Three Scenarios And The Cat's Game

Please join me in welcoming AA’s newest Staff Writer, Ladner Morse. This is Ladner’s epic debut. We will be making more staff announcements in the coming weeks. Things won’t be finalized until after the draft if you are still waiting to hear about a submission. Welcome Ladner! -PA

Who can we say with 95% accuracy will be gone in the first 20 picks?

By figuring out who will be selected in the first 20 picks we can get a handle on who will be available to the Chiefs

 

The Spring of 2010 Scenarios

If the St. Louis Rams hadn’t selected Sam Bradford they were likely going to take Ndamukong Suh, widely believed to be the best DT to come along in a decade (maybe two). If that happens Gerald McCoy was likely to go to the Lions at #2. In that case, the selections made by Tampa Bay at #3 and Washington at #4 are less known and Eric Berry may have been chosen somewhere in the top four. As it turned out Bradford gets selected #1, Suh goes #2, McCoy goes #3 and the Redskins take Trent Williams, an OT, at #4. Last year most Chiefs fans (of those I polled) were leaning towards Rolando McClain and at the same time were led to believe, by GM Scott Pioli, that the #5 pick was much too high a pick to use on a Safety.

As it turns out the Kansas City Chiefs selected Safety Eric Berry with the number five pick in the draft and that pick for the Chiefs has been considered a big time winner.

The Spring of 2009 Scenarios

Two words. Aaron Curry. Almost every Chief’s fan under the sun, including newborn babies, were predicting with prolonged and prodigious predilection, that LB Aaron Curry would be the Chiefs’ first round pick. What actually happened is a tale we’re keeping tabs on to see if it has an enchanted ending but so far most investigations have the Tyson Jackson story listed as a mystery.

X’s and O’s of Tic Tac Toe

In my assessment of the 2009 draft, as far as the Chiefs first pick is concerned, to this point, we have played the draft game of Tic Tac Toe to a draw. It’s Tic Tac Toe because it breaks down to “if you do that, then we’ll do this but, if you do this-er-ruther then we’ll do that-err-ruther.” It’s not only like a puzzle, with pieces going here and there but, it’s also a competition of strategic maneuvers as in Tic Tac Toe. Once a slot has been taken your choices change entirely. In Tic Tac Toe, when no player is able to line up three X’s or O’s in a row then it is a tie game, a scratch game or what you call a “Cat’s Game.”

There are three outcomes with regards to a team’s first round choice: 1) they get the exact player they want to play in the position of one of their biggest needs, or 2) they select a player who does not work out for whatever reason, or 3) they select a player who doesn’t contribute right away but has unrealized potential which may take 3 to 4 years to come to fruition. It’s the third result that has many teams playing a Cat’s Game, or trying to avoid it.

Scenarios to Help Avoid the Cat’s Game

In years 2009 and 2010 the number of draft scenarios were few although I don’t recall many draft prognosticators projecting Tyson Jackson to the Chiefs at number three. In any event you can say that selecting at number three has fewer actual scenarios than picking at number 21. The question is who will be gone before the Chiefs draft? For a GM at the top of the draft the choices may be greater but the actual scenarios are fewer because in reality there are fewer prospects that are worth taking that early. For the fan the scenarios increase as the drafting number increases but in it always gets narrowed down to a few prospects that the club is really choosing from. Here we’ll look at who can be removed from drafting consideration by the Chiefs by the process of elimination. We’ll do this by exploring the different scenarios.

Although there could be a gi-normous number of trades in this year’s draft I’m not getting into the “prediction of trades” mumbo-jumbo. Here’s why. In the past ten years of first round choices, guess how many picks have changed hands out of 320 picks? 50? 60? 70? You jest. Try 117! That’s 36.6%. A trade won’t at all be out of line to garnish our newest piece of Chiefs’ meat. In an emotional off-season and even crazier year of the rabbit I would predict a high number of GM twits who will tweet to deal meat for meat. Bonne petite and c’est le vie but, predicting is not for me.

As a side note, it’s been 11 years since a prospect as high as the 2ndchoice in the draft was traded. Remember LaVar Arrington? Me neither. Point is, that with the Chiefs drafting at 21 there will be a superior likelihood of Scott Pioli trading canolli for spimolli and Scotty has a history of doing just that so you should know by now he’s got the stomach for it.

