Nick Athan of Warpaint Illustrated is an important voice in the Chiefs blogosphere, one worth listening to because of the quality work his Warpaint Illustrated churns out, as well as the access that Athan gets from time to time. Athan, like all Chiefs reporters, has received less and less access during the Pioli era, but every year churns out a mock draft that is worth reading and dissecting.
His mocks are usually the boldest you’ll find (last year I applauded “Bravo, you crazy bastard”), and this year is no exception.
While he may not have a ton of ridiculous trading options in his annual mock like he did in 2010, this time he misfires by committing an even more risable offense: he misses the entire point of “the Right 53″ and Pioli’s regime.
Athan’s mock, and a critique from yours truly, after the jump:
The following is what Nick Athan has mocked to the Chiefs for 2011:
1. OG/C Mike Pouncey, Florida
2. NT Kendrick Ellis, Hampton
3. OLB Chris Carter, Toledo
4. QB Pat Devlin, Delaware
5. C Tim Barnes, Missouri
5. RB Roy Helu, Jr., Nebraska
6. OLB Sam Acho, Texas
7. WR DeAndre Brown, Southern Mississippi
Now… there’s quite a bit to digest here, so let me spell out in quick fashion the few things that I do like about this mock:
- (I first want to encourage you to read the whole piece. Athan is a good writer and explains each pick thoroughly.)
- Acho in the 6th is unrealistic, but would be a bargain if we could swipe him up.
- Good 5th round selections.
- I like double-dipping at OLB. Anything to flesh out that front seven.
- Pouncey’s not a terrible selection at #21, but remember Athan does have a Pouncey fetish (he mocked Maurkice to us last year).
But what did I dislike?
Several things, but none more unforgivable than this: Nick has forgotten the basic philsophy of Pioli. Character matters on the field as much as it matters off the field, and that a group of good, smart citizens that are dedicated and overachieve is preferable than a more physically gifted gang that has a spottier track record.
So with that, Nick selects Kendrick Ellis in the 2nd (who has a notorious issue with work ethic and a wildly inconsistent motor), Pat Devlin in the 4th (Devlin has done nothing but disappoint teams all Draft season, most notably showing up to his own Pro Day thirty minutes late), and DeAndre Brown in the 7th (take all your concerns about Kendrick Ellis and multiply them ten times).
These players are not the Right 53, they are careless rolls of the dice by somebody who gambles on the idea that these players will find a serious side to themselves once we’ve lined their pockets with millions of dollars. And while you probably couldn’t complain about them in terms of talent (although Devlin, at this point, will be lucky to be drafted), there’s zero guarantee because of the way these players carry themselves that this talent will translate and grow in the big league.
That’s why character matters, and why it’s Item Number One, Two, and Three on Pioli’s criteria in future Kansas City Chiefs.
To know a team is to know how they draft. And while we’re still completely in the dark about who Pioli will select, we will easily be able to target why he’ll have made the selections he will.