Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

You Are What You Draft

In a strange way, this past draft – one of the most boring in recent memory – was the most interesting.

Four days ago, the new tandem of Head Coach Andy Reid and General Manager John Dorsey practically had a tabula rasa in the eyes of Chiefs fans. We could speculate on how they would change the franchise based on past decisions on different clubs. But, even there, they were not the sole decision-makers. This offseason is the first real peephole into how they will run this team for however long they are allowed to do so.

The main theme? When Dorsey says “best player available” he means best player available, regardless of position or the grades of other teams. The first pick that illustrated this was the first pick of the 2013 Draft.

We may never know how the trade negotiations between Dorsey and Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland went (although I’d like to think it was similar in tenor to the way that the Amateur Hour Podcast role-played it out), but we know those talks did not end in a trade of LT Brandon Albert to Miami. For the past three months, the greatest certainty in our predictions of what the Chiefs would do at 1st overall hinged on Albert’s fate.

Our good-but-not-great tackle was not traded by the time the Chiefs were required to turn in their card and select their first player. Nonetheless, the team picked another left tackle in Eric Fisher. Value is value in Dorsey’s eyes, and even without having moved the team’s current LT, he wanted to make the most of that pick and grabbed the guy who he felt was the best prospect in this Draft.

Then, after a very long wait for those who were watching the whole proceedings unfold, the Chiefs selected a tight end. This, also, was clearly not a need-driven pick. While he may not have sparkled quite as much since his magical 2010 season, TE Tony Moeaki, who was on IR throughout 2011, still has the potential to be a productive two-way TE in this league. Similarly, the new regime quickly signed TE Anthony Fasano in free agency who is similarly one of the best block-and-catch tight ends.

So, why pick TE Travis Kelce, who fits the same mold, at the top of the 3rd round? Well, obviously, Dorsey would not have used his second pick in the Draft on him unless he thought Kelce could be as good or better than what we already have on the team. The fact is that – paired with decent quarterbacks or no – Moeaki has produced very little outside of that 2010 season. More to the point, Dorsey is looking for value wherever he finds it. Kelce was high on his board and still available, so he took him, no questions asked.

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What followed was probably the biggest head-scratcher of the Chiefs 2013 draft: RB Knile Davis. In a draft that was thick with running backs in the mid rounds, Davis was expected by many to be an undrafted free agent. But, on the other hand, he fits Reid’s system perfectly. Line up the tape of Eagles RB LeSean McCoy and the former Razorback Davis and  you see plenty of similarities. Just like with McCoy, the commentating class are questioning Davis’ top end speed, and his ability to get it done with his small frame.

But, whether you like it or not, these are the kinds of guys that Coach Reid covets. He is looking for slightly undersized quick guys with vision to for the hole. McCoy has become a stud in this league and he was picked in the middle of the second round. Davis, who clocked in with a 4.37 40 time at the combine, got grabbed at the bottom of the 3rd. I’m not saying that he will be as good as McCoy, but I don’t think this pick was as surprising as many made it out to be. He is consistent with the model of an Andy Reid running back, and he may have been the only pure Reid guy in this draft.

After picking three players that landed in currently crowded position groups, the new regime then ticked a need by selecting Alabama LB Nico Johnson at the top of the 4th round. Initially, I wasn’t crazy about this pick. Basically all evaluations described him as a purely run-stuffing two-down linebacker who might be stout in the early downs but would be a liability in coverage. Immediately , this reminded me of the late Jovan Belcher, whose murderous departure from both life and team punctuated the Chiefs’ worst season in recent memory.

That tragic mess aside, we were already talking this time last year about the need to replace him or at least give him significant competition as we needed a guy able to chase down tight ends and wide receivers on 1st and 2nd down and he was particularly exposed in those situations. Nico Johnson doesn’t give us much more in that department.

However, we also have a new defensive coordinator and scheme. We are yet to see how DC Bob Sutton plans to use Nico and the rest of the defense, so it is possible that by getting the best “thumper” LB in the draft, the Chiefs put the last piece in place.

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

In a similar vein, the choice of CB Sanders Commings in the 5th round seemed strange, but after looking at his highlight tape, it became quickly clear that the Chiefs likely viewed him as more of a safety prospect than a CB that would add to our full stable of cornerbacks. Commings is a big, fast and physical guy who didn’t show the skills to be one of the top-rated cornerbacks, but he definitely has the talent to step in the place of the Chiefs’ oft-injured FS Kendrick Lewis.

Either way, I think there will now be some genuine competition in the defensive backfield and the same way that Reid says he likes to put his best five offensive linemen on the field, I think we will see the best five DB’s on the field in nickel situations, which could lead to some really interesting combinations.

Also, having five very good D-backs allows you to take your run-stuffing ILB off the field … a plan seems to be emerging here.

The last three picks in rounds 6 and 7 I believe have to be viewed as special teamers and practice squad guys until proven otherwise. Generally, the selection of a fullback screams “special teams stud” – KSU fans please let me know if I am wrong in this particular instance.

