James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs Draft 2013: Going Long with Long Ball!


Each year, I try to get (read harangue, cajole, bribe) the king of Drafttek’s Big Board, my friend, Long Ball. After many emails, and promises of lots of beer and some good Carolina BBQ, he agreed to answer a few questions about this year’s draft and the Chiefs. Long Ball is a good friend of mine and I am very grateful he agreed to give us some insight. Although he is a Cowboys’ fan, he has a special place in his heart for our Chiefs. Long Ball combines a good overall knowledge of football, a good scouting mind and enough of an outside perspective on the Chiefs to wipe away the Chiefs blinders.  He is in the process of writing his annual series: The Big Uglies which will be posted on Drafttek.com. I recommend it highly.

 

Last year’s draft was headlined by Andrew Luck. This year’s draft doesn’t seem to have that same type of star power. Are we blinded by the lack of a star QB or is this draft lighter on super blue chip prospects?

Ordinarily there are anywhere from 18 to 22 “blue-chip” prospects in a given draft . . . this year the number may be less than 12, as far as immediate impact players.  However, this draft may be as deep from a “contributor” standpoint as any I’ve graded in a long time.  And yes, this is a weak draft for the QB position. 

 

The popular perception of this draft is that it is three rounds deep with starter prospects. Is that how you read it? Where are the deep spots in the draft and where is it lacking?

Pretty much . . . the 2013 NFL Draft is deep at offensive guard, right offensive tackle, defensive tackle, defensive end and/or 3-4 outside linebacker, 4-3 outside linebacker, cornerback and safety. Now keep in mind that offensive guard is deep almost every year as there are offensive tackles who lack the footwork to play the perimeter and move inside at the next level . . . but there are some guards who played the position in college this year who will play at the next level.

Quarterback, feature (“bell-cow”) running backs, “plug-n-play” wide receivers and offensive centers are lacking this year.

 

You are always good for a dark horse Big Ugly prospect. Do you have one this year?

I have a few . . . at OT I like Menelik Watson from Florida State. The junior from Manchester, England played in just 12 games this season, to bring his career total to 20.  Watson, a former boxer and Division I basketball player for Marist College, didn’t start playing football until his sophomore season at Saddleback College (CA).

I also like OT Terron Armstead from Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who dominated opponents in SWAC play. Terron was an injury replacement for Dallas Thomas at the Senior Bowl and didn’t look out of place in Mobile. He had a rough start in the final practice with some bad reps in one-on-one drills, but he recovered and improved throughout practice, finishing strong and earning praise from coaches.

At OG, there are a couple of college tackles that I think will excel inside:  Vinston Painter from Virginia Tech and David Bakhtiari of Colorado.  And finally, if a team is looking for versatility, they could do far worse than David Quessenberry of San Jose State who can play all 5 OL positions and play them well.

Dark horse prospects on the DL would include Montori Hughes of Tennessee-Martin, Nicholas Williams of Samford and Jared Smith of New Hampshire (thought I had better pick some small-school prospects that not everyone has heard of).

 

The Chiefs have a new Head Coach and General Manager once again. You watched Andy Reid coach the Eagles for years. One thing that concerns me about him is his lack of success after losing his legendary Defensive Coordinator, Jim Johnson. Is that too simplistic a view? What are your thoughts on hiring John Dorsey?

The conclusion is not simplistic but you need to take it a little deeper . . . Andy Reid did depend upon Jim Johnson, who was as adaptable a DC as the game has seen.  The reason I say that is he knew when the Eagles WC offense was not controlling the ball, he had to increase the attacking nature of the Philadelphia defense and get turnovers.  The West Coast offense can utilize a rushing attack and I sincerely hope Reid will include that facet in his game plans for the Chiefs.  Reid will base decisions on a trust factor (moving Juan Castillo from OL to DC) and the results can come back to bite him.  New DC Bob Sutton has a disciplined, yet varied, background and I hope he can grow to adapt on the fly as quickly as Johnson could.

I like the Dorsey hire . . . he has gained excellent, solid experience through the Green Bay regime, was hired by Ron Wolf and has a “roll up your sleeves” work ethic as opposed to the “I’m smarter than everyone else” attitude of Scott Pioli.

 

While fans look at the first round or two of the draft, the money in the draft is in pulling good players out of rounds three and beyond. The Chiefs could use a 4th corner to develop and backup C/G. Are there any players you like in the mid-late rounds in those positions? 

