Every year, no matter how well the Kansas City Chiefs’ original first rounder is placed in the draft order, fans always seem to want to team to trade down. And every year, the sensible thing to do is to stand against this tidal wave of opinion. There’s a certain logic to the greed of wanting as many players as possible, and trading down certainly accomplishes that. But while quantity builds good teams, quality builds championships. And taking advantage of the team’s draft placement is crucial every single year, and the Chiefs have been right to resist most efforts to trade down in lieu of some great talent that’s on the board.
But I’m afraid this year will prove to be the exception. And it should be. As we’ve discussed, however, the #12 overall selection leaves us with a series of iffy choices between great players (Richardson and DeCastro) at extremely devalued positions and decent players (Poe and Reiff) at the most important positions.
Let’s tinker with the notion of trading down. Because I think you’ll agree that even if we find a way to slide down at least a few draft spots, the team’s situation drastically improves.
Assume Pioli is able to work out a trade down for a third-round pick. Now, that may not sound like much compared to last year, but last year’s third rounder that we received in the 20s was twice the value of what the draft value chart assumes it would be.
So let’s take the approach that if we score a trade down, it will be for something more realistic. I don’t think anybody would break the bank for our position in the draft, but we’re always wrong, aren’t we? So I’m assuming somebody trades up from something like #16 (the Jets) to get to our pick. That would net us a second third rounder, much like 2011.
(For future reference: to score an additional second-rounder, we would need a team around the 22nd overall spot to trade up.)
With that in mind, here’s how the draft could play out in that scenario:
1. Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
2. St. Louis Rams: OT Matt Kalil, USC
3. Minnesota Vikings: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
4. Cleveland Browns: QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
5. Tampa Bay Bucs: WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
6. Washington Redskins: QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Quentin Coples, North Carolina
8. Miami Dolphins: OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
9. Carolina Panthers: CB Alonzo Dennard, Nebraska
10. Buffalo Bills: OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
11. Seattle Seahawks: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
12. New York Jets: WR Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina
13. Arizona Cardinals: OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
14. Dallas Cowboys: OG David DeCastro, Stanford
15. Philadelphia Eagles: ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
16. Kansas City Chiefs:
At this point, this would be my tentative big board:
1. DE/DT Devon Still, Penn State
2. CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
3. CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
4. ILB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
5. DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC
6. WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
7. C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
8. DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
9. WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
10. NT Dontari Poe, Memphis
What this proves, above all else, is that a simple trade down of about four spots drastically improves the Chiefs’ options and value. In the middle of the round, the Chiefs can go in any number of exciting, valuable directions.
First off, the Chiefs aren’t going to take any problem children after dealing with 2011 first round WR Jonathan Baldwin this past season. So that leaves out both of the crazy corners at the top of the board with their various criminal charges. The Chiefs are also not going to take players that don’t fit our defense, or play a position we’re basically 100 percent set at for 2012, which excludes Devon Still.
After that, it’s all fair game. And this is where it gets fun.
They could opt to go with Hightower, which would give the Chiefs one of the most lethal LB corps in the league.
They could opt to continue bolstering their receiving corps. Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, and Baldwin are a good trio of receivers, but none of them provide the one-dimensional deep threat of Baylor’s Kendall Wright as of yet. (Michael Floyd is also a solid receiver, but he doesn’t really provide the team anything they don’t already have.)
They could bolster their pass rushing corps as well. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are great but it’s extremely hard to pass on insane talent like Perry or Mercilus. Perry in particular, for my money.
They could solidify their center position for the next 12 years with Konz, sliding Rodney Hudson over to guard and, assuming they draft a right tackle later on, give them a fantastic offensive line.
And of course, they could make the perhaps-necessary reach for a potentially elite, 350-pound nose tackle to maybe take this defense to the next level.
If it were up to me, I’d take Poe or Perry, with my ultimate preference being Perry. Perry is just unbelievably talented and fast for his size, and if we are truly ready to make a Super Bowl run here in a year or two, we’re screwed if Hali or Houston go down. Perry provides us a third threat and gives HC Romeo Crennel the ability to cook up all kinds of crazy packages. Poe may be a reach, and I reserve the right to demote him if he sucks at the Combine. But if he measures out, he could at the very least finish off this defense.
I think GM Scott Pioli would prefer Konz. He said a couple weeks ago that the offensive line needed an upgrade, and there are no tackles worthy of a first mid-rounder left. Pioli also attempted to trade up for Mike Pouncey last year.
Does trading down make sense to you? Who would you like the Chiefs to take at #16 overall?