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The Chiefs 63rd Pick In The Draft

A lot can happen between now and draft day. Of course, I thought the exact same thing back in January. Well, we just couldn’t know then, what we think we know now. Kansas City GM John Michael Dorsey and coach Andrew Walter Reid have certainly been altering the landscape at Chiefs Way and Red Coat Drive, enough so that no one is sure what’s coming next.

As much as I’ve enjoyed seeing them etch their names in the new cement around Arrowhead during the first week of Free Agency, I’m a bit weary worn while watching the “professional” speculators do their speculating about who, or whom, the Chiefs may or may not be taking with the FIRST pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Not that I’m not interested, I am, but, there are other picks to speculate about as well. So, let’s take a look at the Chiefs 63rd pick in the draft, which, for now, appears to be the very next pick coming to them, following el numero uno.

6-5, 306, OT Terron Armstead is a prospect bounding up the draft boards. He started out ranked later in the 3rd round but, after running an eye popping 4.71 40 yards dash at the combine, teams are showing an increasing interest, to say the least. Because Armstead also ran an unofficial 4.65, some teams are wondering if Armstead can play TE. Comparatively, of all the QBs at the combine, only Geno Smith ran a 40 time faster than 4.65. Why bring that up? If you’re a team looking for a lineman to run clearance on a sweep — for a very fast running back — Terron is your man plus, he has the athleticism to handle the NFL’s best speed rushers.

Coach Reid may want his offensive linemen to carry a bit more weight for his power blocking scheme but, Armstead appears to have the frame to carry more pounds without losing much speed.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock says Armstead was “the OT with the most upside” at the East-West All-Star game and while some teams might be thinking he could shift over to TE, it’s looking a lot more like he could be a starter from day one at OT.

If you can buy into the idea of drafting an athletic defensive lineman, one that everyone fell in love with last year, Dontari Poe, in the first round, who played for a pitiful Memphis team, then you should be able to accept the idea of drafting Terron Armstead who played for a small school, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, in the third round. Here’s his performance in the SWAC Championship game against Jackson State. Preview warning: it’s loaded with piles of pancakes of inferior talent… if that kind of thing clicks your ticket.

Although Armstead’s talent appears to be a little raw, ProFootballTalk has this to say,

Although he didn’t play against high-quality competition at Arkansas Pine-Bluff, he was a good college player who was so impressive at the East-West Shrine Game that he got a late invitation to the Senior Bowl. So there are signs that NFL scouts think Armstead can play. We certainly know he can run.

6-3, 200, WR Aaron Dobson from Marshall claims to have 4.30 speed but, had a 4.53 at the combine and 4.40 at his pro day. What is undeniable is his ability to catch the ball. Take a look at this incredible reception, appropriately named, “The Catch.” See picture at left.

An essential skill for a good WR is being able to separate from a CB. Dobson displayed this skill against CBs at the Senior Bowl. CB prospect Desmond Trufant is a player many consider a first round talent and Dobson consistently utilized his quickness to create 3 yards of space against him.

Here’s a scouting report on Dobson from nepatriotsdraft.com. They offer this player analysis:

 Aaron Dobson has quietly had a great career at Marshall, despite not having an NFL-quality arm throwing to him. With an arm that can deliver the ball down the field on a consistent basis, Dobson’s production would have been greatly improved… A tall receiver that can get over the top of cornerbacks is never over-looked on draft day…

 Adding his talents to the wide receiving core already in house for the Chiefs could create havoc for opposing defenses. In my opinion Aaron Dobson is going to be a good one and could be had at pick 63.

5-9, 219, SS, Shamarko Thomas, had a rather infamous moment while running the 40 during this year’s combine by tripping at the finish line and landing on his face. However, he should be remembered more as a potential starter at Safety in the NFL. His unofficial 4.38 should get some attention and his abilities on the field should make him someone to seriously consider in round three.

Shamarko’s speed and stocky body allow him to cover slot receivers and TEs even though his height may appear to hold him back, it does not. NFL.com says Thomas provides, “speed, athleticism, and bone-jarring tackles.” With Dorsey and Reid bringing in physical players like Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith… Shamarko Thomas would fit in perfectly.

Thomas’ ability to hit is evident when watching him take on RB’s coming out of the backfield. What should interest the Chiefs most though is his untapped skill as a cover Safety. In the event the Chiefs can find a consistently healthy complement to Eric Berry — that being a “cover” Safety — then Berry is going to only get better. Which boggles the mind!

