Assuming the Kansas City Chiefs lose the coin flip with the Seahawks, here’s how I imagine the first 11 picks of the 2012 NFL Draft go:
1. Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
2. Cleveland Browns (trade up): QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
3. Minnesota Vikings: OT Matt Kalil, USC
4. St. Louis Rams (trade down): WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
5. Tampa Bay Bucs: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
6. Washington Redskins: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina
8. Miami Dolphins: DT Devin Still, Penn State
9. Carolina Panthers: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
10. Buffalo Bills: OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
11. Seattle Seahawks: DE Quentin Coples, North Carolina
At this point, my big board in terms of the most talented remaining players is after the jump:
The most talented players on my big board:
1. OG David DeCastro, Stanford
2. CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
3. ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
4. OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
5. ILB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
6. DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC
7. WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
8. DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
9. C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
10. CB Alonzo Dennard, Nebraska
I look over this list, and I gotta be honest. The only players that make sense are offensive line.
DeCastro, Reiff and Konz.
I’m almost certain that, even if the Chiefs are able to trade down, their first rounder almost certainly will be offensive line.
Under these circumstances, I’d have to prefer the Chiefs go with the position with actual first-round talent, and take a player you just know Pioli knows forward and backward, OT Riley Reiff, for a position of clear need.
As we will discuss over the course of the offseason, DeCastro is the best talent on the board, and aside from Jenkins and Kuechly, it’s not even close. But the Chiefs are relatively set at guard with LG Ryan Lilja (whom I believe GM Scott Pioli is still fond of) and RG Jon Asamoah. Plus, Pioli does treasure positional value, and he’s not going to abandon that two years out of the past three (taking Eric Berry two years ago violated Pioli’s conventional wisdom on positional value).
Normally right tackle isn’t that valuable either, but LT Branden Albert is up for a new contract in 2013, so having an insurance policy in case Albert loses his mind and demands Willie Roaf money is critical.
I think this means the Chiefs draft Riley Reiff, or trade down. Assuming we let C Casey Wiegmann and RT Barry Richardson go in free agency (a move I support), the tentative line would look pretty solid:
LT: Branden Albert, Riley Reiff
LG: Ryan Lilja, Darryl Harris
C: Rodney Hudson, Darryl Harris
RG: Jon Asamoah, Darryl Harris
RT: Riley Reiff, Joe Maneri