In any event, I’m not predicting trades here. The question to answer is who can we say with 95% accuracy will be gone in the first 20 picks?  By figuring out who will be selected in the first 20 picks we can get a handle on who will be available to the Chiefs. There are a few most likely scenarios. Not as many as you think.

There are 8 or 9 elite level players in this draft who can be virtually eliminated, in all scenarios, from Chiefs’ consideration (unless we trade up and, once and for all, I’m not going there). They are:

1.      Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU, 6”1”, 222

2.      Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama 6’3”, 306

3.      Von Miller, DE, Texas, A&M 6’3”, 243

4.      A.J. Green, WR, Georgia, 6’4”, 212

5.      Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn, 6’5”, 298

6.      Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clem 6’4”, 280

7.      Robert Quinn, DE, No. Car. 6’5”, 268

8.      Blaine Gabbert, QB, MO 6’5”, 235

9.      Cam Newton, QB, AU, 6’5”, 248

There are microscopically small odds of any of these prospects being around past #20 and likely not by the 10th pick of the draft. If you can buy that these players will be tied up before the Chiefs go a courting then that leaves only 11 other slots to determine before show time! Also, Offensive tackle Tyron Smith has been projected by many to go to the Cowboys at #9 so I’ll buy into that which means that someone else gets bumped.

Next, I’m looking down the list of teams drafting from 10-20 to see if there are any remaining teams that just wouldn’t pass on a specific player? Tennessee needs a high quality guard and a QB. If Gabbert is gone then they’d probably take someone like Prince Akumara. The auditions for the top two cornerbacks, Peterson and Akumara, will be over by #21. These two cornerbacks are too highly valued to be passed on. So, with Prince Akumara and Tyron Smith being projected for selection along with the elite players in this draft that leaves 9 slots to be filled from pick 12 to 20 before the Chiefs pick.

Following is a list of the prospects that could get drafted between picks 12 to 20 (only nine total picks). Following that list is three different scenarios. The scenarios include: The Best Player Available Scenario, The Offensive Tackle Scenario and the QB Scenario.

12.     Cameron Jordan, DE, 6’4”, 287, California

13.     Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama, 5’9”, 215

14.     J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin, 6’6”, 292

15.     Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue, 6’3”, 267

16.     Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College, 6’7”, 311

17.     Corey Liuget, DT, 6’2”, 298, Illinois

18.     Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri, 6’5”, 255

19.     Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida, 6’5”, 320

20.     Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin, 6’7”, 314

21.     Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa 6’4″, 285

22.     Nate Solder, OT, 6’8”, 319

23.     Jake Locker, QB, Washington, 6’3 231

24.     Derek Sherrod, OT Mississippi, 6’5”, 321

25.     Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio St 6’5 288

26.     Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA, 6’2”, 254

27.     Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor, 6’3”, 335

28.     Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple, 6’5 305

29.     Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado, 6’2”, 211

30.     Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor, 6’3”, 310

31.     Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State, 6’2”, 229

32.     Aaron Williams, CB, Texas, 6’0”, 204

33.     Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame, 6’6”, 259

34.     Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland, 6’1”, 204

35.     Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas, 6’7”, 253

36.     Justin Houston, DE, Georgia, 6’3 270

37.     Andy Dalton, QB, TCU, 6’2”, 215

38.     Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois, 6’4”, 250

39.     Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona, 6’3”, 263

40.     Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State, 6’1”, 303

41.     Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU, 6’5”, 358

42.     Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh, 6’4”, 228

 

 

Best Player Available (BPA) Scenario

If all the teams in front of the Chiefs take the BPA the list of available players, as ranked by CBS Sports, will look like this beginning at number 21:

