Draft Math: Why The Chiefs' Top Pick Should Be Wide Receiver Or Safety

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Draft debates have heated up amongst the staffers here at Arrowhead Addict. I’m not one to talk about what happens behind closed doors, but I’ll let you in on a secret — there’s no consensus. We’re as split as we could possibly be on who the Kansas City Chiefs should and will take with the 23rd overall pick. I have no ties to the organization so I can only speculate about what I think the Chiefs will do; however, I’m willing to spend a few moments today on the subject of who I think they should take.

If you’ve been following my column this offseason, it probably goes without saying that wide receiver and free safety are the two positions I’m most concerned with going into 2014. For those of you who share those concerns, I should give you the bad news first. In the past 15 years, Andy Reid and John Dorsey’s combined draft histories only produced a total of four players at one of those positions. Using only the past as an indicator, it seems highly unlikely that their top choice will address their problems at wide receiver or safety.

Yesterday, Lyle Graversen wrote an excellent piece on why he believes the Chiefs will draft a defensive lineman with their top pick. As much as it pains me to admit this, I think that’s a strong possibility. Reid spent a first-round draft pick on a defensive lineman six times during his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles. Dorsey spread his No. 1′s around more evenly, but he helped scout and draft three defensive linemen of his own in his time with the Green Bay Packers. Again, if history’s the best predictor of the future, it might be an opportune time for Stephon Tuitt (my pick if the team is set on drafting a defensive end) to make inroads with the good folks at Oklahoma Joe’s.


I’m clearly not intrigued by the possibility of Kansas City taking a defensive lineman with their R1 pick. There are a few reasons why. For starters, I’m not impressed with the defensive line talent that’s likely to be available at the bottom of the opening round. Ra’Shede Hageman and Stephon Tuitt are the two defensive ends I expect to still be on the board when the Chiefs go on the clock. On the off chance that they’re looking to move Dontari Poe outside, Timmy Jernigan and Louis Nix are the defensive tackle prospects they’ll have to choose from.

I’m not all that impressed with the four aforementioned defensive line prospects. I could live with Stephon Tuitt, but I’m not sure that any of those players are as likely to contribute in 2014 as, say, Brandin Cooks. Players at the wide receiver, defensive end, and defensive tackle spots typically need three years to adjust to the NFL. I still think that an Odell Beckham, Jr. is a more reasonable candidate for stepping in and producing right away than a guy like Hageman. He and Cooks appear to me to be more polished prospects.

Another reason why I’m apprehensive about a defensive lineman at 23 is how often they fail in the National Football League. According to data collected by Sporting News in 2012, first round defensive ends and defensive tackles were two of the three position groups that produced the lowest percentage of Pro Bowlers in the ten years preceding the 2012 NFL Draft. Over that stretch, only 17% of all defensive ends and 24% of all defensive tackles drafted made the Pro Bowl. The Sideline View explored defensive ends taken between 2002-2011 and found they had an eye-popping 42.5% bust rate. Blogging The Boys observed draft data on defensive tackles from 1998-2007. According to their findings, an unsettling 38% of the defensive tackles drafted over that span were busts. Oddly, they also sent the highest percentage of players to the Pro Bowl (31%). There may not be a more boom-or-bust position group over the past 15 years.


You might be surprised to know that offensive linemen have not often been drafted by Reid or Dorsey in the past. Between the two, only four have been taken since 1999. Of those four, only one of them has been an offensive guard. There’s been some talk that guard might be a position the Chiefs would consider drafting, but I think the probability is fairly low (Dorsey never drafted a guard and didn’t select his only two offensive linemen until his last two years with the Packers). History indicates that offensive line spots probably won’t be a priority when draft day comes.

Interior offensive linemen are rarely taken in the first round. According to Chase Stuart of Football Perspective, between 1990-2009, just 9 centers and 16 guards were R1 picks. The end spots are the most plausible historically for the Chiefs’ head coach and general manager. They also have the highest success rate. Offensive tackles typically pan out about half of the time.

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • berttheclock

    OK, which Andy Reid will Dorsey allow to sit next to him at the draft? The Andy Reid of 2011 who blew it by taking the OG Watkins and the SS Jaiquawn Jarrett in the 2nd round only to have to cut him and apologize to fans that he had made a huge mistake. Of course, it is hard to blame Reid for that move in not finding out beforehand that Jarrett did not have any speed, as cab fare across town in Philly to visit Temple would have really cut into the scouting budget.

    However, when, you consider Reid was involved with taking Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks, the outstanding LB, in 2012, perhaps, Dorsey should listen to him about defensive front seven guys.

