Chiefs First Round Draft Strategy

The Chiefs are in the home stretch and it’s time to talk about some draft strategy. It’s been awhile since the Chiefs have drafted in the twenties. How will the Chiefs handle the draft unfolding? Will they trade up or trade down? I am going to try to step into Scott Pioli’s shoes and take a shot at it.

First, let’s take a refresher on the needs. I have the Chiefs primary needs as: C, WR, NT, in no particular order. Secondary needs are RB, OT, SOLB. The Giants then Tampa pick before the Chiefs, with the Colts following the Chiefs pick. It is important to be aware of the needs of teams picking around you. This is especially true when you are talking about trading picks.

When you look at the draft board, it’s quite apparent that the Chiefs have a bit of a problem. Of the players likely to be around at #21, there isn’t a player at a primary need position that is good value at #21. Yes Addicts, I can hear the folks on the Taylor train complaining. Let’s take a detour and talk about why Phil Taylor has a second round grade on Draft Tek and why I agree with that and don’t see the value for him at #21.

First of all, let’s concede a few things. Phil Taylor has a great combination of size, speed and agility. Yes, he showed very well at the Senior Bowl and the Combine. Scott Pioli is driven more by game tape than Senior Bowl and Combine showings. So, the 335 lbs Taylor that showed at those venues is not the player than the Chiefs are evaluating. Instead, we are looking at the 355 lbs Taylor that played at Baylor. That Taylor showed some skills. However, he was out of shape. He could not play more than a few plays before having to come out of the game. That Taylor weighed as much as 385 lbs. He plays with his pad level too high. If you watch the TCU game, Jake Kirkpatrick owned Taylor despite giving up around 50 lbs to him. Taylor is a big boom or bust prospect. You either hit big with him, or he eats himself out of the league. When a player drops so much weight after the season to position himself as a draft pick, I question his dedication to the game. To me, it looks like Taylor wants to get paid. I appreciate that, let someone else pay him. I would rather draft a prospect who has a track record of dedication to the game. That is why I don’t want Phil Taylor in round one.

Ideally, when you draft in the 20′s you would like to have five to six players you like that are reasonably projected to be drafted around there. Unfortunately, I can only come up with two players that have value at #21. Derrek Sherrod and Gabe Carimi. That’s it and that list is too short. I have Sherrod rated higher than Carimi. I know lots of fans have that reversed. Folks look at Carimi’s nasty attitude and prefer him over Sherrod. Usually, I would agree. I have a strong preference for lineman with nasty attitudes. The reason I have Sherrod listed above Carimi is positional value. Sherrod’s best position is left tackle. Carimi’s best position is right tackle. The players carry similar grades, and left tackle is more important than right tackle. Therefore Sherrod over Carimi. If Sherrod is off the board, I would be happy with Carimi.

Projections are just that, projections. As the draft unfolds, I will be keeping an eye on three players that are expected to be gone by #21. Those players are: Tyron Smith, Anthony Castonzo and Ryan Kerrigan. If any of those players are available, they would trump Sherrod and Carimi. I would be Scott Pioli has been working the phones, gauging trade interest and value. However, we need to keep in mind the Giants and Colts. Either team, or both could go OT in round one. We need to keep that in mind when discussing trades. With all that in mind, here would be my basic strategy.

1] If Smith, Castonzo or Kerrigan are there at #21, I am very tempted to take them, but open to a trade down, staying in the 20′s. This assumes that either Sherrod or Carimi or both are still available. A trade would probably net a third round pick.

2] If those three are gone and only Sherrod or Carimi are available, I select the remaining player. With the Colts picking next, I don’t want to risk losing Sherrod or Carimi

3] If none of the five players discussed are available, I am desperate to trade down. This is pretty much a disaster scenario. I would try to get out of the first round and into the high second round at that point, targeting players like Stefen Wizniewski.

OK, let’s anticipate a few more questions. Why don’t you like X at #21. Mike Pouncey? Not a center, but a very good guard prospect. Aldon Smith? Probably not there when we pick. He is more of a pass rusher, not really a SOLB prospect. Akeem Ayers? Excellent fit, round two value. He is not consistent enough.

Well Addicts, that’s my draft day strategy. Who is on your short list? Do you want to trade down? Who can you get when you trade down?

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Tags: 2011 NFL Draft Kanas City Chiefs Scott Pioli