The flurry of free agent activity for the Chiefs has resulted in a very significant restructuring of the draft needs. When you do the draft needs for any major website, like DraftTek.com, you have to do your best to reflect what the Scott Pioli and the Chiefs will do, not what you wish they would do. For example, I am not a fan of Brady Quinn and feel that the Chiefs have too much faith in Matt Cassel. Personally, I would see QB as a higher need than reflected here.
As I usually do, I will divide the needs into primary, secondary and tertiary needs. On DraftTek, all those tertiary needs will be elevated to secondary needs in round five. The philosophy I work under is that when you hit round five, you are looking for the best player that can help your team. I stack a lot of team needs at the tertiary level to reflect this.
Primary needs: NT, G/C, SILB
NT is really the glaring need left on this team. So, why not just list it all by itself? I could, but that would result in reaching for a need instead of grabbing the best player available across a couple of needs. So, I prefer to group a couple of needs together to give us flexibility in the draft. Also, the NT position is being devalued. Kelly Gregg played a bit over 50 percent of the snaps last year. It would not shock me to see the Chiefs sign a stop gap veteran like Aubrayo Franklin. DD’s idea of trading for Sammie Lee Hill is a good one and I endorse it.
In theory, the G/C need could be listed as a T/G/C need. Hudson can play C or G and Albert can play G or T. However the signing of Eric Winston has the effect of locking Albert in as a left tackle. Ideally, you would prefer to start a rookie tackle at right tackle, then move him to left tackle in a year or two. Signing Winston blocks a move like that. It does appear that Albert is locked in a left tackle. Hudson can still play center or guard.
Jovan Belcher does have some difficulty in pass defense. So bringing in competition for him is not a bad idea.
Secondary needs: FS, CB
Peyton Manning signing with the Broncos puts an exclamation point on this. The starting defensive backfield is fine, but there isn’t much depth behind them. With teams passing more, the Chiefs are running five or six defensive backs almost 50 percent of the snaps last year. DD and I had a week long conversation about this. We both liked the idea of re-signing Carr even though we signed Stanford Routt. Javiar Arenas is a nice slot corner/blitzer, but is unsuited to covering wide. Jalil did not impress as a rookie. Drafting a defensive back or two is a good idea. Depending on how the board falls, it would not be a shock to see the Chiefs draft a cornerback in rounds two or three. These days, you can never have enough good pass defenders.
Tertiary needs: QB, RB, WR, TE, LT, DE, OLB, WILB
This is pretty much your kitchen sink and it’s by design. In the late rounds, give me the best player that can come in and add competition.
So, where does this leave us in the Draft? When I look at the Chiefs pick in the first round, I come up with a handful of players that are viable choices. Here is my list, in order, with explanations.
1] David DeCastro G
Guard usually isn’t in the conversation for a pick this high, but DeCastro is not your usual guard prospect. There are two ‘once-in-a-decade’ talents in this draft. One is Andrew Luck, the other one is David DeCastro. DeCastro is the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson. Others on Arrowhead Addict are promoting Poe as the Chiefs’ pick. Poe is a great athlete whose tape doesn’t live up to his skills. He could work out, but he is much more of a project than DeCastro. Simply put, who would you rather have? A] A talented athlete that is a project at the next level who will play about 55 percent of the snaps or B] a once-in-a-decade player that will play 95 percent of your snaps? To me, it’s a no-brainer. You take what’s behind door B. That is DeCastro.
2] Riley Reiff T/G
He is probably not on the board, but I still think Reiff is possible, unlike Jonathan Martin. Reiff can play guard as well as tackle. However, drafting him would be a bit of a bad sign. He really is best suited to playing tackle, not guard. Drafting Reiff would be insurance against Albert leaving.
3] Luke Kuechly SILB
Kuechly’s pick would be more value than need. He is the right kind of linebacker for the Chiefs. The Chiefs rely on smart linebackers and Kuechly has that in spades. He would look very good next to Derrick Johnson and really complete the linebacker corps.
4] Trade down
At least one of the above players should be on the board, but a trade down is possible. If we trade down, the next two players come into play.
5] Dontari Poe NT
I am not in love with mid-major players with spotty tape. However, there is no denying his athletic talent. When was the last time Scott Pioli drafted a non-BCS conference player in round one? I can’t find a single one. Poe ended the season as a second-round pick and I loved him in round two. He has gradually been creeping up the boards and exploded after the Combine.
6] Peter Konz C
Konz is the top rated center in the Draft and is a fine prospect. Should the Chiefs trade down into the last teens or later, I can see this pick.
When it comes down to round one, DeCastro is my pick and I don’t even think it’s a close call. You just don’t pass on a talent like him when you have a decent need at that position.
Round two is a much more difficult round to project. I like to play a game called ‘who’s falling.’ That is, I hope a late first-round talent in a position I need falls to me in round two. You can’t count on it, but it happens. If the talent was high enough, I would even fill a tertiary need there. Coby Fleener is on the board? You have to consider him. Dont’a Hightower falls? ILBs fall a lot in the Draft. Assuming DeCastro is the first pick, I would look at guys like Janoris Jenkins (CB), Dwayne Allen (TE), Mychal Kendricks (SILB) or Markelle Martin (FS). Those players are rated right around the Chiefs pick in round two.
Round three is where I see the Chiefs possibly going NT. The NT position is being devalued right now. Players like Alameda Ta’amu, Hebron Fangupo, Nicolas Jean-Baptise and Josh Chapman could be drafted in rounds three or four. I do think bringing in a vet NT is the most likely path, but if we draft a NT, that grouping is where I see the Chiefs going.
OK, Addicts, that’s my take. What is yours? What group of players do you see the Chiefs looking at in round one? Who would you take? Who do you think the Chiefs are likely to take?