Aug 04, 2011; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Jerrell Powe (95) walks off of the field after training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Sophomore Year, Part Deux

If you missed my piece on Friday about our top picks last year, I just don’t get you. I mean seriously, were you living under a rock all weekend? Why don’t you stop being such a loser and spend some more time on the Internet?

Just playin’, gang. Hard-hitting fake journalism it was not. More of a discussion, really. Every year, immediately after the draft, I like to line all the picks up in my mind and try to predict who will do what. The way I picture it is with someone (Jesus?) telling me, “you will get three starters from this draft class” and then a light blinks on after three players’ names. And of course, it would never play out exactly as you think. Who will do what? Knowledge that only the years can bring. Forbidden fruit, of a sort.

Think about that 2008 class, for instance. What if, after all those picks were made, someone had told you there were two Pro Bowlers and three additional starters in there? Wouldn’t it have been thrilling to try to figure out who was who? We could never have foreseen Charles’ amazing 2010, or that Brandon Carr would be signing a $50 million deal four years later. And whatever you say now, nobody would have believed Glenn Dorsey would have had only four sacks after 61 starts*.

*Say this for Dorsey, he has been durable. Remember all the concern over his knee? He couldn’t participate in the Combine, right? I vividly recall a shot of him running between cones during the LSU Pro Day with Herm Edwards in the background, nodding like an idiot.

On Friday, we guessed what our top picks in the 2011 draft might do. I moved all in on Allen Bailey and expressed concerns about Jonathan Baldwin. In this, the second part, I’d like to take a look at rounds 4-7. In all likelihood, there is a diamond in the rough somewhere in there. A gift, if you will. A gift to the foes of Mordor…..

When looking at these players, the first thing that jumps out is that we haven’t seen much of any of them. That’s OK, it’s expected. Late-round picks rarely make an impact as a rookie. But starting this year, some of these guys are going to play. I’m guessing we all have our dark-horse favorites.

Me? I’m a Shane Bannon guy. Partly because of the insane novelty of a professional fullback from Yale. Seriously, how does that happen?

This isn’t a joke choice for me though. I liked the pick when it was made, and I still think Bannon is the most likely of all our late picks to be playing a significant role for us in the future.

Fullback is a position like kicker or punter, in that when you spend even a late pick on a guy, you can get a top prospect. Even for a position that is only on the field a fraction of the time, I think it pays to invest late-rounders. We’re all pretty happy with that seventh rounder spent on Ryan Succop, right? Granted, the Chiefs also wasted a fifth-round pick on Justin “The Medic” Medlock a few years before.* But if having a good young kicker cost us a 2007 fifth rounder and 2009 seventh rounder, wasn’t that well worth it?

*I still can’t believe King Carl picked Medlock over Mason Crosby. That’s like eschewing lobster in favor of lobster poop. 

Fullback isn’t as important as it used to be, but having a good one is still an advantage. Bannon was a smart pick theoretically, of that I am convinced. Hard to say how well he’ll do, but I’ve got a feeling Daboll wants Peyton Hillis to be primarily a ball-carrier (shudder). Not only does that leave him unavailable for standard full-backing duties, but the style of running he employs may in fact require someone to lead block for him. Rather than overshadowing Bannon, Hillis may create opportunities to get him on the field. What a teammate, right? I heard they’re going to give Hillis Jones’ old locker.

I don’t know that any of our other late-picks has such a clear path to playing time. Ricky Stanzi will almost surely not see the field, and we’ve seen no indication that he factors into anyone’s future plans. That’s the hard truth.

Gabe Miller, the other fifth-round pick, is a project. He was also Merlin’s annual “WTF Pick.” Highly unlikely we’ll be seeing much of him.

Jalil Brown and Jerrell Powe, in my eyes, are the other two contenders.

We’ll start with Brown. Any fans of his in the house? He doesn’t seem to be very popular in Chiefs Nation yet, and he did nothing to impress on the field. I think I’ve heard some chatter about him possibly making a better safety than corner? I don’t know, this sounds like Donnie Wash all over again. Pioli has not been successful thus far when drafting cornerbacks.

Still, a fourth-round pick in his second year is going to get a look. Brown will likely play, and getting a chance is the first step.

I’m still not totally convinced Jerrell Powe is going to get that chance. I keep coming back to the fact that in round five, with Powe and Gabe Miller on the board, the Chiefs took Miller. Can we really assume they have big plans for Powe when he was such an afterthought on draft day?

It would be tempting to label him a project as well, but he’s actually 25 years old. He’ll never be a better athlete than he is right now. The timeline isn’t quite as relaxed for Powe as it would be for other players. There is boom potential here, but he should be able to show some of it this season, if he’s ever going to.

Bannon is my guy. Intellectually, of course I know it would be the best for the team if Ricky Stanzi was a late-round gem. And I daydream about Powe too, believe me. I drew a picture the other day of me eating hamburgers with him and Dontari Poe. I just think Powe and Stanzi are long-shots, and Bannon is the safer bet for success.

What say you, men and women of the red cloth? Who is the 2011 late-round gem?

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Tags: Jalil Brown Jerrell Powe Ricky Stanzi Shane Bannon

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