Available Prospects in the Best Player Available Scenario

21.     Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa 6’4″, 285

22.     Nate Solder, OT, 6’8”, 319

23.     Jake Locker, QB, Washington, 6’3 231

24.     Derek Sherrod, OT Mississippi, 6’5”, 321

25.     Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio St 6’5 288

26.     Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA, 6’2”, 254

27.     Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor, 6’3”, 335

28.     Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple, 6’5 305

29.     Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado, 6’2”, 211

30.     Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor, 6’3”, 310

31.     Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State, 6’2”, 229

32.     Aaron Williams, CB, Texas, 6’0”, 204

33.     Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame, 6’6”, 259

34.     Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland, 6’1”, 204

35.     Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas, 6’7”, 253

36.     Justin Houston, DE, Georgia, 6’3 270

37.     Andy Dalton, QB, TCU, 6’2”, 215

38.     Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois, 6’4”, 250

39.     Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona, 6’3”, 263

40.     Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State, 6’1”, 303

41.     Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU, 6’5”, 358

42.     Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh, 6’4”, 228

Some of you might look at this list and say, “duh, I can just go to CBS Sports online and look down the list at the prospects beginning with the 21stprospect.” However, the players here were selected for this list based on 1) they are players likely to be selected before the Chiefs select at #21 and 2) the Chiefs may be interested in drafting them themselves. So, this is not a replica of their list. Their list was simply utilized to compile this list of players that the Chiefs could or would possibly consider.

The Offensive Tackle Scenario

The BPA scenario has 3 out of the top 5 offensive tackles in this draft class going by pick #21. Tyron Smith, Anthony Costanzo and Gabe Carimi would all be gone before the Chiefs pick. In the Offensive Tackle Scenario I’m hoping all 5 of the top 5 are gone. Why, because I’m not a big fan of any of the offensive tackles in this draft and hopefully all will be gone before the Chiefs time to select. If any of them falls to us I hope we can stir clear of them, except perhaps Tyron Smith from USC. He could be really good one day but, only as a RT.

I hope we don’t take Anthony Costanzo in any case. He looked slow at the Senior Bowl and when Boston College played North Carolina Robert Quinn made him look silly. Really silly. Nate Solder looks better and keeps his hands inside so he won’t be called for many holding calls but, he tends to stand up too tall and then can’t use his larger frame to uncoil on opposing rushers. He’s definitely not a premiere offensive tackle. His feet look pretty good but he’s not elite and I’ve seen him get beat cleanly to the inside by lesser college players.  Gabe Carimi did a good job against Cameron Heyward when #1 Ohio State played #18 Wisconsin back in October. That looked more like an NFL battle. Nice. However, you can see that Carimi likes to latch onto his man and does a good job of locking him up that way. Maybe too good. I can hear the whistle blowing and I’m not talking train station. Once Heyward leapt over Carimi to get to the ball carrier. Carimi looks like he might be an above average RT some day but I wouldn’t want him anchoring the left side for any team I like.

I don’t see an elite Left Tackle in this draft.

Tyron Smith from USC looks like the most athletic of all the offensive tackles and perhaps he could give Barry Richardson a run for his money at right tackle at some point but I’m not sure he could replace him on starting day. Good feet. Good pass protector. Good run blocker. But, nothing over the top outstanding in any category. Mike Mayock had offensive tackles ordered: Costanzo, Solder, Smith, Carimi. But, I’d place Smith at the top of that group. I’m guessing he thinks Smith’s weight isn’t what it should be to play tackle on either side and at 6’5 280 (his college weight) he might be right but he’s gained 25 lbs. since then which also makes you go hmmm. However, he looks like he could bulk up even more and has room to grow. This sets him apart from the other offensive tackles.

For the Chiefs future moving forward I’m hoping they don’t take any of these early offensive tackles prospects and either draft someone in the later rounds or sign a free agent like Ryan Harris. He’d be a wonderful two edge sword for us. Add him to our line. Subtract him from Denver’s.

Specific teams could take an offensive tackle somewhere in the teens.

At 12 Minnesota needs more than a QB including a cornerback and an offensive tackle. For the purposes of the OT Scenario they will take OTNate Solder.

Just remember each of these picks is part of a scenario.

At 13 Detroit is still Detroit for a good reason and they will really pick Anthony Costanzo because they think he will help keep QB Stafford out of the ER. Good luck with that Lion’s fans. In the OT Scenario Costanzo is the third of five.

At 17 New England has all kinds of latitude and leverage. They could trade and move up since they have another 1st round pick coming at #28. Here they could go for Gabe Carimi who is “their kind of guy” and helps to protect Tommy boy until his career is completed.