NFL.com also says of Shamarko Thomas,

The all-state pick in football and as a track sprinter from Virginia Beach stepped into a starting role in seven games as a true freshman, moving from linebacker to safety to cornerback depending on the matchup (41 tackles, 6.5 for loss). He again started seven games and played in all 13 in 2010, racking up 67 tackles, 3.5 for loss and three pass break-ups despite playing with padding and a brace on his left elbow much of the season. Thomas started all 10 games in which he played as a junior (missing two with a leg injury), again making 67 stops, three for loss. Thomas started in all 13 games as a senior, and led the Orange in tackles, with 85. He also intercepted two passes, and forced three fumbles.

In a draft class filled with quality defensive backs, Thomas could be a legitimate fit at Strong Safety for the Chiefs. Here’s some tape of Thomas against USC in 2012. At the :15 mark, Thomas flies up the running lane to help force a fumble in the hole. At the 2:01 mark, Thomas takes down the WR in the flat just as he is receiving the ball. At the 4:00 mark he crosses to the opposite side of the field to catch the RB from behind. At the 4:50 mark, Shamarko cuts in front of 6-1 WR Robert Woods to intercept a ball thrown by USC QB Matt Barkley.

Shamarko Thomas is said to need seasoning before he’s NFL ready, but the more I watch tape of him, the more he reminds me of a Safety already on the Chiefs roster: Mr. Berry himself. Thomas’ balance, timing, speed and hitting ability are all reminiscent. Insert him as a cover Safety and watch Berry go boom.

The important thing you need to know about Thomas is that during college he lost both of his parents. His father to a motorcycle accident and his mother to a heart condition. Thomas recounted the story to Sports Illustrated,

She was like, ‘If anything ever happens to me, I just want you to know you’re my chosen one. I want you to promise me that you are going to try your hardest and your best to make it,’” Thomas said. “I told my mom I’m going to make it and take care of my whole family.

Shamarko Thomas could have come out of school last year but, because of his commitment to his mother, and family, stayed for his Senior season at Syracuse.

6-3, 238, ILB Kiko Alonso from Oregon continues to be a well kept secret during this off season and mostly because he’s recovering from a wrist injury and been unable to participate in any all-star bowls or the combine. His workout at the Oregon Pro Day on March 15th was the first real opportunity scouts and team executives have had to look at him.

The way things stand right now, Alonso could be had at the beginning of the 4th round. He’s tall for an NFL ILB but, considering the size of most NFL TEs coming into the league, Alonso could be a real asset vs. any kind of receiver crossing over the middle: something that’s been missing from the Chiefs LB corp.

During ILB Jovan Belcher’s career with the Chiefs he registered zero INTs. Kiko Alonso had 4 INTs in 2012 and 6 over the past two seasons.

While the Chiefs could use an ILB to shore up their coverage, his primary contribution would be to stop the run. He was second on his team with 81 tackles. Watching tape on him, you’ll notice he loves to to stick his nose into the middle of things, hit people and make plays. I think he’ll have to add some muscle mass to survive but, his body has room to grow.

Rob Rang of CBS Sports says this about Alonso,

I think he’s a terrific athlete. Character has been a concern and there have been medical concerns. He’s a bit of a wild card. But at the same time he has a real degree of upside to him. He has long legs and long arms and needs to learn how to use them better to get off blocks. He certainly can close on ball carriers. He’s still pretty raw. I think at Oregon they allowed him to run around and create havoc. I heard that he quit drinking. If that’s true then that’s going to be significant.

Kiko Alonso may in fact be a 4th round talent, but, his potential upside and the Chiefs need at the ILB position, makes him a player to watch on day two of the draft.

6-6, 313 OT Kyle Long is another lineman who may well be available at #63. Son of Hall of Famer Howie Long and brother of Rams DE Chris Long, he obviously has the genes to succeed at the pro level.

K. Long’s 4.94 40 time shows he’s physically cut from the same mold as his brother and father. From Nathan Kearns at ramblinfan.com,

“There was never any doubt about his pure athleticism and ability to learn and adapt quickly. He did nothing to disappoint on Saturday, clocking a sub-5.0 40-time (4.94 s), a Top 15 broad jump (107 in.), and a Top 10 20-yard shuffle time (4.63 s). Long showed excellent footwork and speed through the drills, and drew a ton of praise from Mike Mayock, even going so far as to tag him as a potential 1st rounder and an inevitable “starter” in the NFL.”

While K. Long played the Offensive Tackle position at Oregon he’s projected by many as a Guard. Mike Mayock also lists K. Long as his 4th best Guard available in the 2013 draft. Anyone related to Howie Long has to be worth considering.

With all the focus at the top pick of the draft, let’s not forget that the Chiefs will have solid choices at the 63rd pick. Although the 63rd pick this year is the first pick of the third round, in any normal year it would be a second round choice (neither New Orleans or Cleveland have a 2nd round pick this year).

Is there anyone you’d like to see the Chiefs consider at pick #63, if they happened to land in the Chiefs lap?

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