Well, although he’s not the most eloquent guy, he puts up some impressive tape, appearing to have animal-like reflexes to jump up and snatch balls two-to-three feet above the heads of D-backs. I know I’m not the only one on this site already contemplating the angles for future columns involving AFC West matchups in size and speed with this guy, and that is fun for everyone. So here we go.
Why this pick is brilliant: First of all, you have to take in the trade loot as part of the pick. Getting Cleveland’s very high 3rd-round selection is great, and if that picks translates into a starter on the O-line, D-line or linebacking corps, then the total package is a big, big WIN (i.e. tiger blood). Haley has proven that he is a very good diva whisperer when it comes to wide receivers and there is good reason to believe this guy can tough love the ego out of this kid and make him into a star (see Bowe, Boldin, Fitzgerald, etc.). Plus, I don’t see there being much pressure to make Baldwin take on a heavy load from day one. The 2010 Chiefs were still incredibly effective with the mixture of throws to Bowe, Moeaki, McCluster and Charles — Baldwin can start out as a complimentary piece. But, if this guy can really turn it on after a year or two in the league, the Chiefs’ passing attack will be special. Hands down.
Why I am still worried like hell: Passing attack galore — wonderful! But it fails to address the team needs that I feel kept them out of games last year. Take the playoff loss to Baltimore as a model. Against an elite defensive front seven, the Chief’s O-line could barely slow down the pass rush and didn’t open a single hole for Charles from the 1st quarter on. It was a massacre in the trenches, and guess what, you’re going to be facing elite defenses in the playoffs every year — and in particular in the 2011 regular season. Meanwhile the Chiefs have been unable to stop the run and get their defense off the field when trailing late in games, which is why they lost so many close games last year. These are the two weaknesses every team needs to address to be a contender. Thus, in order for this 2011 Draft to be considered a success, the Chiefs need end up with at least one upgrade on the offensive line and a new starter at either OLB or NT.
On that point, I am certain I am more than confident.