At 19 the N.Y. Giants need an Offensive Tackle, an Outside Linebacker and an Inside Linebacker. It’s very easy seeing them take OT Derek Sherrodof Mississippi. In the OT Scenario when one position begins to get picked it creates a run on that position.

If Tyron Smith and one of the others go early it could be just the impetus needed to start an OT avalanche. In that event I’m also projecting Mike Pouncey also being taken before the Chiefs select. If that happens the list of available prospects beginning at the 21st pick would look like this:

Available Prospects in the Offensive Tackle Scenario

21.     Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri, 6’5”, 255

22.     Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa 6’4″, 285

23.     Jake Locker, QB, Washington, 6’3 231

24.     Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio St 6’5 288

25.     Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA, 6’2”, 254

26.     Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor, 6’3”, 335

27.     Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple, 6’5 305

28.     Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado, 6’2”, 211

29.     Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor, 6’3”, 310

30.     Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State, 6’2”, 229

31.     Aaron Williams, CB, Texas, 6’0”, 204

32.     Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame, 6’6”, 259

33.     Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland, 6’1”, 204

34.     Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas, 6’7”, 253

35.     Justin Houston, DE, Georgia, 6’3 270

36.     Andy Dalton, QB, TCU, 6’2”, 215

37.     Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois, 6’4”, 250

38.     Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona, 6’3”, 263

39.     Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State, 6’1”, 303

40.     Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU, 6’5”, 358

41.     Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh, 6’4”, 228

The QB Scenario

In the QB Scenario four offensive tackles stay in the top 20 and teams who are desperately needing quarterbacks reach to add three that don’t appear in the BPA Scenario. Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Ryan Mallett and Andy Dalton have all shown up at one time or another in the first round of so-called “expert’s” mock drafts. If 4 offensive linemen are taken in the top 20 along with three other QBs, besides Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton the list of available prospects could really open up to a list of higher quality prospects and create some trade opportunities for other teams wanting to move up to the Chiefs spot to take a QB.

At 12 Minnesota needs a quarterback. I don’t see them getting silly and taking a young QB. But, it’s a possibility and if they do I’m guessing it’sJake Locker. In the QB scenario he’s a fit for the Vikings.

At 15 Miami was hoping to pick up a franchise QB this off-season. If the Dolphins are convinced about someone like Christian Ponder and decide they’re completely played out with Chad Henne then a QB is in order.

At 16 Jacksonville is in big need of a quarterback among other things. When you’re 27th in the league in passing yardage and 3rd in the league in rushing yardage the problem is clear enough. Beside Garrard is getting long in the tooth. It’s not out of the question to think that the Jags go for a fix at QB here and take one of the prospects available in this draft. I’ll project them to take Ryan Mallett. I’m not a fan of his but I can see he has talent and he works for our QB Scenario.

If this happens the following players will likely be available for the Chiefs when #21 rolls around.

Available Prospects in the QB Scenario

21.     J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin, 6’6”, 292

22.     Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue, 6’3”, 267

23.     Corey Liuget, DT, 6’2”, 298, Illinois

24.     Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri, 6’5”, 255

25.     Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida, 6’5”, 320

26.     Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa 6’4″, 285

27.     Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio St 6’5 288

28.     Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA, 6’2”, 254

29.     Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor, 6’3”, 335

30.     Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple, 6’5 305

31.     Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado, 6’2”, 211

32.     Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor, 6’3”, 310

33.     Aaron Williams, CB, Texas, 6’0”, 204

34.     Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame, 6’6”, 259

35.     Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland, 6’1”, 204

36.     Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas, 6’7”, 253

37.     Justin Houston, DE, Georgia, 6’3 270

38.     Andy Dalton, QB, TCU, 6’2”, 215

39.     Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois, 6’4”, 250

40.     Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona, 6’3”, 263

41.     Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State, 6’1”, 303

42.     Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU, 6’5”, 358

43.     Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh, 6’4”, 228

I have often wondered who would be available by the time the Chiefs’ pick come around. This may not tell us exactly whom the Chiefs will select but it could be useful in certain scenarios for understanding which players the Chiefs might find obtainable when the time is ripe. Hopefully the Chiefs can see who’s coming long before he gets here so that this year’s new addition doesn’t turn into a Cat’s Game.

 

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