patriots. Weird, right?), and he’ll probably hang around the league another few years. Page isn’t anything special, and he never really was.
Still, when a 7th round pick starts 39 games for you, he was a good pick. And Page made some memorable plays for us, usually at the expense of the Raiders. That’s got to count for something.
9) Jimmy Wilkerson 6th round, 2003- Again, not a world-beater. But again, a very late pick. The Chiefs were stupid to let Wilkerson go when they did. And to think it was to make room for the worst defensive line in NFL history. “Sorry Jimmy, I’d give you a ride, but I’ve got Tank Tyler in here….”
Wilkerson went on to record 5 sacks in 2008 and 6 in 2009. His ability to get to the QB was something some of us (Big Matt, Whitlock) recognized while he was still in KC. It’s also something we could’ve really used in 2008 when we shattered the record for least sacks in a season. Ah well, it was still a good pick.
8 ) Dwayne Bowe 1st round, 2007- Bowe was a first-round pick, so he was supposed to be good. But even first-round receivers don’t usually develop into Pro Bowlers. If we can make a playoff run in the next few years Bowe may well go down as the best receiver in Chiefs history. The rest of that draft class was garbage, but my man D-Bowe was a great pick.
7) Tamba Hali 1st round, 2006- Everything I said about Bowe, but a little more awesome. Hali has developed into one of the best pass rushers in the league. I liked the pick at the time, but if you’d told me he would develop into a 15-sack player I’d have been ecstatic. 42 sacks in his first five seasons. Tamba could retire tommorow and he still would’ve been a good pick.
Since we franchised Tamba, you can all look forward to another “Clark Hunt is cheap” article during the next round of contract negotiations.
6) Brandon Carr 5th round, 2008- Carr has played second fiddle to Brandon Flowers ever since they came into the league. He isn’t a fan favorite, and he doesn’t seem to be a Pioli favorite if we can judge by the Arenas pick. But he’s a good player and we got him at a great price. He’s a building block. A steal in the fifth round.
5) Tony Moeaki 3rd round, 2010- I know this is premature, but I couldn’t help myself. I foresee a great destiny for Moeaki. The force is strong with this one. Everybody hyped McCluster, but its our new Tony who will help our offense take that next step forward.
I know a lot of you want to see us take a receiver with our first pick, but I think Moeaki’s presence might make that unnecessary. He can be the #2 threat opposite Bowe. We definitely need depth at receiver, but we don’t necessarily need a stud. I think a second our third round pick would be a wiser move there. Someone to come up alongside Moeaki.
In any case, the trade up to get him at the end of the third was a nice move. A potentially franchise-altering move. WAR Pioli!
4) Scott Fujita 5th round, 2002- People always remember the 2002 draft for Ryan Sims. Understandable. But here we are nine years later and Scott Fujita is still starting and playing well. The guy has had a hell of a career. And he’s not done yet. Something tells me I’ll be seeing him on TV for another 3 years at least.
I felt really good about this draft class after the season. Fujita looked solid, Eddie Freeman had made four sacks, and Ryan Sims had been injured, but was not yet a bust. I thought those three would lead a defensive renaissance in Kansas City. It didn’t happen. But Fujita in the fifth was still one of the greatest steals in Chiefs draft history. Too bad we traded him for another fifth a few years later. This guy should’ve grown old here. But hey, we had to make room for Kendrell Bell (nickname Poop Scoop).
3) Brandon Flowers 2nd round, 2008- Flowers was picked high in the second round, so it might seem odd I have him so high up this list while Hali and Bowe, better players, rank much lower. And its true, Flowers at 35th might not be the third best value pick of the decade. But this pick has always had a special place in my heart. Flowers fell due to a slow 40 time. We were smart enough to see past that. After watching the Chiefs get outsmarted for years, it was nice to see us outsmart everyone else for once. In 2008, I needed that.
2) Jamaal Charles 3rd round, 2008- I remember a post-draft g-chat with Chris Thorman that year where I was complaining about some of our picks, per Big Matt usual. Thorman replied “you had to like the Charles pick though right?” and I admitted, somewhat grudgingly, that it was a good pick. Little did I know just how good it was. Our coach still doesn’t.
Best running back in the NFL in the third round? Shwing!
1) Jared Allen 4th round, 2004- Allen had a down year, if you can call it that. Only 11 sacks and three turnovers created. He has 83 sacks, 22 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries, 4 interceptions and 38 passes defensed in seven years. Remarkable totals. To get a player like that in the fourth round was a stroke of extremely good fortune. Either that or Carl Peterson was actually a draft guru and was just clownin’ with most of his other picks.
In any case, Allen is #1 on my list, no question. And even in death (being traded), he provided us new life. For from that trade Jamaal Charles was born. Circle Of Life.
What say you, Addicts? Any snubs on this list? And was Moeaki our best pick of the 2010 draft?