Feb 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri Tigers wide receiver L

2014 NFL Combine: Quick Thoughts on the Offensive Players

Over the weekend we got the chance to watch all of the offensive players go through drills and testing, and there were some players who really stood out with their performances. Here’s a quick run through of some of the things I noticed over the weekend.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

- Kansas State’s Cornelius Lucas did not participate in the combine drills due to a stress fracture in his left foot. This was disappointing as he would be an interesting replacement for Donald Stephenson as the team’s swing tackle. Lucas did do measurements and appears to have shed some weight while also coming in as a true 6-8 lineman with a 36 3/4-inch reach. He’s best at pass protection and his biggest issues are more technique related than talent.

- Joel Bitonio of Nevada graded really well at the combine. He finished in the top five for the 40-yard dash, vertical leap, broad jump, three cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle. Kansas City has some interior offensive line issues and Bitonio could be a good guy to fill one of the holes.

- Man, the Chiefs picked a bad year to have the number one overall pick. There are at least three – if not five – left tackles who look to be more polished than Eric Fisher in this draft. In fact, Fisher probably doesn’t even get drafted in the first round this year if he were in this class.

- Missouri’s Justin Britt had a solid combine but probably didn’t do enough to get him out of the sixth round.

- Mayock on Dakota Dozier: “He’s one of those guys who I think is going to be a really good professional.” Several points in the broadcast by multiple people say the word “versatility” in reference to Dozier. KC needs that with potential losses of Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz, and Jon Asamoah.

- There appears to be a lot of good depth to this offensive lineman class. Adding some picks in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds would be a good idea for the Chiefs.

TIGHT END

- Whatever thoughts of Eric Ebron dropping to the Chiefs at 23 were laid to rest at this combine. He’s the clear number one tight end in this draft.

- Reggie Jordan proved he has the athleticism to play in the NFL. The Missouri Western product is intriguing because the Chiefs should know him really well given his proximity to Kansas City and because the MWSU is where the Chiefs hold their training camp. Tight end isn’t really very high on the Chiefs list of needs, but if KC can add some picks at the back end of the draft then Jordan should be a guy they consider.

- Troy Niklas is huge and athletic. He’s basically the Kelvin Benjamin of the tight end class: raw, but could be outstanding if he hits.

RUNNING BACK

- Dri Archer ran a 4.26 40, 6.86 3 cone, and 4.06 shuttle. He may be the guy Scott Pioli thought he was getting in Dexter McCluster.

- Henry Josey tested really well. He finished in the top five in the 40 and both shuttles, did 20 reps on the bench press (very solid), and performed well in the three cone. There’s no question he’s healthy based on those times.

Josey also looked good in the drills, particularly in passing drills. The way running backs value in the draft has changed, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s available late in the draft. Josey would make a lot of sense as the Chiefs’ third running back if KC thinks he can play on special teams coverage units.

- It is really hard watching DeAnthony Thomas and not think he would be a devastating returner for Kansas City. I could easily see him being the replacement for Dexter McCluster’s role in the offense if the Chiefs took him.

WIDE RECEIVER

- The depth at wide receiver in this draft is insane. So much so that the Chiefs could probably get a first round caliber wide receiver in the third round and spend their first round pick on something with less depth like a pass rushing defensive lineman or a free safety.

- Guys who looked really good that we haven’t talked a lot about included Brandin Cooks, Donte Moncrief, Martavis Bryant, Quincy Enunwa, and Kevin Norwood.

- Two small school guys – Jeff Janis and John Brown – each had big days at the combine. Adding two more names to the list of draftable wide receivers.

- The size/speed combinations in this draft are nutty. Some notable ones:

L’Damian Washington: 6-4, 4.46

Bryant: 6-3, 4.42

Janis: 6-3 , 4.42

Moncrief: 6-2, 4.40

Enunwa: 6-2, 4.45

Norwood: 6-2, 4.48

Paul Richardson: 6-0, 4.40

- Kelvin Benjamin measured at 6-5, 240 pounds, ran a 4.61 40, 7.33 3 cone, and 4.39 20-yard shuttle. All very good numbers for a guy his size. The problem here is he is a project – a very expensive project. While the ceiling is higher for a guy like him, it isn’t so much higher than a guy like Bryant who will be available in the middle rounds. Should the Chiefs select a wide receiver, it makes more sense for them to take a polished guy like Cooks, Marqise Lee, or Odell Beckham.

FINAL THOUGHT

Watching the combine confirms the crazy raw depth of this draft, and it goes far beyond just day one and two. There are going to be some really good football players available in rounds five, six, and seven that could do wonders for the Chiefs’ roster depth. Knowing and confirming this idea furthers the need for the Chiefs to trade down a few times in the draft in order to pick up more selections. There are too many guys in this draft who could fill roster needs at a very affordable price.

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