  • berttheclock

    Excellent board, but, I fear decisions made by teams drafting just north of 23 are going to really dictate the pick by the Chiefs. Add the possibility of teams to the south of 23 panicking on draft day and this too, may well, make the difference.

    Look at the Jets who would love to have a flying wide out to pair with Jackson or Philly which must replace Jackson. BTW, don’t forget Kelly’s memory of Cooks playing against him.

  • Brian Dempsey

    It’s looking more and more like if some team picking at the top of the 2nd round offers the Chiefs a 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounder to trade into the Chiefs spot if one of those QB’s falls to that spot — TAKE IT !!! Or a trade-down of some sort.

    Staying at #23 and taking whomever is starting to stink worse than fresh dog doo-doo on a hot summer day, the more I think about it. And what if the guy that they take at #23 doesn’t pan out? Then they are really going to be screwed royally.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      We’re taking a chance no matter who we draft at 23.
      Some riskier than others, but all players are a gamble to some extent.

      • Brian Dempsey

        My point is, it is becoming quite clear that 6 picks in 2014, isn’t going to feed the bulldog.

        I know that many of us, myself included, have a liking for a particular
        player or particular players that we’d like to see drafted at #23, BUT,
        looking at the bigger overall picture, what’s really going to be the
        decisive factor is the OVERALL group of football players that they come
        out of this draft with, not who they take specifically with their top
        draft pick.

        With that said, I’m hopeful of a trade-down and getting extra 2014 draft picks.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Having a successful draft class is always important though.

          Identifying the right players at positions of need is key for this group because its core is in it’s late-20′s and early-30′s. This team has a short window and they need to plug certain gaps with upgrades.

          I’d love to have a seventh pick, but it’s not like we need to fill a half-dozen gaps.

          If a number of your big board guys are there at 23, trade back a few spots and you can still get your guy. I’m not passing up on just one of those special prospects just to pick up another middle rounder.

  • e_racer

    Sitting at 23, there is no way to predict accurately where players will fall. The good news is teams always overlook players in the draft. Pro bowlers Doug Martin (2012), Cameron Jordan (2011), Dez Bryant & Devin McCourty (2010) were all taken after the 23rd pick. You just have to pick the right guy.

    I noticed Marqise Lee was not on your list. He didn’t have a great senior season, but may be one of the best receivers in the draft. Ha Ha Nix is probably the best fit for this defense in terms of fitting a need. However, most feel he will be gone much earlier.

    The good news is there will be someone, and if the Chiefs pick for value rather than need, they may get a future pro bowl quality player.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I want no parts of Lee. The guy just can’t stay healthy.

      • e_racer

        That’s the knock on him.

        Also, I don’t know who Ha Ha Nix is, but Ha Ha Dix is a pretty good player. I have to correct myself sometimes..well make that pretty often. I’m surprised no one burned me on this error, so I did myself.

        Nice write up. I cannot wait until the draft. Unfortunately, I will be in the car driving to W VA to my daughter’s graduation, so I will put an impediment in my normal draft viewing observance.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Hard to be too far away from the action with smartphones and satellite radio!

          • e_racer

            Traveling with family to a family event makes this a clandestine event.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Rut roh!

  • tm1946

    Really enjoyed your article, definite food for thought, thanks. I am a DE guy if we are stuck at 23, but have no issue if the Chiefs go any other direction. For me, this roster is not all that good as a unit, as we draft quality, we also get older and will need redraft our current crop of stars. That is the fly in the ointment.
    Unless DorseyReid can do the impossible and get a starter with each pick, we seem in a bad position. And the rub is, I see no relief in the next 2 years when you consider money and lack of talent, other AFC teams, and the rest. Some of that gets the blame on previous management but we are the ones in the barrel and got to get out. I am talking winning games and championships not developing players for the pro bowl.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      What positions need immediate backfilling? I think this is the year to draft someone to groom for Tamba’s spot, but who else do we need to bring a successor in for right away?

      The offensive line is VERY young.

      Alex Smith’s an older guy, but you at least have a talented kid in Bray there.

      Davis is there behind Charles. Kelce’s there at TE.

      Bowe will be 30 when the season starts, but we’ll draft someone in a few weeks.

      Two-thirds of the defensive line is young and you have a couple talented guys there in Bailey and Catapano.

      DJ’s spot could stand a young guy to replace him, but you have this year and next to find someone.
      Mays will just be 29.

      Flowers is on the way out so maybe corner? Good chance we’ll draft one of those as well. Cooper’s there and has a TON of talent. Smith on the other side is still in his prime.

