With the NFL Draft just hours away, we are throwing around so many names for potential Kansas City Chiefs that I am starting to go cross eyed.
Through all the mock drafts, discussions, big boards and debate, I have noticed that almost all of us assume that the following positions are going to be addressed:
WR, OLB, C, T and to a lesser degree, RB, QB.
While it is an almost certainty that some of those above positions will be filled in the coming days I can almost promise you that some will not.
I think I have learned a little bit about Scott Pioli over the course of the last two drafts. I’ve learned that he is not always right. The 2009 draft is evidence of that. I’ve learned that when he does hit the mark, he can really nail it. The 2010 draft is evidence of that. For all the folks that still have reservations about the 2010 class, trust me, you can put them to bed. Did Javier Arenas, Dexter McCluster and Kendrick Lewis throw up Pro Bowl seasons as rookies?
No. I don’t know if they ever will but I can tell you that those dudes can play in the NFL. Period. No doubt. They did it.
Berry and Moeaki were homeruns.
The only players that the jury is still out on from 2010 are Sheffield, who spent the season on IR and Asamoah who didn’t really play. Make no mistake though, Berry, Moeaki, Lewis, Arenas and McCluster all have an important place on this football team.
The 2010 rookies showed us that the draft isn’t about drafting Pro Bowlers in every single round. Expectations like that are totally unreasonable but I get the feeling that many fans expect it. The truth of the matter is that sometimes the GM is going to hit and sometimes he is going to miss. The important thing is that he hits more often than he misses and that he gets football players who can stay in the league, stay on the team and contribute.
The 2010 draft class is full of contributors in many capacities. Those guys all contributed to winning football games for the Chiefs. The 2009 class? Not so much.Though if you count contributing to losing games as a contribution than Donald Washington has been a big contributor.
So what can we expect from Pioli in the 2011 draft?
The unexpected of course.
When we release the final version of our Chiefs Ultimate Mock Draft, I guarantee you that we will have addressed almost all of the positions of need for the Chiefs. The draft will probably look great but will it have been an effective draft? Only time will tell that.
Pioli knows the Chiefs need help at WR. He knows they don’t really have any depth on the offensive line and he knows Casey Weigmann is done for. He knows the team needs a NT. We know this because he tried his darnedest to sign Shaun Rodgers. In fact, the fact that Pioli went after Rodgers should give us a bit of a clue into what he thinks of the NT prospects in this draft. It doesn’t mean he won’t draft one, but we should take note.
Pioli is a smart guy and I don’t think he is going to just take any old player merely because that player plays a position that the Chiefs have a need at.
And that is where the unexpected comes in.
For example, let’s say in the second round the Chiefs are on the clock and Pioli looks at his draft board. He has no WR’s left with a second round grade. There are some available but Pioli doesn’t believe in them. In fact, no player at a position of need with a second round grade remains on the board. To fill a position of need, Pioli will either have to take a player he doesn’t believe in or reach back to get a guy that might be available in the third round.
But he does have a second round grade on a CB. So he drafts him.
Chiefs Nation goes nuts. Why would Pioli take a CB! He has Carr, Arenas and Brandon freaking Flowers!
Did Pioli make the right move? Time will tell. But at least he has made a move that makes sense to him and the preparations he did in preparing for the draft. Maybe the receiver he passed on will turn out to be a Pro Bowler. Maybe the corner will be a bust.
Then again, maybe Brandon Flowers will get seriously injured in 2011 and the CB will step up and be lights out. Maybe, as the young Chiefs players begin to develop and become starts, it will get harder and harder to pay each and every one of them. Tough decisions will need to be made. Maybe Pioli franchises Brandon Flowers and then trades him for a pick that finally delivers a Pro Bowl WR to play along side Dwayne Bowe. Maybe the Chiefs are then able to absorb the loss of a player like Flowers because Pioli took the right guy at the right time, instead of reaching for need.
Yes, this is all wild speculation. The point I am trying to make is that there is more than likely going to be a pick that the Chiefs make this weekend that seems completely mental. And it might be. But it might also be the smart money.
When the Chiefs traded back into the third round to draft Tony Moaki I thought I was losing my mind.
“Who!?” I thought. “A TE! Not another TE! We need pass rushers! ArggghhhH! JAKE O’CONNEL! REMEMBER JAKE O’CONNEL!”
Then I read about Moeaki and discovered he was injury prone. I thought Pioli had lost his touch.
A year later, Moeaki is the other player besides Eric Berry that I am most excited about from the 2010 draft. He was fantastic in his rookie season both catching the ball and run blocking. The kid has undeniable Pro Bowl talent. He was a true difference maker in 2010. He will be in the future as well.
I’m not saying that every head scratching pick that Pioli makes will turn out like the Moeaki selection. It could very well turn out like Tyson Jackson or Donald Washington.
But I am saying to expect the unexpected.
And the unexpected might not be a bad thing.