Admittedly, it’s been going on for quite some time now. However, it has clearly intensified in the past few days. What, you may ask? The jousting for position: draft position.
The jousting in the top 10 is especially of interest to Chiefs fans for the obvious reason that the Chief select 11th.
Why not just go ahead and make a trade?
Well, why trade when there’s no apparent “need” to trade? So, out pops the flibbertigibbets and teams “leak” true or untrue information to help create attention and a “need” for other teams to “move” or trade to get the prospect they want.
Recent reports have speculated that the Vikings, who hold the third overall pick, may not take OT Matt Kalil. Balderdash! It’s that this specific time of the year… the week before the real draft… the jousting has begun.
The really good GMs are not only playing the “scenario” game but, they can predict with a great amount of certainty, which teams ahead of them, will take which prospects.
Ex-GM Mike Mayock, now of NFL Network, said on Tuesday that he believes “there won’t be any trades in the top 10 picks.” If there are going to be trades it will likely involve the seventh pick because QB starved Miami is believed to be ready to draft Ryan Tannehill at number eight.
Is it true? Well, the Jacksonville Jaguars hope everyone believes it’s true so they can get more at number seven offers for their pick. The reality: not likely.
That’s the jousting.
That’s also why the Vikes want teams to believe they may be taking someone other than Matt Kalil. If someone wants Kalil… come on down. They know that the Redskins paid a king’s ransom for the second pick in the draft and they’d like a share of the loot and booty too.
As far as the Chiefs are concerned, if this was a sure fire QB prospect like Luck or RGIII that was available in the third slot it might be a different matter. Even though there was a recent report that the Chiefs would/could move up to get Kalil, a move like that doesn’t really jive with Scott Pioli’s history.
Scenarios become clearer as the draft draws closer because a prospect’s values become more evident: Dontari Poe’s tape doesn’t look very good and GMs are taking that more seriously and now he’s rightfully dropped back out of most mock draft’s top 10: several other players like Ryan Tannehill and Fletcher Cox have seen their stock rise enough to displace Riley Reiff from the top 10.
So, is Reiff a top 10 pick? I believe he is but, he may not go there because of these rising stars.
There’s a good possibility that Riley Reiff will be available when the Chiefs pick at 11, if they stay at 11.
Who do you believe the Chiefs have rated higher on the big board? Riley Reiff or David DeCastro?
If DeCastro is gone, who would be rated higher: Luke Kuechly or Reiff?
In Patrick Allen’s recent post called “The Draft is All About Ryan Tannehill for the KC Chiefs,” he explains why the 11th pick in the draft offers a financial incentive to teams wanting to trade up:
If Tannehill slips out of the top 10 to #11, everything changes. Thanks to the new CBA, Tannehill is a bit more valuable at #11 than at #10. All first-round rookies will be able to be signed to four-year contracts with a fifth-year option. The option for the first 10 picks in the draft is significantly more expensive than picks 11-32. So for a team really hoping to move up to get their man, getting him at 11 instead of 10 would be a home run. Getting a potential franchise QB at 11 instead of 10 would be a grand slam.
On draft day there will very likely be an increased number of teams wanting to trade up to get one of the players they covet… who didn’t go in the top 10… and they’d want to do that as soon as possible once the first 10 picks have gone off the board. That alone, places the Chiefs in a winning jousting position.
Because when a prospect like Ryan Tannehill pushes his way into the top 10, he immediately displaces another player who deserves to be in the top 10.
In fact, the more that this happens, the better off it is for the Chiefs. Consequently, it seems easy to predict that the Chiefs will be the first, if not one of the first, to trade back and gain picks. But, will Scott Pioli be trading back in the first round this year?
At the very moment, 15 minutes actually, it is the Chiefs turn to select, while on one hand they will be attempting to balance their possible choices… Reiff vs. DeCastro or DeCastro vs. Kuechly or even Kuechly vs. Tannehill, Tannehill vs. Barron, Barron vs. Reiff… they will also be fielding a volume of calls from teams itching to jump up to 11.
To be good at jousting you must know what you want. And what you need. And then see beyond that.
I’m a fan of drafting players for need… when you can trade to the approximate position of that prospects value.
However, the key factor in drafting well is identifying the BSFI (big, strong, fast, intelligent) players who have a real chance to excel in the NFL and within your team’s defensive scheme or offensive system.
Teams should not get too focused on that though… because it’s also necessary to have a global perspective… a big picture. In 1983, Chiefs leadership clearly couldn’t identify potential future Hall of Famers, Bruce Matthews, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino and Darrell Green, and all four were drafted in the first round… after… they selected Todd Blackledge. Hindsight is of course 20/20 but, the point is that just because a GM thinks the team really, “needs” to fill the hole at MLB (or any other position), or falls in love with a player for some unconventional reasons, it doesn’t mean he should ignore the possibility of drafting a future Hall of Famer for the offensive line… or any of the other 9 players who made the Pro Bowl from the first round that year.
One fact about first-round choices is that they are… franchise defining. They are to some degree the “face of the organization,” at least until the season begins and if they’re good, much longer. If they’re bad, the organization spends a load of time and resources dealing with the failure.
That’s one of the reasons teams in the league have not traditionally drafted offensive guards in the first round of the draft: they are not glamor guys and don’t make for the best cover boys on team brochures.
We all want our first round pick to come in and shine like Eric Berry but, of course it doesn’t always work out that way. In this draft there’s a strong group of prospects from picks 20-50. That general knowledge is also being weighed by Scott Pioli too and makes the moment of decision, perhaps a little more complex than it was when he was drafting 21st in 2011. Why? Because while I didn’t really have a problem with the Chiefs giving up NT Phil Taylor for the 21st pick, I hope I won’t have to rue the day they gave up David DeCastro and the 11th pick for the chance to move down. And that’s because I see HOF possibilities in DeCastro and that thought never entered my head a year ago when studying Phil Taylor.
In Mike Mayock’s draft released just last night he gives S Mark Barron to the Chiefs at #11. While I don’t follow his logic at all, I do appreciate what he had to say about some conversations he had with several GMs who ask the same questions: what‘s the player‘s floor and what’s his ceiling? If you’re talking about Luke Kuechly, Fletcher Cox or David DeCastro… their floors are pretty high which means there is a low probability they would ever be a bust.
There are, of course, a dozen players that could be taken with the 11th pick but, this year, my prediction is… after all the jousting… the Chiefs don’t trade out.
They pick at #11 and they pick a good one. A really good one.