The draft isn’t far away, and I fear we’ve spent so much time talking about the mystery of the first round that we haven’t spent enough time taking in the later round prospects.
This post is simple. To raise your draft IQ, here’s a description of several different positions, what the Chiefs like at those positions, and the players that fit what the Chiefs are looking for.
Pioli himself said in an interview recently that he likes QBs that he can draft, develop and trade off for picks. That explains, first of all, why he drafts QBs exclusively with good size. Undersized QBs command nothing on the market.
With this in mind, you can look at Pioli’s draft history and observe that he prefers to draft QBs with good size, need some development to improve their worth on the NFL’s market, and earn the team a “net gain” for a better draft pick. Players need good size, need development, and will need to be free later in the draft. Think Ricky Stanzi.
That only really leaves us with five QB prospects, with one sixth one on the bubble:
- Brock Osweiler, Arizona State — If he were to somehow fall to the third round, Osweiler seems to match what the Chiefs look for. Unless you’re grooming him exclusively to take over for incumbent starting QB Matt Cassel, it’s too risky to draft him in the second round and assume he’ll be worth a first later on. But his size is great (6’7″, 240 lbs), of course, and with proper development, it’s clear that some team could fork over a second for him in the future. Osweiler seems like a classic “Ryan Mallett” selection, and the Patriots selected Mallett in the third.
- Kirk Cousins, Michigan State — Cousins is a repeat of the Ricky Stanzi selection if he fell to something like the fifth round. Despite his decent size (6’3″, 215 lbs), he’s been a phenomenal leader for three years at MSU, and is as smart as they come. Physically limited, however, but tough as nails. Along with Ryan Lindley, the Chiefs are most likely to select Cousins.
- Nick Foles, Arizona — It’s hard to imagine some team falling in love with Foles (6’5″, 240 lbs), and he could tumble to the mid rounds. If that were the case, the Chiefs could utilize the Sun Devils signal caller by coaching him up. Foles was once considered a borderline first-round pick because of his tools. Well, he’s still got those tools, and if the Chiefs can get the most out of them, they could get something handsome in return.
- Ryan Lindley, San Diego State — I suspect the Chiefs will select Ryan Lindley (6’4″, 230 lbs) if he’s still on the board in the fifth round. GM Scott Pioli has already selected low-round quarterbacks from San Diego State, so he clearly loves the program there. SDSU runs a pro-style offense, and Lindley does have those occasional flashes as an NFL player. Utilize him brilliantly in the preseason, and you never know — some team may pay up big for him.
- BJ Coleman, TN-Chattanooga — An interesting prospect from a small program, he has the size Pioli loves (6’3″, 230 lbs). Coleman will need considerable coaching, but if you can grab him for a 6th or 7th rounder, you might be able to develop him a la Tyler Thigpen and trade him off later for a mid-rounder.
- Austin Davis, Southern Mississippi — I think it’s extremely unlikely Austin Davis ends up in Kansas City. He comes from a program that is known for churning out bad prospects. Davis, for his part, is as solid a prospect out of SMU as we’ve seen — he’s a four-year starter, with a good head on his shoulders. But he’s just too small (6’2″, 215 lbs).
Interior Offensive Line Prospects:
In a zone blocking scheme, fleet-footedness and athletic ability trump size as desirable qualities in offensive linemen. Coordination and technique matter more than muscle in implementing a successful scheme because defensive linemen are often double-teamed at the point of attack. Creating movement on the defensive line is more important than opening a specific hole in the defense.
Lots of pulling, lots of second-level blocking, ideally is powerful enough in short space but is perhaps even more important that the lineman is athletic and fast, really good on technique.
This particular draft is a little weaker down the line with ZBS offensive lineman:
- C Philip Blake, Baylor — Not as straight-line fast as we like our guys, but has really good athleticism, technique and versatility to take on bigger nose tackles (important in today’s NFL).
- C David Molk, Michigan — Molk is a brilliant, perfect fit and Day One starter in Kansas City if he comes here.
- G Will Blackwell, LSU — An athletic guard who can get to the second level. First-team SEC.
- T/G Ryan Miller, Colorado — Really good at the second level with sneaky athleticism. Is a development in process, however, and would be served well on our bench for a year or two. The Chiefs have come close to drafting Colorado lineman before. I suspect he could end up being a Chief.
- G/C Desmond Wynn, Rutgers — Only 300 lbs, but extremely athletic with a two-year starting record. Can play center/guard.
- G Joe Looney, Wake Forest — Four-year starter. Comes pretty NFL ready.
- C/G Adam Gettis, Iowa — This is a late round guy I really love, from a program Pioli really loves. He is a drastically undersized lineman, barely registering at 290 lbs, but he is a true Hawkeye technician.
- G Austen Pasztor, Virginia — When you read the words “needs to add some bulk” in his scouting reports, you’ve got yourself a ZBS lineman.
- G David DeCastro, Stanford — Talented enough to make anything work, and is a total technician. But he can’t get down the field like any of the Chiefs’ current starters.
- T/G Cordy Glenn, Georgia — Super big and really athletic, but ZBS scheme requires smaller lineman who are technicians. Glenn is neither.
- C Michael Brewster, Ohio State — Really no reason to pick this guy up. You’ll need a second or a third to do so and he’s going to need a couple seasons’ development.
- T/G Brandon Washington — Plays with an intense mean streak. But plays more of a man-position type blocking that works better in the power game.
- G Jaymes Brooks, Virginia Tech — Player that clearly loves the run game but will need a lot of development.