Both starters (Brandon Flowers and Javier Arenas) are small; yet the Chiefs have acquired some nice-sized CB’s over the past few years (DeQuan Menzie, Jalil Brown, Neiko Thorpe).  I would continue that trend and look at Darius Slay of Mississippi State, Blidi Wreh-Wilson of Connecticut or Tharold Simon of LSU . . . all 3rd to 4th round prospects.

If you want a C/G prospect, the aforementioned Quessenberry should be available in the 4th round . . . as should any of the other “Dark Horses” I mentioned earlier.

 

Andy Reid is an excellent developer of Quarterbacks. Are there any later round Quarterbacks that you recommend we keep our eye on? 

Matt Scott of Arizona is getting some attention but I like Brad Sorensen of Southern Utah . . . and Jeff Tuel of Washington State is mentally tough.

 

Long Ball, even though you live in Cowboy country, you do have some love for the Chiefs. If you are making the call and the Chiefs can not trade down, who would you select and why?

Well, I have to address the Branden Albert situation . . . the young man has made it very clear that he considers himself a LOT (and of course he would, because he wants to be paid) after being franchised.  Donald Stephenson got some playing time last year as a rookie, but with the release of Eric Winston the OT position must be addressed.  There are only 3 “plug-n-play” LOT prospects this year (Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson) and all will go in the first 10-15 picks.  So back to Albert . . . did you franchise him to trade him or play him?  And if you play him, do you negotiate a long-term contract for an OT with back problems (even though he’s only played 5 years)?

I would take Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M and never look back.

 

It does look like the Chiefs are zoning in on an Offensive Tackle. Andy Reid values Left and Right Tackles equally. If the rumored long term deal for Branden Albert is consummated, that wouldn’t keep the Chiefs from drafting Joeckel. I know you have been impressed with Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson. The Chiefs are actively shopping the first pick in the draft. They would like to recoup the Second Round pick they traded to San Francisco for Alex Smith. Do Fisher and/or Johnson come into play only if the Chiefs can trade down? Do you see a viable trade possibility for the Chiefs? Who would want to move into #1 and who would they be targeting? 

Well, let’s discuss the 3 tackles . . . Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M is the #1 LOT in this year’s draft class.  He only had an average performance at the Combine with a 5.30 forty (1.81 for the 10 yard split, which is more important for the Big Uglies), 4.68 shuttle, 7.40 3-cone, 28.5” vertical, 9’2” broad and 27 bench reps.  This gives him an explosion factor of 65 and his lateral agility is outstanding (0.62), plus his 34-1/4” reach and 10-1/8” hands make it easier for him to handle the perimeter.

Luke is smooth in pass protection out of his stance, demonstrating excellent lateral agility and balance to “catch” the defender, handling speed, counter-moves and bull rushes.  If you wanted to produce a training tape of OL fundamentals, you could do far worse than to film Joeckel’s posture, a picture of technique with knees bent, butt down and both his head and hands up.  Excellent recognition and anticipation in pass protection, as he picks up stunts and blitzes.

In run blocking, Joeckel is quick off the snap, maintains low pad level and leverage, and utilizes the strength in both his upper and lower body to drive his opponent off the line.  He has excellent hand placement (inside the numbers), progresses well to the second level and shows effective mobility in blocking secondary targets.  The boy keeps his legs churning with the short, choppy steps not often seen in current OL prospects . . . sorry about my salivating, but Ol’ Long Ball just doesn’t get to witness the “old school” fundamentals very often.  Luke is also well-schooled in the art of cut-blocking and is durable, having started all 37 games of his collegiate career at left tackle.

Joeckel is built for the position with a lean, tapered upper body and long arms . . . but it’s his pronounced lower body that produces his leverage and power.  There are many long college tackles that come into the league and have to work on squats in order to anchor and handle the bull rushes of NFL defensive linemen . . . Joeckel is already there, as his butt and legs look like they could be attached to an offensive guard.

The best senior LOT prospect made some money at the Senior Bowl . . . Eric Fisher from Central Michigan!  I was real impressed with how smooth and balanced his movements were for a man with a 6’7”, 305 lb frame.  Quite frankly, he reminds me of Matt Kalil from last year’s draft class . . . but there are some differences.

