It is unmistakably too soon to predict the future. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile to consider what options the Chiefs have going forward in what is sure to be an immensely difficult 2013 offseason.
Since it is so soon, we have to make several assumptions about where we’ll be next season:
1. The Kansas City Chiefs will have finished the season 10-6, won the division, and stole a playoff game victory before getting defeated in the next round. This will give the Chiefs a pick in the middle of the 20s, something like 25th.
2. QB Matt Cassel will have performed admirably, but it is as clear as ever that he is a part of what restricts this team, not what propels it. He is retained for another year, however, but a search for solutions begins.
3. GM Scott Pioli is extended. HC Romeo Crennel is kept on, obviously.
4. WR Dwayne Bowe is, again, franchised. In doing so, the Pioli regime is prepared to allow LT Branden Albert to walk in free agency. The Pioli regime has been rumored to have tried to replace both players at various points — in the 2012 draft alone, the Chiefs were reportedly shopping Bowe for a 1st rounder (no one bit), while also prepared to move up in case USC’s LT Matt Kalil fell in the draft (he didn’t). My guess is, forced to choose, Pioli goes back to Bowe, while the team will try out Donald Stephenson at LT in 2013.
5. During the 2012 season, the Chiefs will extend DE Tyson Jackson for a 5 years, $39 million, and P Dustin Colquitt for 4 years, $11 million. They will re-sign CB Travis Daniels, ILB Brandon Siler, and LS Thomas Gafford to one year deals.
6. The Chiefs will allow the following players to walk in free agency: QB Brady Quinn, RB Peyton Hillis, WR Jeremy Horne, TE Jake O’Connell, OT Brandon Albert, OG Ryan Lilja, DE Glenn Dorsey, ILB Jovan Belcher, CB Jacques Reeves, DB Kyle McCarthy, and FS Donald Washington.
7. The Chiefs will collect two compensatory picks: a third rounder and seventh rounder for losing CB Brandon Carr and QB Kyle Orton, respectively, in 2012. This will give the Chiefs nine total draft picks, though neither compensatory pick can be traded.
On with the show!
1st round: QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
The Chiefs package their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in 2012 along with their 2013 1st and 3rd to move up from the 25th selection in the first round to #10 (along with an extra 5th rounder this year), once Tyler Wilson falls just enough.
Wilson is poised to have a pretty tough season for the Razorbacks. He’s lost three of his best receivers and his head coach, so he’ll be learning a new offensive system, and make poor decisions all year. The common idea throughout NFL circles is that Wilson’s value will have dropped considerably, but Pioli knows better.
Here are my previous thoughts on Wilson:
Wilson is somebody you absolutely must keep track of. He has Peyton Manning upside. His statistics are particularly strong, of course. He completed 63% of his passes this past season, stacking up nearly 4,000 yards with a 24/6 ratio. His measurables are strong as well; the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder has great mobility and while he isn’t blowing up defenses with his scrambling ability, he can deftly evade pressure and create plays on the move. But while all of this is great, it’s not world-beater good.
Where Wilson differentiates himself from everybody else is between the ears. He is reputably a film rat with a very close eye for emulation and play formation. He was brought in by the same offensive system that Ryan Mallett succeeded in. He carries himself with such outstanding composure it’s possible the 1st picking team in the 2013 Draft will fall in love with him in interviews.
And while Wilson is legitimately #1 overall talent, he’s going to slide. He just lost his head coach in a fiasco and the new offense he’s adopting will not be as pass-obsessed. Add in the fact that he’s legimately losing all three of his best receivers to the NFL, and it’s going to be a fascinating slog for Wilson in 2013. Keep your eyes peeled.
3rd round: ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
With their Brandon Carr compensation selection, the Chiefs replace the dearly departed Jovan Belcher with Ogletree, a guy who plays the exact same position in the Georgia’s 3-4 defense. Ogletree is bigger, faster, and more instinctive. He has been an underrated force behind the Bulldogs’ humongous defensive line, but he could be a starting Ted backer in this defense for a decade.
4th round: OT Tanner Hawkinson, Kansas
The Chiefs have shopped for midround OL sleepers in previous years from local schools; here they continue the trend by drafting the super-athletic project Hawkinson from the struggling Jayhawks program. Hawkinson has left tackle upside, but is light and not strong enough for serious NFL playing time. With Donald Stephenson stepping in for Branden Albert in 2013, the Chiefs attempt to bring on a contingency plan in case Stephenson sinks and emergency measures are required.
5th round: RB Marcus Coker, Iowa
Coker reminds me a good deal of Peyton Hillis. He has the big frame (230 lbs) required of a power back in the NFL. He often times just makes a single cut and heads downhill. And he’s a good blocker, and comes from a program Pioli adores at the University of Iowa. Coker does come with some red flags off the field, however, but if Iowa HC Scott Ferenz vouches for him, Pioli is in. I believe Coker is 2nd round talent, otherwise, and could form a formidable 50-50 timeshare with a new-fully-healed Jamaal Charles.
5th round: FS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
This pick was acquired in obtaining Wilson in the 1st round. The 2013 safety class should be amazingly deep, so my job is to do what always happens in this deeper positions: examine what somewhat-early-rounders will fall far enough to offer a bargain later on. The Chiefs continue to need depth at the safety position, as I believe Abram Elam will prove to be inadequate and the Chiefs have no other viable options. The Chiefs love FS Kendrick Lewis, but he is an injury risk every season. Vaccaro is a freakishly athletic free safety who will need some coaching, and if he has a decent, but not outstanding, season for the Longhorns, the Chiefs will be poised to swoop in and get yet another mid-round steal for their secondary.
6th round: CB Brandon McGee, Miami
The Chiefs love to draft one of two things in their midround corner prospects: hardened, experienced players from tough conferences, or physical freaks capable of being coached up. McGee’s great speed and brilliant athleticism makes him the latter, despite iffy play on the field.
7th round: C/OG James Ferentz, Iowa
Son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, it’d almost be a foregone conclusion that James ends up in Kansas City. The question is: where would the Chiefs take him. He is a very smart but drastically undersized talent. Even in an NFL weight program, he’ll only bulk up to 290 lbs. So despite all his talent, I say he slides hard.
7th round: SS DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina
With a compensatory pick being their last in the draft, Chiefs are looking to continue to flesh out their safety position, this time with a guy who is a pure in-the-box run stuffer. As a result, Holloman could save the more versatile Eric Berry some wear and tear, and even get some looks in nickle packages.
2013 Depth Chart
QB: Cassel, Wilson, Stanzi
RB: Charles, Coker, Gray, McCluster
WR: Bowe, Baldwin, Breaston, Wylie, McCluster, Copper
TE: Moeaki, Boss, Maneri
LT: Stephenson, Hawkinson
LG: Allen, Harris
C: Hudson, Ferentz
RG: Asamoah, Harris
RT: Winston, Mims
DE: Bailey, Long
NT: Poe, Powe
DE: Jackson, Gordon
OLB: Hali, Sheffield
ILB: Ogletree, Siler
ILB: Johnson, Heyman
OLB: Houston, Miller
CB: Flowers, Routt, Arenas, Daniels, McGee
S: Berry, Lewis, Vaccaro, Holloman
KR: Arenas, McCluster
PR: Arenas, Wylie