It’s time for me to get off of my Poe soapbox.
I have loved the discussion we have been having on this site in articles and the comments section, but – and this is not an admission of defeat to the DeCastroites out there, but – I no longer think drafting DT/NT Dontari Poe at #11 is the best option.
The reason? I now don’t think the Chiefs should draft anyone at 11th overall.
Head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli have finally come out and begun discussing the generalities of their draft philosophy. And, while it could all very well turn out to be a total smoke screen, Crennel has developed a reputation of being candid when speaking publicly. When he took over as interim head coach, he immediately said that someone (anyone) not named Tyler Palko who could throw a ball would be under center the following week. At the Combine, he danced on the edge of official tampering charges to make it clear the Chiefs were interested in signing Peyton Manning.
So when Crennel says that he doesn’t see a need area anywhere on the roster going into the Draft, I believe that he means it. Even speaking about nose tackle – the consensus need by basically everyone – he said, “We’ve talked to some people there, but we’ve told them we’re going to wait until after the draft and see what else might develop. So we have possibilities there.”
Meaning, Kelly Gregg could be brought back or guys like Aubrayo Franklin could be in the free agency mix after Crennel and Pioli see how the draft shakes out. It’s quite possible that the Chiefs have offered guys like Franklin generous contracts that are worth waiting for. According to the latest league figures, the Chiefs have more than $17 million in cap room.
Crennel also talked up the NTs already on the roster – Amon Gordon and Jerrel Powe. So, although I continue to believe it would be worth rolling the dice on Poe at #11, it just doesn’t look like it is realistically going to happen.
Overall, Crennel said:
“We’ve put ourselves in position, with the needs we filled, that when we go into the draft, we can look at the best athlete available and the guy we think can help our team the most,” [Crennel said.]
“We won’t have to draft for need. That gives us many more options.”
In other words, all bets are off.
Furthermore, the positions that Crennel has specifically laid out as targets – corners, pass rushers and speed receivers – are plentiful in this draft and there is plenty of talent to be had in the late first-round and early second in those areas and there are no signs yet that the Chiefs have any favorites.
That means that there are a million different ways this Draft could go and, in general, it depends more on moves made by other teams than the preferences of Pioli and Crennel.
Still, here are some scenarios:
1.) Trade up for Tannehill
At this point, I see there being no way that QB Ryan Tannehill makes it out of the top 8, but with the Chiefs kicking the tires on Tannehill, Kirk Cousins, Brock Osweiler, plus others that we just don’t know about – it appears pretty clear that the Chiefs are interested in picking a quarterback relatively high in the draft. Each team is allowed a fixed number of private workouts with prospects, so the Chiefs aren’t working out first- and second-round QBs just for the heck of it.
If Tannehill drops past the Browns at #4 (which is an increasingly large “if”), the last chance for the Chiefs to take him will be #7, for no other reason than the fact that the Dolphins would be facing all-out fan rebellion by passing on him at #8. Moving from #11 to #7 will probably cost the Chiefs their first-rounder next year. But, if all goes according to plan, that pick will be in the mid-20s at least and they will have a quarterback of the future being groomed on their roster after spending most or all of a season behind Matt Cassel.
Probability: Very low. Pioli appears to remain committed to Cassel and the plan to surround him with talent to elevate his game. It is also not the Patriot way to trade up in a draft and give up future picks, not to mention the fact that the Browns are likely to pick him up at #4, and moving to #3 would simply be too costly to justify it.
2.) Trade back for an extra second-rounder in 2012.
After watching the film, it is clear that OG David DeCastro is a legitimate beast. While he and several other prospects like Melvin Ingram, Fletcher Cox, Courney Upshaw, Luke Kuechly etc. will likely be available at #11, I don’t like them better than the guys from the next tier plus an extra 2nd-rounder.
Would you rather have DeCastro in the first and DT Alameda Ta’amu in the second than C Peter Konz in a trade-back first, plus G Kevin Zeitler and RB Doug Martin (!) in the second? DT Devon Still, QB Kirk Cousins and S Harrison Smith? There are many other combinations that I could make.
The point is that a team with the starting talent that the Chiefs have should try to bring in a large quantity of young talents rather than locking in to specific players they feel like they need to contribute this year, because, quite frankly they don’t.
Probability: High. This is what Patriots’ personnel people do, and in addition to it working for Pioli in New England for many years, the Chiefs were able to turn a minor move back last year into a solid pickup in Allen Bailey – now the Chiefs’ best pass-rushing D-lineman.
3.) Trade back for an extra first-rounder in 2013
This idea was first outlined by Paddy, and I think it is a sound one. Having two first-round picks in 2013 is the best insurance policy for Matt Cassel. If, once surrounded by decent talent and deprived of excuses for underwhelming, he still can’t make it happen, then the Chiefs will have the ammunition to move up in the Draft and pick their QB of the future in the top 10. If he blows all the haters away, KC will have two first-rounders to use to further beef up our offense and defense. In a no-need situation, this is a win-win.
Probability: Moderately high. I have a feeling that Pioli would prefer to make strides this year and use picks to help out his hand-picked, but beleaguered QB, Cassel.
One way or the other, I just don’t see the benefit for making a selection at #11. Even if the Chiefs are only able to trade back a few spots, there’s a good chance that guys like DeCastro and at least one of the coveted pass-rushers and cornerbacks will be available in the mid-teens. As I’ve said before, this is the most no-brainer offseason ever.