So, what do we take from this? Well, we had already gotten a hint of this from free agency. Dorsey does not want this team to be a leaky ship on paper. There will be no holes and any young prospect coming in will have to compete and will be chosen purely on their talent. They will not be drafted and expected to fill some void that the team left open like with WR Jon Baldwin. I don’t know if this strategy will work, but the man has credibility coming from the Green Bay Packers.

For four years we had all been adjusting to the Patriots Way, whatever the hell that meant, but now we are starting to get a glimpse of this new identity that Dorsey and Reid will be imprinting upon our Kansas City squad.

What do you think, Addicts? Tired of imported philosophies, or do you think this one will work?

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Tags: Chiefs Draft Class Draft 2013 NFL Draft NFL Draft 2013

  • Chris Foosman

    I’m a fan of how they drafted. O-line and the defensive backfield can always use more picks in this league. No matter what happens, we can still use a right tackle too. That was something Pioli never got as he reached on picks to fill holes and missed on an enormous number of d-linemen/linebackers every year. I just hope that they’re more open with the press and fans too. The Patriot way is only good when you win. At least with King Carl’s waining years I felt connected to the players and coaches.

    • Chris Foosman

      And I should point out, fill skill position holes. It was only in his last year Pioli even attempted to do anything meaningful at right tackle.

  • Brandon

    Take a look at K-State film. Braden Wilson is more than a special teams player IF Reid decides to utilize a fullback. Wilson is 6′ 3″ and an absolute machine when it comes to lead blocking. He’s a big reason KSU and Klein were able to run like they did. I think he’s an excellent pick if you need a fullback.

    • KCMikeG

      Plus he played FB/RB&TE. Versatility is key.

      • Guest

        Totally Agree! Between Wilson, Fisher, and the new TE (read that he is a Beast Blocking TE)
        Charles is going to have some major space to run to pay dirt.
        The season can’t start fast enough!

        • KCMikeG

          My crystal ball says YES! 1,600 yards. Plus lots of receiving yards too. It also says that surprise performer of the year is Dexter McCluster out of the backfield. I hope that Reid lines them both up in the backfield instead of rotating them. Defenses will wet themselves.

  • Guest

    Nicholas…. Love the heading of this blog! How true!
    I think we have a tandem GM/HC that is finally going to bring success to our Franchise! As I have called them the “Dynamic Duo”, Clark Hunt finally got it right!
    Not only did I like the way we drafted, but the Rookie FA haul was even more impressive! Dorsey knows his Pro Football and said he had waited 14 years to land a GM job with this historically hailed Franchise!
    When I found out we landed Andy Reid as HC, I was actually hoping we could grab Dorsey away from Green Bay! He is one of the BEST evaluators of talent in the NFL! I don’t think the Chiefs could go wrong with this combo!
    Just my humble opinion, of course, but what a plus when you land a GM like Dorsey and he WANTED to come to KC!
    I see better things happening in the Chiefs Kingdom and that’s a GREAT thing!
    GO CHIEFS!!!!!

  • kudave

    I think, for the first time in a while, that we’re back to the “Kansas City Chiefs way”. No more Patriot way, Parcels style, or Harmful Herm.
    I can finally break out my Chiefs cool-aid and red tinted sun glasses. I have a lot of hope for my team again!

    • Spencer

      its called we arn’t just going by one mans philosophy anymore,we are seeing a mix of Reid (the of old Eagles way (not anymore thou) and the Dorsey (packers way)….rather then looking at 1 man, we are looking at 2…and we are blending them into something new…the Chiefs way^^

      • David Fritch

        No more Napoleon walking around stair wells picking up candy wrappers smellin his own farts Pioli !!

      • KCPauly

        GO CHIEFS(WAY)!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Scott Mahurin

    Good read. I wouldn’t underestimate DE Mike Catapano. I think we stole him in the seventh round. All in all, I think we did pretty good. I also kinda like the 28 year old QB we took in the second round and the 21 year old QB we stole from Miami.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    The Knile Davis pick convinced me that Dorsey isn’t a strict adherent to the BPA philosophy. I know each team’s big board can vary, but there’s no way they thought he was the “best player available” there. I’m not even sure he was the best “runningback” available there. He’s also not a smallish back like McCoy. Davis is a rocked up 225. McCoy hovered somewhere around 205.

    • Brody Hall

      If the fumbling issues can be fixed then he is a complete badass sir. If it were not for fumbles he would be the top rb in this draft… Btw EVERYONE sucked who played for arkansa last season lol.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        There are also concerns about his durability. Don’t forget that part.

        • KCPauly

          But if the rotation is right then it will take alot of abuse of all the RB’s

    • KCMikeG

      He was a beast in 2010 before the injury. R&D worked him out so they must think he is going to provide what they need. As you pointed out he is not a small back but a big dog, that we don’t have – plus his amazing speed. IF he is healthy – which was the concern about him along with the fumbles last year – he will be a difference maker.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        The fact that he’s not injured now doesn’t mean those injuries won’t return. The kid’s been nagged by injuries since high school. I hope he has a clean bill of health for the rest of his career, but I’m a bit concerned about it.

