Our second through seventh round, after the jump.
2. CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia
The Chiefs in this scenario let Brandon Carr go for whatever reason; my theory is that Pioli simply doesn’t like paying big money to two corners. So he takes advantage of the sick value at CB that’s going to wreck big boards in 2012. Minnifield’s size and ability would make him a first rounder most years. This year, he could be like the 7th off the board.
3. RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Steve Maneri was a brilliant pick up by Scott Pioli. Maneri has showed extremely well for the Patriots in the preseason, and was one of those releases that talented teams like that Patriots have to make. Set already with Matt Light, Sebastian Vollmer, and Nate Solder, there was simply no room for Maneri on their roster. He is a former tight end who is a little lighter and an absolute force in the run game. Expect the Chiefs to keep Jared Gaither on tap as a reserve swing tackle, but they will bring in Maneri ten times a game for imbalanced lines.
I bring that up because, assuming (as I did) that the Chiefs bring in Jared Gaither for one more year, they will be set for a year with Maneri as a swing tackle. So it frees me from having to draft a tackle. Instead, I opt for a powerful, amazing runner in Ball. Ball looked like a first-round prospect towards the end of 2010, so it’s possible he shoots up draft boards soon.
4. NT John Jenkins, Georgia
Jenkins will have played in the Georgia defense for a year after tearing sh*t up in junior college. If he performs admirably, he might take advantage of the thin NT crop and enter the draft. His early returns, however, haven’t been terribly stellar as Boise State just got done running all over him and the Georgia defense. But nonetheless, Jenkins is 350 pounds and the Georgia scheme is the KC scheme.
5. WR Marvin Jones, California
Jones is like a poor man’s Jordy Nelson. He’s not particularly fast, nor particularly huge, but he’s got a decent size-speed combination, he’s a reliable route-runner with reliable hands. Everybody’s always looking for the Next Big Thing at WR; Pioli is just looking for solid depth.
6. OG/C Moe Petrus, Connecticut
Versatile interior lineman is a great fit for the zone blocking system run in Kansas City. The Chiefs don’t have a need at any of the interior positions, since they’re likely rolling with a Ryan Lilja, Rodney Hudson, and Jon Asamoah combination along the inside of the line. But unless they finally have faith in Darryl Harris, they’ll give him some competition to shore up the depth there with Petrus.
7. S Janzen Jackson, Tennessee
Jackson has a ton of character issues but don’t be surprised if this elite talent is a Chiefs pick late in the draft. Few teams will want to mess with him, but if Eric Berry gives him a glowing endorsement to Pioli and says something to the effect of “I’ll take him under my wing.” Pioli sees no harm in a troubled 7th rounder with gigantic upside, and takes a flyer.
Roster projection, sans free agents:
QB: Cassel, Stanzi, Palko
RB: Charles, Ball, McCluster, McClain
WR: Bowe, Baldwin, Breaston, Jones, McCluster, Copper
TE: Moeaki, Pope, O’Connell
LT: Albert, Maneri
LG: Lilja, Harris
C: Hudson, Petrus
RG: Asamoah, Harris
RT: Gaither, Maneri
DE: Dorsey, Crick
NT: Powe, Jenkins
DE: Jackson, Bailey
OLB: Hali, Sheffield
ILB: Belcher, Siler
ILB: Johnson, Williams
OLB: Houston, Studebaker
CB: Flowers, Minnifield, Arenas, Brown, Daniels
S: Berry, Lewis, McGraw, Jackson
KR: Arenas, McCluster
PR: Arenas, McCluster