      You got a young safety in Berry AND Commings.

      We need to keep it moving with solid drafts to backfill the core, but I’m not sure it’s as dire as you made it seem.

      • tm1946

        You are correct. Would use your examples, OL, today, missing one G and much depth, why spend money on Daniel, the kid we draft is not to replace Bowe but play the other side, DL we do not agree, to me Poe and that is it, DJ is coming to the end of a solid career, wish the guy beside him was more than journey man. CB, have Cooper as the next young lion and _____. Safety, do not how to comment, Berry is talked about by fans as trade bait, his next contract will likely be with another team and Commings has not been healthy enough to be more than talk.
        Lastly in two years how many of our stars will be done, add injuries and failed draft picks, anyone think the AFC West is going to lie down for the Chiefs, and it could be a while before we are talking dynasty. That is all I am saying.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I’m anxious to see what we’ll do later in the draft. We could see some really valuable depth and possibly even future starters drafted there.

  • Bigtexjayhawk

    Justin gilbert falls to us and we take him in a split second. That is my prediction for the day. I still think Berry is better suited as FS let him roam and make plays ala ED Reed and draft a Craig Loston as your thumper SS. Maybe Commings can play but he cant play with crutches. Our offense will be fine. We need a CB, S, OG, OLB to hit in this offseason.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Interesting. He’s a great prospect and has coverage scheme versatility. Not sure I’d go there because you kind of have a logjam at corner. He can play contribute at nickel until the time comes that Flowers is gone, but you have Cooper ready to step in there. I wouldn’t be mad about it, but that definitely wouldn’t be my pick.

      • Bigtexjayhawk

        Flowers and his big contract may be gone soon and smith is a horrible bump and run corner from what I have seen. They do have depth but the key to having good safety play is to have excellent corners that jam the LOS. As seen by Dante Robinson getting lit like a roman candle you need good depth in case of an injury. I still like Flowers and feel he may have been hurt more last year. KC will have a few great players to choose from. Here’s to praying they make the right pick!!

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Only $4 million of dead money next year in Flowers’ contract. That’d be the right time to give him the pink slip. I’m not opposed to drafting a corner, but I wouldn’t use it to secure depth at the position. We can draft someone in the middle rounds. I’m drafting someone who can come in and compete for a starting job.

  • Tom

    We have nobody that any Defensive Coordinator loses any sleep over. We have to get a receiver with Speed who can take the top off the Defense. A true vertical threat would make Bowe more effective and our backs could make plays out of the slot to move the chains. Granted a Safety would be next pick of greatest need.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I think defensive coordinators probably think about Berry, Hali, and Houston. All of them are capable of making game-changing plays.

  • thabear04

    Michael Huff ? I wouldnt say he that great of a safety

  • Lyle Graversen

    While I’m still predicting (and will be happy with) DL, I certainly would be thrilled with Beckham or HaHa. I just don’t think either of them will be there. I’m not as high on Cooks and don’t think Pryor compliments Berry very well. I would call my “A Pool” of options at #23 Hageman, Beckham, and Clinton-Dix. My “B Pool” would be Tuitt, Lee, and Cooks.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      If we have to go DE, gimme Tuitt. I just don’t like Hageman. I prefer Pryor, but you’ll hear NO complaints about Clinton-Dix if that’s the pick.

      • Lyle Graversen

        The reason I prefer Hageman is because of his power up the middle. With edge rushers in place (at least this season) in Houston and Hali I think Tuitt’s advantage over Hageman in being a little faster and a little better attacking off the edge is negated. Adding another physical force to push up the middle is more appealing to me and I think that’s Hageman.

        As far as Pryor goes, I love him. I really do and I think he’ll be good in the NFL. I just see his game as being very similar to Berry’s. I think he’ll be at his best playing closer to the line of scrimmage like Berry does and that’s not what KC needs. They need more of a coverage/center field type safety.

        Just my 2 cents.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Athletically, it’s hard to argue with Hageman. Thing is, for everything he brings to the table in God-given ability, he seems to lack in motivation and technique. I’ve never been a fan of drafting defensive linemen with a questionable work ethic. At least with your R1 or R2 picks.

