When I was looking at the way the big boards seemed to be shaking out leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft, I realized that the best day for the Chiefs would probably be Day Two. The reason for this is that there were multiple players at multiple need positions that seemed to be a good fit for Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs looked to have their pick of players in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. So, let’s take a look at their picks and what they bring to the Chiefs.
I’ll start with the Chiefs’ second round pick, offensive lineman Rodney Hudson from Florida State. I admit upfront that I was on the Hudson bandwagon leading up to the draft. In a draft with such a poor crop of centers, Hudson was one of the few standouts. A team captain with high character, Hudson was dominant as a lineman for the Seminoles. Then why did he fall to the Chiefs in the 2nd round?
I believe a few factors came into play. The first is that center is not a big need position for many teams. They saw other players at more urgent positions of need. The second is that Hudson is a bit undersized. He played at 282 lbs for the Seminoles. However, most teams would like him to add weight to play. Since weight is being added it does taint all the previous game film because he would be playing at a different weight. Add this to the third reason, Hudson played primarily guard at FSU, and Hudson becomes a bit of a projection to center.
In the end, there is no question that the Chiefs will get maximum effort out of Hudson. Combine that with the skill he has shown and I think the Chiefs got a good player in the 2nd round at a position of extreme need. While one draft analyst says that Hudson will be “the next Brian Waters,” I’m nowhere near as sold on him as that. That being said, if Hudson turns out to be that good, that is great news for the Chiefs. All together, I think this pick is the safest pick the Chiefs made in the Draft.
Having picked up an extra 3rd round pick by trading back on Day One, the Chiefs had many options with their first pick in the 3rd round. They decided to spend it on outside linebacker Justin Houston from Georgia. For a great deal of time Houston was a possible 1st round talent. However, it seems as though some teams became worried about his marijuana usage. There is no greater example of their source of worry than the fact that he tested positive at the Combine.
A great bit of debate was waged on the Arrowhead Addict Draft Chat about this very issue. Stemming from what was said on that chat, I feel it important to point out that whether one feels marijuana should be legalized or not, the fact that Houston tested positive is a problem. The fact that he tested positive at the Combine, essentially a multi-million dollar job interview, shows he either couldn’t control his habit enough to test clean for it or he wasn’t aware enough to think it might be a problem. Neither of which lends itself to any characteristic which is sought after by a football team.
And for those who are in the “Legalize It!” group, it should be pointed out that whether it becomes legal or not doesn’t matter now. Currently it is illegal to use recreationally. That means if Houston is caught with marijuana he could miss games. Whether for suspension or jail time, I don’t know. The sheer fact that he uses becomes another factor that could cause him to miss games. That is the biggest reason he slipped from a 1st round prospect to a 3rd round prospect.
Make no mistake, though, Houston has talent. He’ll be able to add pass rush opposite Tamba Hali in situations. He’ll also be able to spell Hali during games. Along with that, I believe Houston was drafted as a safety net. If the Chiefs are having trouble re-signing Hali to a contract, and Houston is producing, then they are able to use Houston as leverage in negotiations and even release Hali if an agreement can’t be reached. I like Hali and hope he is a Chief his entire career, but I can’t look at Houston without seeing that as a possible outcome. What it all comes down to, though, is whether Houston can stay out of trouble. If he does and listens to his coaches, then I think Houston will be a nice jewel in the Chiefs defense.
With their last pick of Day Two, the Chiefs draft an interesting player in defensive end Allen Bailey from University of Miami (FL). Physically, Bailey seems to have all the physical tools necessary to be a great defensive player in whatever way the Chiefs decide to use him. In many ways Bailey is a raw player. He needs work on his technique and has questionable instincts. The coaches should help him with his technique, but the instinct is a bit tougher. If Bailey just needs some coaching to flip on his instincts then he could develop into a starter. Without that I think Bailey may be no better than a back-up.
Either way, the pick is a pretty good one by General Manager Scott Pioli. Bailey adds depth to a defensive line that currently has 3 players most likely entering Free Agency. Whether he replaces one of those players is unknown, but worst case scenario he adds some competition. Perhaps if former first round pick Tyson Jackson has another player breathing down his neck he will step up his game. If Jackson doesn’t step it up, then I see Bailey replacing him and Pioli is able to swallow the crow of picking Jackson a little easier because he drafted Jackson’s replacement.
All told, I think that Day 2 for the Chiefs was a good day. Needs were filled, depth was added, and talented athletes were chosen. I’m able to look at each of these picks and completely believe that each was the number one player on the Chiefs’ board at that time. Even if none of these picks work out, I can’t begrudge Pioli for choosing them because they seemed to be the best choice at the time. We’ll see if that can be said for the players chosen on Day Three when I take a look at them next week. Until then sound off on the Day 2 picks below.