Fisher, who carries 305 lbs on his 6’7” frame, had good results at the Combine with a 5.05 forty (1.70 10-yard split), 4.44 shuttle, 7.59 3-cone, 28-1/2” vertical, 10’ broad jump and 27 bench reps.  His 34-1/2” arms with 10-1/2” hands, his explosion factor is 66, his lateral agility factor is 0.60 . . . he’s quite a specimen!

In pass blocking, Eric rarely lost the edge battle to college DE’s due to his nimble footwork, lateral agility and length . . . he is such a coordinated athlete for his size that his ability to move in any direction appears to be effortless.  He exhibits natural knee bend and reach to send edge rushers around the pocket and is quick enough on recovery to cut off the inside rush lane.  His hand placement is solid, high and within the numbers; however, when he allows his hands to slide down, stronger ends can get into his pads and drive him back.  Due to his lack of lower body development (the main reason he is ranked behind Joeckel), Fisher can get caught by a bull rush for playing too high in his stance.

Fisher is an athletic run blocker who gets off the snap with quickness and more pop than one would expect, making him desirable for a power running game (essential in short yardage).  He also possesses the lateral movement to effectively wall off opponents on the edge, and speed to get to the second level and at the appropriate angle to prevent defenders from reaching the play (evident on combo blocks from lineman to linebacker).  Eric is a fiery competitor, punctuating the end of his strong blocks by extending his arms through the defender for emphasis.

Eric has some work ahead of him to solidify and improve his technique at the next level and hours of power squats in the weight room to develop his lower body . . . but that’s what NFL offensive line coaches are paid to do!  The coaches will find that they have plenty to work with . . . I like this kid!

Lane Johnson surprised me at the Senior Bowl . . . so much so, I went back to my Oklahoma game tapes to do some re-grading.  Early in the year, I had labeled him as a “finesse” OL prospect, and I’ll have to admit part of it is my disdain for the spread offense (as it applies to OL assignments and blocking techniques) and part of it was QB Landry Jones always having “deer in the headlights” eyes, which I blamed on the OL.

His combine results made TE’s blush:  4.72 in the forty (1.61 for the 10-yard split), 4.52 shuttle, 7.31 3-cone, 34” vertical, 10’02” broad jump and 28 bench reps.  His 35-1/4” arms have 10-1/8” hands on the end of them, his explosion factor is 72, but his lateral agility factor is 0.20, evidence of his lack of time at the position . . . but there is also evidence that he is growing into the position.

Johnson is an athlete . . . the former HS quarterback who began the 2010 season at OU at tight end before switching to defensive end midway through the season, starting at right tackle in 2011 and left tackle in 2012 should have the native intelligence and overall perspective to play the most important position on the OL.  With a long frame accentuated by long arms (35”) that have a strong pair of hands on the end of ‘em, Lane not only looks the part but plays with more power than I anticipated.  His kick-slide may be better than both Joeckel and Fisher, as his quick feet allow him to mirror the defender.  Although he could build up his lower body, he keeps his butt low in pass protection, maintains an extremely wide (but not overbalanced) base which allows him to utilize his length to keep rushers at bay.  He has large, powerful hands but constantly has to work at keeping them inside the numbers.  Johnson is a natural bender with flexible joints

In the running game, Lane explodes off the snap using wide, choppy steps to maintain the initial surge.  He’s physical, got a bit of that “Long Ball Nastiness” and locks down defenders, sealing the edge and continuing to engage which creates nice running lanes.  Johnson needs to keep his head up and eyes elevated to improve his blocking angles . . . he can overextend himself from time to time.

I believe all 3 of these young men will be selected in the top half of the 1st round . . . let’s look at the teams drafting below KC.  Philadelphia (#4), Cleveland (#6), Arizona (#7), Buffalo (#8), Tennessee (#10), San Diego (#11), Miami (#12), Tampa Bay (#13), Carolina (#14) and St. Louis (#16) could all make a case for drafting an OT (even though the position may not be their top need). If 30% of those 10 teams select 1 of those 3 tackles, they are gone . . . that’s the reason for my earlier statement.