  • Tra Tha Chief

    It is this simple…. If we don’t draft Ra’shede Hageman we are stupid…. Just watch his film…. We are complaining about this guy maybe taking plays off, the same rumors are flying about the #1 pick in this years draft about Clowney…. He is a dominant force just go review his tape…. And not at the nose which i would say he is average but when he is coming off the edge…. you see the explosion, you see the strength, you see how far he pushes his opponent into the pocket…. that is not what we have right now or last year either…. Tyson Jackson, and Mike Devito can’t and don’t do this…. I haven’t got to see any film on Vance Walker so i can’t speak on him, but just Imagine having this force with poe just 3 feet away from him…. Who are you going to double team? and if thats not enough Tamba is coming off his left side…. and also Another body at well over 300 lbs and above 6 ft 3 (Hageman is 6ft 6 BTW) you have two plus size poe type figures filling up gaps which make other gaps spread like the oceans for Derrick Johnson or Eric Berry to come shooting through those gaps…. We would be the most intimidating front seven in the league….

    I keep hearing this concept about us NEEDING a WR…. I agree but I also keep hearing about how this is the DEEPEST draft in a while for WR this year…. I hate to state facts that prove my point, but Our problem in our last outing vs the colts was not our offense which put up more points on Indianapolis than any team they face all season and also the MOST POINTS IN A GAME FOR THE ENTIRE 2014 PLAYOFFS…. Besides the colts win over us, it was our pass rush not collapsing the pocket and given Andrew Luck a GREEN LIGHT to pick apart our secondary…. Devito I love him against the run, Poe against any and everything, and I Feel this guy could come in at the beginning of the season and give us two downs easily and with a little bit of hard work and coaching he will be a three down lineman by the end of the season and perfecting our front seven which will make all quarterbacks and Olines fear us, Even Denvers…. Our Team already has a Genetic Makeup…. We need to Improve that make up by adding a force which increases the players around him, who are already great (unlike the effect Tyson Jackson had on his teammates) Ra’shede Hageman does this…. We have Sanders Commings and Husain Abdullah who can come in and play right now and excel which we seen from Husain Abdullah last year and I think we all have high hopes for Commings…. But we do not have an impact player at our defensive end position…. Fill the Need and add additional nastiness to combat these high powered offenses that will be in our division next year with the quarterbacks we will be facing….. Ra’shede Hageman if available is the only route to go…. Now i am not saying defensive end is the only way to go…. I am saying if this guy is still on the Board, TAKE HIM….

    But great piece Stacy I am not bashing your view. It’s just when I watch this guy’s film and imagine him paired next to Poe reminds me of what Tennesse used to have with John Henderson and Albert Haynesworth…. and that is a possibility I would hate to miss out on…. Keep up the good articles Stacy

  • KCMikeG

    WR, TE and DL are the only positions that will have picks still available that would be worthy of our pick at #23. Beckham, Amaro or Tuitt for me.

  • Stan Colbert

    Very interesting! Would love one of those safetys but most mocks have them gone. Even seen a few where both ODB and Cooks are gone. It would seem both positions are needs.
    I have seen a number of mocks lately predicting Ford, Mosley, Gilbert or Martin falling to #23. These seem less likely picks in the way of need, though may be rated higher in terms of talent(BPA). Tuitt and Hageman are usually considered second round talent these days. I presume because ??? regarding performance.

  • AJB

    I think I’m coming around to the “draft a CB” argument recently. There will be a selection of quality WRs like Landry, Moncrief, Robinson, and Matthews that could/should still be there in the third round, so as much as I like Cooks and Beckham, drafting them isn’t a necessity. And I don’t see FS as as big of a need as everyone else does, no matter what we’ve upgraded the position from where it was last year already. Give Comings a chance and get Abdullah in there in the rotation and the position is already improved. Maybe use a late round pick for depth, but I wouldn’t waste a first rounder on FS. If (big if) Gilbert or Dennard falls to 23 snatch ‘em up, and I like some of the other corners with high round grades, too. In the AFC West, you can use all the help at the position you can have. I like the group we have at the position, but more options and depth to rotate in and keep people fresh throughout a game could at dividends during a long season. That’s my take at least. I always enjoy your articles, Stacy. Keep on keepin’ on.

  • HoDgIe

    I think it’s very likely none of your 4 options are still available at 23.. And if Beck & Cooks are I’d like to shop the pick to the niners for their 1st & 2nd (assuming they won’t give us ours back). The “experts” project them taking a slot wr over & over, they could have their choice of the 3 ‘next tier’ wr’s(Beck, Cooks, Lee) & we could draft an OG (which we Need, Hello..) at 30, or fs Jimmie Ward, maybe Hageman, or if one of the wr’s fall; and pick up a 2nd rd pick without reaching in the 1st.. An OG in rd 2 makes sense then for sure, or maybe a te if Amaro, Sef-Jenkins, even Troy Niklas is there.. But it takes 2 to tango..