Preparing for free agency and trying to predict what the Chiefs will do is impacted by the history of what general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid have done in past. How the Chiefs plan to use the draft will dictate who the Chiefs will go after in free agency. It is pretty obvious the Chiefs have more than six holes on their roster — the number of draft picks they have right now in May — so they are going to have to use free agency to fill some holes.
We can learn from how Dorsey and Reid have used their past first-round picks to predict what they may be looking for in free agency. Let’s start by taking a look at both of their histories.
JOHN DORSEY’S FIRST-ROUND PICKS
|1998||19||Vonnie Holliday||Defensive End||North Carolina|
|1999||22||Lamar King||Defensive End||Saginaw Valley State|
|2000||14||Bubba Franks||Tight End||Miami|
|2001||10||Jamal Reynolds||Defensive End||Florida State|
|2002||20||Javon Walker||Wide Receiver||Florida State|
|2003||29||Nick Barnett||Linebacker||Oregon State|
|2004||25||Ahmad Carroll||Defensive Back||Arkansas|
|2006||5||A.J. Hawk||Linebacker||Ohio State|
|2007||16||Justin Harrell||Defensive Tackle||Tennessee|
|2009||9||B.J. Raji||Defensive Tackle||Boston College|
|2011||32||Derek Sherrod||Tackle||Mississippi State|
|2012||28||Nick Perry||Defensive End||USC|
|2013||1||Eric Fisher||Tackle||Central Michigan|
ANDY REID’S FIRST-ROUND PICKS
|2000||6||Corey Simon||Defensive Tackle||Florida State|
|2001||25||Freddie Mitchell||Wide Receiver||UCLA|
|2002||26||Lito Sheppard||Defensive Back||Florida|
|2003||15||Jerome McDougle||Defensive End||Miami|
|2005||31||Mike Patterson||Defensive Tackle||USC|
|2006||14||Brodrick Bunkley||Defensive Tackle||Florida State|
|2009||19||Jeremy Maclin||Wide Receiver||Missouri|
|2010||13||Brandon Graham||Defensive End||Michigan|
|2012||12||Fletcher Cox||Defensive Tackle||Mississippi State|
|2013||1||Eric Fisher||Tackle||Central Michigan|
Two things stand out with both Reid and Dorsey.
1. Both value offensive or defensive lineman in the first round
Reid and Dorsey have combined to be involved in 30 first-round selections since 1997, using the pick on either an offensive or defensive lineman 18 times. They’ve used only five picks on either a quarterback, running back or wide receiver, with neither having ever selected a running back in the first round.
It is clear Dorsey and Reid value the offensive and defensive line with their top picks. Reid was even willing to use his first-round pick on a guard on occasion. Aaron Rodgers is the only offensive skill position player the Packers have drafted since 2003. In the last 11 drafts Dorsey has been a part of at Green Bay and Kansas City, six first-round picks have been used on an offensive or defensive lineman, and three more have been used on linebackers. That’s nine of the last 11 first-round draft picks on either a front seven defensive player or an offensive tackle.
This is more than a trend, it is almost a rule of thumb: Unless Aaron Rodgers is sitting there, then we are going best offensive tackle or defensive front seven player available. This would seem to favor people who are clamoring for Ra’Shede Hageman. Stephon Tuitt could also be a possibility if the Chiefs trade back.
Another possibility few of us have considered is drafting another offensive tackle. We’ve discussed the need the Chiefs have to fill the swing tackle position since it would appear Donald Stephenson is going to be a starter for 2014. What if Stephenson remains as the swing tackle, a role we know he can fill well, and the Chiefs draft a starting lineman like Antonio Richardson, Morgan Moses, Zack Martin, or Cyrus Kouandjio? This would seem less likely than the Chiefs taking a defensive lineman, but Dorsey does have a recent history of using back-to-back first round picks of offensive tackles (2010-2011).
When it comes to linebacker there are three names to keep an eye on: Anthony Barr (UCLA), Trent Murphy (Stanford), and Ryan Shazier (Ohio State). The notable thing about the three linebackers taken by Dorsey is that they were all among the best in their class in the three-cone drill. Barr, Murphy, and Shazier are each first-round caliber outside linebackers who respectively recorded 6.82, 6.78, and 6.91 cone drills. Quickness and agility are key for pass-rushing outside linebackers, and all three of these guys showed they possess that quickness. These would seem to be the targets.
2. Dorsey is less likely to trade than Reid
Green Bay has made just two first-round trades in the last 11 years. One was to trade up in 2009 to get Clay Matthews and the other was to trade out of the 2008 first round (30th overall) to pick up an extra fourth-round pick. The nine other picks were the Packers’ natural draft position.
Reid was much more aggressive. Reid traded up in 2003 and 2004 to take Jerome McDougle and Shawn Andrews; traded out of the first round in 2007 and 2008; traded up in 2009 and 2010 to get Jeremy Maclin and Brandon Graham. That’s a lot of trades between 2003 and 2010, and that’s only the first round.
It would seem Dorsey is more likely to use his first round pick if he has one and to stay put. It wouldn’t be uncharacteristic for him to trade the pick but it isn’t something we should anticipate.
Knowing a little bit of the history of Dorsey and Reid, it would seem very unlikely the Chiefs will go wide receiver in the first round. It is certainly not impossible but we should probably anticipate an offensive lineman or a defensive front-seven player. This would mean the Chiefs are probably going to look for free safety and secondary help in free agency and wait to draft a wide receiver in the third or fourth round.
This is, of course, unless history decides to not repeat itself.