Well, you asked me what time it was and I told you how to build a clock . . . LOL!  Potential trade partners for the Chiefs #1 . . . I would think you would look at teams who are fairly solid and deep and feel like they are an impact player away on the defensive side of the ball (think pass-rusher, whether outside or inside).  Green Bay, Houston and San Francisco are 3-4 teams and can fill those needs later in the draft, Baltimore is gutting their team and tends to stay put (ain’t Ozzie amazing?) so I would say the two best candidates are Atlanta and Denver.  The Chiefs’ 1st round pick (according to Jimmy’s Draft Chart) is worth 3,000 points . . . Denver at #28 is worth 660 points and Atlanta at #30 is worth 620 points.  That means Denver would have to include their 2nd round pick (320 points), 3rd round pick (140 points), 4th round pick (50 points), 5th round pick (29.8 points), they don’t have a 6th round pick, so 7th round pick (4.2 points), Peyton Manning’s 2nd born child, John Elway’s 1st born grandchild, and then we go into 2014.  Now, I could go into the same exercise for Atlanta but I think you get my point . . . unless a team throws in a solid 1stteam starter, we’re talking “The Great Train Robbery” (Dallas fleecing Minnesota for Hershel Walker).  Unfortunately, KC picked a bad year to have the #1 choice overall . . . it just ain’t gonna happen!

 

I want to thank Longball for taking the time out of his busy schedule to share some insights with us. Keep an eye on his dark horses. He usually hits on them. Keep an eye on the Draft Tek site. His annual “Big Uglies” series is a great read. I keep it near me on draft day!

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs Popular

  • Ron White

    Patrick, Maybe Long Ball would come around sooner if you offered him some GREAT KC BBQ vs. the good Carolina BBQ……

    • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

      KC Q is great, to be sure, Carolina Q is very good too.

      • berttheclock

        But, which “Carolina BBQ”? The eastern peppery vinegary, the western mountain region of molasses and tomato base or the more southern area of mustard based? In Portland, OR, a Texan has a great BBQ place and makes all three Carolina types. He even sells them in local stores by the name f Podnah’s Pit. All three are excellent. I’d say the vinegary one goes best with pulled pork, while that molasses/tomato is great with brisket or chickenand closer to the KC version which, originally,came from Memphis. The South Carolina mustard type has it’s moments

        • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

          Someone knows his Carolina Q! Around here, the eastern version dominated, but i would probably take Longball to Queen City Q, where they serve all three types on one plate and you can sample all of them.

  • KCMikeG

    Great work reaching out and bring in a fresh perspective Paddy! You do us a great service here. I would much rather spend hours on AA than wandering from one site to another. Keep on bring it! Looking forward to fantasy FB already.

    I like Fisher and Johnson better than Joeckel. But I really liked David Quessenberry of San Jose State at the Senior Bowl over all the others. We can get him in the 3rd-4th round and can play all 5 OL positions and play them well.

    IMHO I will predict that Dorsey & Reid pull off the “The Great Train Robbery” or at least a “Respectable Subway Mugging” via a trade for our 1st pick. LB confirmed your question about the depth into the 3rd round with an affirmative, right? Then why wouldn’t we take just about any offer from a top 10 picking team? Wouldn’t getting Fisher or Johnson and even nothing more than A SINGLE 2nd round pick to replace our AS trade be better than Joeckel and nothing else? With AS solidified as our starter and our back up Daniels with potential and two unknowns that could develop yet under the right coaching wouldn’t we be better served with EJ Manuel and that missing AS 2nd rounder than Geno and none?

    • Jim Harper

      I am with you Mike. This was one helluva informative post. Thanks from me too Paddy for bringing that in . Outstanding! I am intrigued with this Quessenberry kid. Maybe that is our RT. Every time I see that name it makes me think of the Quiz coming in to save games. I had season tickets back then and it was a blast. The good ole days in the mid 80′s. Had box seats (4) second row from the field just past first base, and the tickets were only $9 per seat. But I digress.

    • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

      Michael:

      It’s a quality versus quantity issue. From where i sit, If I had a offer to drop down from Joeckel to Fisher and gain a 2nd round pick, I would do it in a heartbeat. Lane Johnson would give me pause. I think the Chiefs are at the point where we need a few quality pieces, not more depth quantity pieces. I try to keep in mind the fact that the second round of the draft has a high bust rate, So, if you trade down and pick up another second round pick, you have about a 50% chance of that pick being basically worthless.

      • KCMikeG

        Hey Merlin. Thanks so much for the post! Please read my glowing review of your thoughts above which I credited to Paddy. Still thanks to Paddy for bringing such talented contributors like you.

        I get what you are saying. I differ in that I believe all three could start day one. I am reading of concerns with Joeckel ( his footwork specifically) that I hadn’t heard before. I am hearing just the opposite about Johnson recent ascent in the rankings and he plus a #2 would still be more valuable than just Joeckel. Fisher would be the best option in a trade down though.

