2012 Mock Draft: September 7th Edition

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In preparation for the AA Fantasy Football mock draft here in an hour and a half, I thought I’d take some time to sketch out what a future potential draft for the Kansas City Chiefs might look like, based on what we’ve seen in the preseason.  Enjoy.
Some assumptions of the following mock:
1. Injury riddled and against a tough schedule, the Chiefs go 7-9 and finish a distant 2nd in the AFC West.
2. QB Matt Cassel had a less-than-desireable year, throwing 24 TDs to 17 INTs, ending up a whiff shy of 3,000 yards.  Not entirely his fault, however, since WR Dwayne Bowe was his only weapon until WR Johnny Baldwin came on strong late in the season, and his only protection was shoddy, particularly because OT Jared Gaither didn’t come in to replace OT Barry Richardson until Week 10 to solidify the RT position.
3. We tender ILB Jovan Belcher and K Ryan Succop. 
4. We franchise Bowe, a big deal pending a la Tamba Hali.
5. We resign to ILB Andy Studebaker and CB Brandon Flowers to multi-year deals.
6. We resign FB Le’Ron McClain, WR Jerheme Urban, TE Leonard Pope, OT Jared Gaither, ILB Brandon Siler, CB Travis Daniels, & S Jon McGraw to one-year deals.
7. We let go of the following players: RB Thomas Jones, OT Barry Richardson, C Casey Wiegmann, NT Kelly Gregg, DE Wallace Gilberry, and CB Brandon Carr.
Let the games begin.
1. DE Jared Crick, Nebraska
The most important positions on the field for Scott Pioli are: 1. quarterback, 2. all defensive line.  The Chiefs have Glenn Dorsey in his last season under contract in 2012, and Tyson Jackson is still a mystery.  Because of GM Scott Pioli’s wise emphasis on defensive line, he opts for Crick, who is poised to show this year that he can be a sturdy, disruptive force along the defensive line.
Based on the 2011 preseason, Dorsey looks awful.  If that’s the case, the Chiefs may not resign him after the 2012 season.  This is the best 3-4 prospect as of now, a guy to groom for a year, as Pioli loves to do, behind a pair of established veterans. At the very least, this is great insurance in case Dorsey picks it up and Jackson re-emerges as a weak link.

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
FB: 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

K: Succop
P: Colquitt
LS: Gafford
KR: Arenas, McCluster
PR: Arenas, McCluster

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