        He’ll be a big asset to the team if he’s completely healthy and can shore up the fumbling problem.

        • KCMikeG

          I know what you are saying about the injury bug but he has never had a ACL/PCL/MCL/Achilles type injury or concussions which are the ones that seem to hang on like a desperate girlfriend. He has broken bones which heal just fine w/o long term concerns. The fumbling is a bigger concern for me but there have been plenty of guys, Charles included, that have overcome that through NFL coaching.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            The ankle’s been a recurring injury. He’s broken it twice.

          • David Fritch

            He just needs to listen to his mamma and drink more MILK!

          • KCMikeG

            Ankle injuries are nothing new for Davis, who was limited to 33 carries for 278 yards after breaking an ankle his senior season in high school. Davis re-injured the same ankle during his first spring practice at Arkansas as a freshman, but surgery and rehabilitation appeared to have corrected the problem as he ran through SEC defenses during the second half of last season. He was the leading SEC RB AFTER breaking it twice. While you are right that he has broken the same ankle before that does not mean it will happen again.

            When a bone fractures, it begins the healing process by forming a callus at the fracturesite, where calcium is deposited to aid rebuilding, said Dr. Terry D. Amaral, director of pediatric orthopedic surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. There may be a brief period in the healing process when the fracture site is stronger than the surrounding bone. But they later reach equal strength, and the fracture site is no more or less likely to break again. Dr. Amaral said that in studies in which healed bones were subjected to bending and twisting forces, the repaired bones were capable of breaking anywhere, including the fracture site.

    • David Fritch

      You are spot on with both comments, I was thinking those same two things. Davis is Large for his speed, and was probably not BPA on anyone’s board at that point. I have always believed the BPA talk was just a smoke-screeen to not tip his hand to anyone listening.

      • David Fritch

        Also if you look at Davis’s tape, he really looks MUCH faster than his 40-time. He is a burner on the field :)

    • Danny W

      This was my gripe about Davis. He was ranked at number 20 I do believe. BPA my foot. I also dare say Nico Johnson was not the BPA were he was taken. I hope the players turn out well and do great things but I’m a bit skeptical of the picks.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        I’m fine with Dorsey not being a strict adherent of the BPA philosophy. I personally think unless you’re one of the absolute best teams in the league, you draft best available at a position of need. Johnson fits that mold.

  • Jim Harper

    My first reaction after the draft was one of puzzlement, but after careful study of each of them it looks brilliant. Even all the fans demanding a QB got a great deal in Bray who probably has the most upside of any of them. Every review of him I read compares him to Cutler. I am most curious about
    Reid’s plans for RT.

    • KCMikeG

      I agree totally Jim! Been doing my research too as I was a little “meh’ over the draft at first. They didn’t go for the “names” which makes some question them. They went for the BPA for our team. Not the BPA over all. Smart! The big concern that dropped Bray out of the draft is his work ethic and attitude. Being a big fish in a little pond can do that. Getting tossesd into the ocean with the shark will scare that BS right out of him or he will be gone by preseason. Who knows maybe he is Reid’s new develop and trade for a 2nd round pick next year QB??

    • David Fritch

      I also see that Kelce is compared to Gronk in I’m wondering if he will make the connection with Alex that Vernon Davis did. I’ll bet we are going to build the offense around the option and passing to our TE’s.

  • David Fritch

    I believe the thinking behind Davis is this: He’s going to stay healthy because he only gets 10 carries a game. In a rotation of Davis, McCulter, Charles (RUN-DMC) eveyone has fresh legs and you drastically limit wear and tear. Add this to the fact we just drafted a monster at FB for short yardage and the plan starts to become more clear!

  • ArrowFan

    Why draft a developmental QB when you can sign one as an UDFA. I think it is a uniqe year in that a guy like Bray is an UDFA in the first place. What a draft cant wait for camp to start. Lets start taking bets on the team that is the first to have a drunk driving insident between now and camp. Faiders becouse there is no real leadership on that team right now.

  • Jamie Denton

    I was reading an article the other day and coach Reid had came up with a name for the new scheme they were planning to unleash in KC. He called it the “Farmland Frenzy” if I am not mistaken. If I am someone please correct me! But I don’t know about the rest of the CHIEFS FANS OUT THERE but I am getting sick and tired of getting NO RESPECT ONCE AGAIN from the media. The only thing mentioned anymore about our CHIEFS is the ALBERT TRADE or lack of! And I for one am ready for the FARMLAND FRENZY to be unleashed on our NFL opponents this year and lets show them the CHIEFS WILL BE IN THE PLAYOFFS! P.S. as for the draft Dorsey and Reid had a plan and they stuck to their guns! Good job guys!! I have the FAITH in our new regime!!!!!