On Day Three of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs had five picks. Anyone chosen on this day should, generally, be considered a developmental prospect. So let’s take a look at what talent the Chiefs have to develop.
The Chiefs’ fourth round pick of defensive back Jalil Brown may not have been an exciting pick, but is a move that could show instant rewards in the coming season. The NFL is a passing league and a team can never have enough quality DBs. Brown adds depth not only at cornerback but also at the safety position. This versatility is quite possibly one of the reasons the Chiefs drafted him since it is a Scott Pioli Draft buzzword.
I think that Brown has the possibility to be a bit of a steal here in the 4th round. He’s coming out of the University of Colorado where he played the Robin to fellow CB Jimmy Smith’s Batman. Smith is a first round talent, so teams would frequently throw away from him and towards Brown instead. (Brandon Carr knows what that is like.) This fact means Brown is a bit more battle tested than, perhaps, other CBs. If he can translate that experience to the pros, then he may be ready helping the Chiefs sooner. However, for the start of the season, Brown will most likely add depth to the secondary as well as play special teams. Keep an eye on him, though, he could challenge for a starting secondary position as early as next year.
When the Chiefs picked in the bottom of the fourth round, many fans thought that quarterback Ricky Stanzi from Iowa might be the pick. They would have been happy with that pick in the 4th round which means they were plenty happy when the Chiefs managed to get him in the beginning of the fifth round. Stanzi will most likely become the immediate backup to Matt Cassel. Stanzi has been covered pretty well on Arrowhead Addict leading up to the draft, so I won’t waste too much time on him.
He’s an improvement over previous backup Brodie Croyle because, unlike Croyle at this point, Stanzi has potential. Hopefully Stanzi develops well; because the Chiefs do not want to be stuck in QB limbo like they were a few years ago before Cassel. Assuming Stanzi does develop the way the Chiefs hope he does, Stanzi can step right in (once Cassel is done with the NFL) with no loss of talent at the QB position. This is a smart pick for the Chiefs and has good value.
The same thing may not be able to be said for their second 5th round pick of defensive end Gabe Miller of Oregon State. Of the entire Chiefs’ draft, I think this was the biggest head scratcher for everyone. I know it had me scrambling to find out who Miller was. After a bit of reading it becomes very clear who they’re hoping Miller can develop into. I think the Chiefs see Miller developing into Mike Vrabel 2.0.
Miller came into Oregon State as a tight end, but was moved to defensive end later. His size lends credence to the idea that the Chiefs will stand him up and play him as a linebacker. Based on his Pro Day measurables, he seems to be a pretty good athlete. The question is his instincts and translating it to the field. The fact that he hasn’t played defense for very long, combined with his athleticism, may mean that after some coaching and experience that he good turn into a pretty good player for the Chiefs.
If the pick of Miller had fans scratching their heads, then the pick of nose tackle Jerrell Powe from Mississippi had them clapping their hands. Chiefs fans have been clamoring for a nose tackle for a while and they finally got one. The calls for the Chiefs to take Powe had been coming since their 4th round pick. Those who wanted him should feel very good about the fact that the Chiefs managed to get him two rounds later.
My guess is that he’ll start as a backup for the Chiefs’ current NT Ron Edwards and when Edwards is done then hopefully Powe will be ready to take his place. It may take some time for Powe to learn the system, though. In the end, I’m just happy to have another big body to add depth to the NT position.
With their final pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected fullback Shane Bannon from Yale. This one was a bit of a head scratcher as well, but, unlike the Miller pick in the 5th round, some unknown players are expected to be chosen in the 7th round. Reports say that the Chiefs see Bannon as a FB and with his size that could very well be right. My guess is the Chiefs are picturing Bannon throwing a block to pop running backs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones free. I think the Chiefs are figuring that in a worst case scenario Bannon would be a quality special teamer.
The key to the Day Three draft picks are for we the fans to place realistic expectations on them. If we are placing Day One or even Day Two expectations on them then we will most likely find ourselves disappointed. But if we understand that they need time to learn and adjust, and that it may take years to do so, then the only disappointment we face is that a long shot didn’t work out. If they end up being diamonds in the rough then the feeling becomes much better than if we had high expectations for them to begin with.
All together I think that this draft class for the Chiefs will be a solid one. I’m not sold that it is a great one, but I do think that this class will improve the Chiefs. How much and to what effect is still unknown, but I do know that I’m interested to find out how this class does. How about you?