        The 2nd round bust rate has been gradually increasing over the last 10 years but Walter Football expects it to approach a success rate of 60% in the next 10. Maybe this is the year to jump start that correction. One thing every draft expert agrees upon, as LB did in your post, is that this is one of the deepest drafts with starter caliber players as deep as the 3rd round. The 50% 2nd round success/bust rate is a 3% increase in the average over the last 10 years. The reality is the success rate for the 1st round isn’t much better at 46% bust and has been trending even faster upward from 41%. Success in the draft at any round is a crap shoot and is to be savored for sure. The links below are for your enjoyment. Thanks again & keep bring the good stuff Merlin!

        http://walterfootball.com/nfldraftology408_2.php

        http://walterfootball.com/nfldraftology408_1.php

        • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

          Michael:

          I think what makes AA great is the conversations. It takes good responses like yours to have a good conversation. Thanks for commenting!

          As to your point, it’s where reasonable people can disagree. Let’s run some things up for discussion. Let’s stipulate that both Joeckel becomes a top 5 tackle, and Fisher become top 10. Johnson is someone who will end up around 15th. Would you give want Johnson and a second or Joeckel? That really depends on who you get in round two. If you get Flowers, sure the trade looks good.. If you get McCluster????? You may be on the losing end of that trade.

          The position I am working from is this. If you are picking #1, you better get a perennial Pro Bowl player. If you trade down and give that up, you better get come out better in the long run. If you think Johnson is better than Joeckel or Fisher, go ahead and make that trade. Personally, I am comfortable with either Joeckel or Fisher.. So, I would stay put unless I knew I could get one of those two.

          • KCMikeG

            Thanks. Based on your stipulated future rankings I would be great with Fisher (an improvement of 5-10 position ranking from Albert being ranked 12th and a 50% chance of success in the 2nd round. I would be fine with Johnson who at your ranking would be an even trade for Albert plus that 50% 2nd rounder.

            Both these options keep us as good as if not a good step better at LT and give us a shot at another starter. I would be thrilled with Flowers and even with McCluster as that #2. IMO we have not seen the best of Dexter yet and Reid is the HC that will utilize him into a breakout season more than justifying that 2nd round pick.

            I’m a bit of a gambler so sign me up for Fisher with a 50% shot at on of the the top 2nd round picks over the last few years like RGIII, Von Miller, Suh, Jason Smith, Chris Long, Megatron or Reggie Bush.

    • http://www.arrowheadaddict.com Patrick Allen

      Don’t thank me, thank Merlin. This was all him. I just posted it. And apparently forgot to switch the author over to Merlin I will do that now. Sorry Merlin.

      • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

        Paddy:

        Not a problem at all. I appreciate you putting it up for me. I am glad the folks here appreciate LongBall’s time and effort. He spends a lot of time scouting and putting together the Big Board. It’s a huge undertaking and I am glad he is willing to take some time out of his busy life to give AA some good information.

      • KCMikeG

        Thanks for retaining such great talent for us to enjoy and/or debate with on the topics of our passion.

  • berttheclock

    Great breakdown and thanks for including the point system devised by Jimmy’s Draft Chart. I had seen it before but forgotten about it. Puts trade evaluation in better pespective.
    But, your point about this draft being deeper in players which could add to a team instead of just being instant starters reminds me even more of how this draft looks very similar to the ’08 draft. Several quality O-linemen and 2 QBs in the 1st, but, in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of 2008, such as Jordy Nelson, Brandon Flowers, Tracy Porter, Matt Forte, Ray Rice, DeSean Jackson, Chilo Rachal, Jamaal Charles, Mario Manningham, Tom Zbikowski, Jemichael Finley, Cliff Avril, Wheeler, and a slew of others who are still in the NFL.

  • jimfromkcj

    It seems to me that most of the guys who were on the Geno bandwagon are touting anybody but Joeckel. Is that Impression just mine or are some of you getting the same vibes. I find it human nature that when you are on the losing side of an argument and have to move on there is a reluctance to give credence to those who were on the other side. I have been for drafting Joeckel because of watching him perform against some of the best defensive players in the college ranks, and have seen more folks touting GENO by giving his inflated stats, gained by the pansies they played in the first 5 games. K State pretty much showed him for the player he was against good competition, and K State wasn’t all that good.