The Kansas City Chiefs have made three selections in the 2013 NFL Draft and have five picks to go. Quite a lot has transpired over the last couple of days and some of it has muddied the water in respect to the future of this franchise. At the same time, some things have become much clearer. I think after the last two days of draft magic, Chiefs fans can break down the franchise into three categories: what we know, what we think we know and what we don’t know.
I’ll start with what we know.
We know that the Chiefs got the absolute best player in the draft. This has been confirmed by everyone from Mike Mayock to Mel Kipper to the guy I talked to at the grocery store the other day. Nearly every Chiefs fan was happy with the Fisher pick. He’s mean and nasty and exactly the kind of offensive lineman that head coach Andy Reid wants on his football team. The most important thing to take away from this point is, the Chiefs got considerably better by taking Fisher. We know this for sure.
We know that with the signing of free agent Anthony Fasano from the Miami Dolphins and the early third round pick of tight end, Travis Kelce, incumbent TE, Tony Moeaki’s starting job is in jeaopardy. Watching some tape (what’s available anyways) shows Kelce as quite the draft value. I’ll save the whole “he’s the second coming of Tony Gonzales and will lead the Chiefs to the Promised Land” drabble for another time. There’s no such thing as another Tony G. If you’re looking for that, keep looking.
What the Chiefs did get, is a solid, run blocking, pass catching, tight end that was given a comparison to Rob Gronkowski. Again, with the comparisons, but this one is a bit more accurate as they have similar body and play styles. The guy has a lot of upside. He does have a couple of cons as well. The biggest is he doesn’t do much with the ball after he catches it. Regardless, at the spot he was drafted, Kelce was a great pick here and he will challenge both TE’s currently on the roster for playing time.
We know that not a single general manager or head coach coveted Geno Smith with a first round pick. We know that the team of Reid, and general manager, John Dorsey, meant what they said and they got the best quarterback available in the offseason in Alex Smith. We know that every pundit and “draft expert” leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft was absolutely correct when they said this was not the year for quarterbacks. We know three rounds have come and gone and only three quarterbacks have been pulled off the board.
Finally, we know that if back up running backs Cyrus Gray, Shaun Draughn, and Nate Eachus are still on the roster when training camp starts in the summer, they had better bring their “A” game. Although the pick of Knile Davis wasn’t popular with Chiefs fans by any stretch of the imagination, the fact is, he’s a 230 pound running back who can run a 4.3 40 yard dash. That’s fast for a big dude. That’s really fast for a big dude. He may take a roster spot or he may not, but we know he’ll be ready to compete.
The next category the Chiefs franchise falls into here isn’t quite as clear. After the first two days of the draft, while the topics already discussed are quite clear, the next few points are a bit fuzzier.
This is what we think we know.
We think any trade talks involving current starting left tackle Branden Albert are dead. Nobody in the Chiefs’ camp has confirmed this point and I don’t know if they will, but based on the fact that all reports pointed to the Chiefs’ leadership wanting a second round pick for Albert I think it’s safe to say it’s a dead issue. Where does that leave Albert and the Chiefs? That’s the part that’s pretty fuzzy. I’m sure he isn’t happy about being placed on the block and jerked around over the last couple of weeks. I’m sure he is less than enthused about his potential and likely replacement being drafted with the No. 1 overall pick. I’m sure he’s probably the most upset about the possibility of playing right tackle this season, instead of protecting Alex Smith’s blind side. Time will tell what the way ahead is with Albert.
The NFL is a copycat league. When something works, other coaches are not shy about “borrowing” that plan or some form of it and adopting it in their own system. One only has to look as far as the “two tight end” system that New England Patriots’ head coach, Bill Belichick has perfected or the “Wildcat” or even the most recent craze, the “run option quarterback.” Whatever works, everyone wants a piece of it.
It stands to reason that Andy Reid is no different. He’s in Kansas City to win. He needs his new quarterback to perform like he did during the last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. One of the keys to that success was Smith’s favorite target, tight end Vernon Davis. Could that be why Reid went out during the off-season and signed a free agent tight end and then used the 63rd on another TE? Are they trying to re-imagine the magic Smith found with Davis in the city by the bay? It would seem so, but it will depend on what kind of sets and formations Reid’s offense will run with Smith under center. Time will tell.
Dorsey has touted his best player available mantra since arriving in Kansas City. Why then, did he use the 96th overall pick on a running back that only had 320 yards all of last season with two broken ankles and seven fumbles in two games? Was this young man really the best player available on the board? Again, time will tell, but he could really be the thunder to Jamaal Charles’ lightning. This is what I was hoping for last year in the Peyton Hillis/Jamaal Charles combo and never really got. I think, if Davis can stay healthy and hold onto the ball, it might actually happen.
Finally, let’s talk about what we don’t know.
Will the Chiefs still look to trade Branden Albert? What value is left for him, other than future draft picks, which doesn’t help the Chiefs get better this season? If Albert stays in Chiefs Kingdom, where will he play? When will he show up to OTA’s and begin to participate in activities with his team? Is he angered by the situation, or is he treating the situation like the business transaction that he should? We don’t know what he’s thinking or what the future holds for him.
The best possible outcome in this situation is if Albert stays on the left side for one more season and leads this young, hungry, extremely talented offensive line to be the absolute best OL in NFL.
What will the receiving corps of the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs look like? What type of sets will they line up in? Most would assume that the offense would look similar to the Philadelphia Eagles, but a different team means different personnel and different looks.
The Chiefs have yet to take a receiver in the draft. They are clearly concentrating on the offense in an effort to make sure they are able to score points. Will their efforts translate into points? We shall see.
When it comes to Chiefs’ fans, they’re nothing if not passionate. The biggest noise they’ve made in the off-season is demand the Chiefs draft a quarterback. Even after Reid and Dorsey essentially used their second round pick on a quarterback, fans continued to demand a signal caller was drafted as well. Last night, during the latter half of the third round, my Twitter feed was jam packed with tweets from rabid Chiefs fans who wanted nothing more than for Dorsey to call Matt Barkley’s number. It didn’t happen.
Does this mean Reid and Dorsey are comfortable where they are in regard to the quarterback position? They’ve obviously named Alex Smith as their starter and paid Chase Daniel a nice “back-up QB” contract. Are they ok with letting Ricky Stanzi and Alex Tanney battle it out in training camp for the coveted “QB3” position? History would tell us this isn’t the case, as both of those quarterbacks were drafted by the previous regime and the new guys in town don’t have any loyalty or love for them. The good news is for Chiefs’ fans who want to see a QB drafted, there are five more picks with which to take a quarterback and there are still some great ones out there.
Many of these questions will be answered by the end of the draft today. Some may have to wait for the days and weeks ahead. There will be undrafted free agents to contact and more cuts and signings. I’ll keep repeating myself, but time will tell. Regardless, when it’s time to lace up their shoes and pads in September, all will be answered, and we’ll all be in for one hell of a ride.
Until next time, Addicts!