Thankfully, the NFL draft is almost upon us. After weeks of speculation, predictions, debates, and discussions fans will finally begin to get some answers when the Chiefs go on the clock with the first overall pick in just 10 days. I’m saving my final Chiefs draft pick predictions until next week, so it was a little bit of a struggle to come up with something new regarding the Chiefs draft that one of the other writers here at AA hasn’t already covered.
I originally thought I would write about whether or not the Chiefs would draft a QB in this draft. My question was, with both Alex Smith and Chase Daniel on the roster would the Chiefs feel obligated to fill other needs instead? I started to think about what round they might be willing to look at a QB and if there would be any QBs worth drafting left at that point. So I started looking at the specific spots the Chiefs are currently picking in the first 5 rounds (Picks: 1, 63, 96, 99, and 134). Then I started looking at a couple of prospect big boards to see what kind of QBs were likely to be available at those picks. I used both Drafttek’s and NFLDraftScout’s rankings to get a feel for where prospects were valued.
This got me thinking about other positions I thought the Chiefs might be interested in drafting. At that point I decided that instead of focusing solely on the QBs I would look at the Chiefs’ first five picks and see if I can find positions of need that may have draft value at the specific spots the Chiefs are drafting. John Dorsey is on record as saying he drafts for value over need. This means he won’t reach for a player that isn’t as good just to fill a need. Obviously the best scenario is when one of the best players available lines up with one of the team’s biggest needs. That’s what I set out to find, positions of need for KC that have a shot at providing the best player available when the Chiefs are on the clock.
In order to make the cut, a position had to have multiple players ranked within several slots of the Chiefs pick. That way it wasn’t reliant on one specific player still being available. Also, for the sake of this post I’m acting as if the Chiefs don’t acquire any additional picks. If KC were to land a 2nd rounder that may change things.
Let’s start with the first pick.
Round 1, Pick #1 Overall:
Best Value At Position Of Need – Offensive Tackle
I know not everyone is in love with the idea of KC taking a tackle with the first overall pick, but when it comes to value at the top of the draft OT is the clear winner. Luke Joeckel/Texas A&M was the top ranked prospect on both lists with Eric Fisher/Central Michigan ranking 2nd and 3rd and Lane Johnson/Oklahoma ranking 6th and 7th. So three of the top seven players available in this draft are offensive tackles. So if the Chiefs want to take the best player available they can do it and fill a need. I realize that if KC keeps Branden Albert this season that they would be essentially drafting a RT at #1 overall, but if they are out to take the best player and fill a need then offensive tackle is the way to go.
Round 3, Pick #63 Overall:
Best Value At Position Of Need – Wide Receiver
While this draft lacks an elite WR prospect like Randy Moss, Julio Jones, or AJ Green it is INCREDIBLY deep with starting caliber WR prospects. Prospects that could have easily been early second round picks in other drafts may find themselves slipping into the 3rd round this year. The following players all ranked in the #57-84 range on at least one of the big boards listed above:
Justin Hunter – Tennessee
Terrance Williams – Baylor
Quinton Patton – Louisiana Tech
Markus Wheaton – Oregon State
Stedman Bailey – West Virginia
Aaron Dobson – Marshall
Da’Rick Rogers – Tennessee Tech
Now, it’s a safe bet that not all of those players will still be on the board, but odds are that several of them will be. That would allow KC to take a player that could compete for the #2 WR spot as a rookie at the top of the third round. By the way, while John Dorsey was in Green Bay they took Greg Jennings at pick #52 and Randall Cobb at pick #64. In my opinion the only other position that comes close to the talent available at this pick is CB, and with the signings of Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson I think WR seems much more likely.
Round 3, Pick #96 Overall:
Best Value At Position Of Need – Quarterback
I could be wrong about this, but I have a feeling that there is going to be a couple of QBs still available at this point that many people had predicted would go much earlier. Basically, the fact that several teams addressed the QB position via guys like Carson Palmer, Matt Flynn, and Kevin Kolb make it less likely that many QBs will be drafted in the first round and may therefore push some of the guys originally mocked in the 2nd-3rd round back even farther. There are 8 QBs that have been regularly mocked in the top 100 picks: Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, EJ Manuel, Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon, Tyler Bray, and Zac Dysert.
Over the past 5 years the average amount of QBs taken in the first 3 rounds is only 5.4. The highest number of total QBs taken in the first 3 rounds during that time is 7. In a year where most feel the QB talent is down, it’s not out of the question that there could only be 4-5 QBs off the board when the Chiefs select at the end of the 3rd round. I wouldn’t even fall out of my chair if a guy like Tyler Wilson or Mike Glennon that were at one point mocked in the 1st round was still available. That means if Andy Reid wants a young QB to groom for the future this may be the prime time to snag one. The Chiefs pick again at #99 so they could easily wait a couple more picks, but my guess is that if you give all the QB needy teams one more go around in the 4th round that there won’t be much left to choose from in the 5th. At that point KC would be looking at guys like Matt Scott/Arizona, Landry Jones/Oklahoma, and Sean Renfree/Duke.
Round 4, Pick #99 Overall:
Best Value At Position Of Need – Running Back
Thus far in free agency Kansas City has not added a solid #2 RB to back up and share carries with Jamaal Charles. This may be a sign that they are looking to add one in the draft. Like WR, there aren’t any “super-star” prospects in this draft, but there are several mid round prospects that could become solid NFL contributors. The following backs are all ranked between #93-116 on at least one of the big boards listed above:
Montee Ball – Wisconsin
Andre Ellington – Clemson
Joseph Randle – Oklahoma State
Stepfan Taylor – Stanford
Mike Gillislee – Florida
Marcus Lattimore – South Carolina
Christine Michael – Texas A&M
Again, not all of these guys will be available with this pick, but several will be and KC could have their pick of which one they like best.
Round 5, Pick #134 Overall:
Best Value At Position Of Need – Offensive Line
At this point in the draft teams are looking for depth and developmental prospects and there are MANY options that will be available to do just that on the offensive line at this point in the draft. I don’t know if any of these players should start as rookies, but I think many of them may eventually develop into legit NFL starters. A 5th round pick that develops into a solid starter is great value, period. Even if takes them a few years to get there. Here is a list of players that at least one big board has as still available for KC in the 5th round:
Khaled Holmes – C – USC
PJ Lonergan – C – LSU
Hugh Thornton – G – Illinois
JC Tretter – G – Cornell
David Bakhitari – G/T – Colorado
Dallas Thomas – G/T – Tennessee
David Quessenberry – C/G/T – San Jose St.
Brennan Williams – T – North Carolina
Jordan Mills – T – Louisiana Tech
Xavier Nixon – T – Florida
Chris Faulk – T – LSU
Ricky Wagner – T – Wisconsin
I didn’t do the last three KC picks (#170, 204, and 207) because I think by the time you get to the 6th-7th rounds it’s more about individual project players that a team likes than it is positional depth/value. It’s possible that a certain position slides that deep into the draft, but I’d just be guessing if I tried to predict which one.
So if KC were to follow this blueprint what positions of need would not get addressed? The most glaring is probably the defensive front seven. KC could use more depth on the defensive line and another pass rush option. They are also in need of a replacement for Jovan Belcher at ILB, but perhaps the recent FA signings at LB will fill that hole.
The other positions that were ignored here are TE and safety. While KC doesn’t need to spend a high pick on either of those positions, a mid round pick to add depth is certainly a possibility.
So what do you think Addicts? If KC drafted those positions next week would you be happy? Do you feel like it would provide good value? Would it fill enough positions of need or do the defensive front seven, tight end, or safety have to be addressed in the draft? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!