Who are the Chiefs going to pick? I don’t know. Neither do you (unless Scott Pioli is reading this). Whoever is chosen, the key is to get good value for the pick. So let’s talk about different ways the Chiefs could get good value for that 21 overall pick.
The first is the Scott Pioli way. Pioli has now had 2 drafts with the Chiefs and both times he picked a player from the SEC conference in the first round. Will he make it three? Last year, he showed a predilection for choosing team captains. Assuming he maintains these habits, we should be able to narrow down possible selections.
Using a top 100 players list from a well known draft analyst as a guide, I took a look to see how many players in the top 50 (since we are talking the 21st pick) were from the SEC. There are eleven players. Of the eleven, I took a look to see how many players were team captains. That number is exactly 2. The two players are both offensive linemen. They are offensive tackle Derek Sherrod from Mississippi State and offensive guard/center Mike Pouncey from Florida.
Merlin has repeatedly mentioned Sherrod as the likely pick at 21 and this seems to support it. The twist is Pouncey being the other possibility. Pouncey might be the choice if Pioli believes that he can play center. That is not a definite, however, because Pouncey struggled to make shotgun snaps earlier in the season. With center being a more urgent need for the Chiefs, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pouncey was chosen there. That being said, Sherrod does seem to be the higher rated player.
Of course, that is assuming the Chiefs aren’t able to trade back. Since Pioli previously worked for the master of the draft, Bill Belichick, one has to assume Pioli is looking to try and trade back to gain draft picks. Perhaps a potential trade partner might be Arizona who could give up their 2nd and 3rd round picks as well as trading 4th round picks for the Chiefs’ first rounder.
This leads me to my personal thoughts on the Chiefs’ first round pick. When looking at mock drafts and the value placed on the potential picks, it becomes clear that the Chiefs are in the sweet spot for offensive tackles in this draft. I’ve mentioned this previously and this doesn’t seem to have changed as the draft has approached. Our offensive line is not elite by any means and so while it may not be the most popular pick, picking an offensive tackle very well could be the best pick. While that may be the best pick, it may not be the best choice.
I believe the best choice is to trade back. What will most assist the Chiefs in trading back is the fact that about 1/3 of the league is looking for a quarterback. If the Chiefs can take advantage of this fact, then they should find a trading partner. Of course, whoever is chosen in the first 20 picks will play a huge part in being able to trade back.
Whatever ends up happening, I hope I’m able to feel good about the first pick. If the first player is good, then even if the other picks are only so-so you can say, “At least that first one was good.” But if the first pick is bad (Tyson Jackson, I’m glancing in your direction) then even if the rest are pretty good, it still seems to diminish the other picks. So embrace the unknown that is the Chiefs’ first draft pick in 2011, because right now he is a Hall of Famer. Who knows what happens when the player is actually chosen.