- G/C Quentin Saulsberry, Mississippi State — Quentin is not a great fit, but he has insane versatility.
- C Stephen Good, Oklahoma — Good is perfect for the ZBS system. However, he needs a ton of development in the run game. Might be a great UDFA pickup, if he lasts that long.
- G Lonnie Edwards, Texas Tech — Edwards seems to have the physical tools, but T-Tech players always need a ton of development.
- C Moe Petrus, Connecticut — Casey Wiegmann-esque undersized body, but without any of Wiegmann’s tools. UDFA at best.
Nose Tackle Prospects:
There’s really only one, here.
- Josh Chapman, Alabamaa
All other prospects in this draft are really, really tough to project to the two-gapping 3-4 nose tackle position. The nose tackle is expected to play the zero-technique — meaning he is lining up right over the center. His job is to provide some modest push in the passing game, and to clog two separate lanes in the run game. At all points, his job is to absorb punishment of as many crusty, 300+ lbs offensive lineman as possible.
That’s a devastating job, mentally and physically. You rarely, if ever, get the glory of penetrating up the middle and getting to the quarterback. Instead, your job is very limited. You take punishment so everybody else can succeed.
That kind of job requires more than the physical body to pull it off, a la Dontari Poe out of Memphis or Alameda Ta’amu out of Washington. It requires a complete mindset commitment.
Think of Jerrell Powe, the only nose tackle Scott Pioli has drafted for the Chiefs thus far. Powe is a 330+ lbs squatter who simply desires to wrestle in the phone booth at the zero-technique. He’s so old school, he calls himself the nose guard. When he’s done with the NFL, he wants a career in construction.
The only guy in this draft that can meet Powe’s pure love and physical strength for the nose tackle position is Josh Chapman. No other draftee comes close. Poe and Ta’amu both look like one-gapping NTs, or tackles in the 4-3. Neither has the pure look of the position that Chapman has.
- Look for producers in college. (One-year wonders aren’t concerning here, according to SHD’s analysis.)
- Look for players as close to 6’3, 260 as possible.
- 32″ wingspans are okay. 33″ wingspans are great. 34″ wingspans are fantastic.
- If you’re going to select smaller prospects, they gotta have the wingspan. If you are going to select larger prospects, they’ve got to have the speed.
- Stick with the big schools, unless you run across a small schooler with insane production.
Using that metric, here’s a list of players who fit the proper criteria, who are more 4-3 DEs and thus not interesting to us:
- Quentin Coples, North Carolina (big but fast)
- Courtney Upshaw, Alabama (big but fast)
- Nick Perry (big but fast)
- Jake Bequette, Arkansas (big but fast)
- Frank Alexander, Oklahoma (big but fast)
The following are more able to play the 3-4, and therefore are very intersting to us.
- Whitney Mercilus, Illinois — first rounder
- Vince Curry, Marshall (small school but huge stats) — second rounder
- Andre Branch, Clemson — second rounder
- Bruce Irvin, West Virginia (small but long) — third rounder
- Kyle Wilbur, Wake Forest (small but long) — mid rounder
- Julian Miller, West Virginia (small but very long) — late rounder
I noticed in more than a few mock drafts on this site and others keep allocating zone corners to the Chiefs. This is an easily fixable mistake, so consider this a public service along with the rest of this thread. Hopefully this will adjust all mock drafts going forward.
The signing of Stanford Routt should signal to everybody here that the Chiefs are only interested in man corners. Zone corners aren’t a fit for the system the Chiefs will run. So keep your eyes trained on the list of man corners (or corners that can play both). Like the other positions, this is not an exhaustive list of corners, but this is a start with about 30 who popped up in my mind.
Here’s a short guide of man corners, with what round they’re projected to go in parentheses. Man corners are faster, have quick-twitch reactions, mirror better, and aren’t as adept in playing angles..
Man corners, and therefore much more likely to be Chiefs:
- Morris Claiborne, LSU (1)
- Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama (2)
- Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska (2)
- Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina (3)
- Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma (4)
- Asa Jackson, California Poly (5)
- Jeremy Lane, Northwestern State (6)
- Robert Blanton, Notre Dame (7)
- Micah Pellerin, Hampton (UDFA)
- Coty Sensabaugh, Clemson (UDFA)
- Cliff Harris, Oregon (UDFA)
Zone corners, and therefore unlikely to be Chiefs:
- Stephen Gilmore, South Carolina (1)
- Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt (2)
- Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (2)
- Josh Robinson, Central Florida (3)
- Leonard Johnson, Iowa State (3)
- Coryell Judie, Texas A&M (5)
- Shaun Prater, Iowa (5)
- Keith Tandy, West Virginia (5)
- Ryan Steed, Furman (5)
- Donnie Fletcher, Boston College (6)
- D’Anton Lynn, Penn State (6)
- Robert Golden, Arizona (7)
- Desmond Marrow, Toledo (UDFA)
Players who can play either man or zone:
- Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama (more zone) (1)
- Chase Minnefield, Virginia (more zone) (2)
- Brandon Boykin, Georgia (more man) (3)
- Trumaine Johnson, Montana (more zone) (3)
- Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette (more zone) (3)
- DeQuan Menzie, Alabama (more man) (5)
- Emanuel Davis, East Carolina (more man) (6)
- Omar Bolden, Arizona State (7)
- Justin Bethal, Presbyterian (more zone) (7)
- Mike Harris, Florida State (UDFA)
Who do you think the Chiefs are more likely to draft? Any players you’d like to add to the above list? Think I’ve misrepresented someone? Use comments to tear me a new one.