Playing “Who Do You Take” With Chiefs Nation

1 Feature From The Bleachers

For the past four plus months Chiefs fans have been playing the game called, “Who Do You Take” in the 2014 draft? The answer is… no one knows for sure. There’s just a boatload of questions but there are also plenty of people who will tell you it’s a defensive lineman or a wide receiver or a safety but still, that doesn’t keep everyone from continuing to play, Who Do You Take?

What surprises me a bit is that some people presume to know what direction Andy Reid and John Dorsey are heading… merely by reading the tea leaves of their past drafts. This is one situation in which I believe… the past does not equal the future.

Having watched every draft for as long as I can remember, I can tell you, each and every draft has a life of it’s own. Do you remember the year Herm Edwards reached up and plucked two massive linemen in the first round, Glenn Dorsey and Branden Albert. I believed that day that the franchise was turning a corner. What an incredible feeling. That was the same year the Chiefs chose CB Brandon Flowers in the second and Jamaal Charles in the third. That was special.

Every draft has a life of it’s own.

Do you remember the year the Chiefs took RB Larry Johnson when they needed defensive help?

Do you recall the year before that when the Chiefs took defensive line savior Ryan Sims?

Every draft has a life… and death… of it’s own.

This draft is shaping up to be perhaps the best draft in 20 years… even though there may not be an elite QB in this draft class. Although, Johnny Manziel is as close as it comes in my book.

This draft has talent that has to be ranked against the talent that teams are already carrying on their roster. Can a draft really be carried out in a “best player available” vacuum? Of course teams consider BPA. How many of you believe the Chiefs will be drafting a running back in this draft? Me either. So, how does that happen unless the Chiefs have gone into the draft room with a special ranking for running backs? However, if they see a running back who is light years ahead of Cyrus Gray, their 3rd string RB, and let’s say the Chiefs find this superman of a RB in the 6th round… then yes, there may be a possibility they will pull the trigger on a RB.

If the Chiefs were to consider taking a defensive tackle, wouldn’t you expect them to determine whether or not they already have someone on their roster who can do what that prospect can do? I’d like to believe there’s at least the possibility this is happening in the back rooms at One Arrowhead Plaza. However, let’s assume for a moment that it’s not happening and that the Chiefs are 100% in on BPA. That means the player they are selecting is better than every other player who will be drafted after them. If that’s the case, then it’s a worthless endeavor to track who these two (R & D) have drafted before right? Because… they would never go in with any previous notion of who they will choose. Right? Damn right that’s right! Because if John Dorsey and Andy Reid “say” they are going BPA, then people should respect them enough to believe they do as they say.

Saying that the Chiefs will draft a DL in the first round just because Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Reid have done so with a high frequency in the past takes away from the living breathing entity that the draft is and that both Andy Reid and John Dorsey know and appreciate the draft to be.

Why would they say “BPA” repeatedly? Because there’s no way to mathematically predict who will be there unless you have the first pick in the first round of the draft. So, if fans could actually accept that R&D really don’t “know” who they’ll select at #23… it might actually then be easier to find out who they will be taking.

In other words, any preconceived notions about the Chiefs pick is only going to add to an individuals disappointment in the end.

On Saturday, I gave Chiefs fans “odds” or percentages on what kinds of position players that could be taken first in my post called, “Odds On Ten Positions The Chiefs Could Take In The First Round.” However, the single biggest determiner of who the Chiefs will pick is… who’s available.

Draft Hageman

Above is a draft based upon the idea that the Chiefs should hold out and take the best defensive tackle around no matter who else is available. To follow this guideline the Chiefs must also accept the idea of “not taking” whoever else is still on the board at that point. Below is a list of all the players who were available at the time RaShede Hageman was chosen.

Darft Available after HAGEMAN

Now, there’s no way to tell who the Chiefs might rank first above all other prospects on their big board but, after doing dozens and dozens of drafts like this one, and having the same prospects appear again and again… and appear available… makes it unlikely, at least to me,  that the Chiefs would take a DL first.

Gilbert, Beckham, Mosley, Cooks, Lee, and Pryor… all of these “other possible choices” makes the 2014 draft more predictable than one might imagine… unless you’ve already convinced yourself that the Chiefs must draft a specific position to cure what ails them. And, we all have our opinions about that.

Repeating the drafting process a high number of times can avail you to certain new perspectives and some drafts, like this example below, may also point out the trade-offs. Let’s suppose there are just two ways to go about slicing the draft apple: 1) take a DL early and a WR or CB or FS or TE later… or 2) take a WR or CB or FS or TE in the first and taking a DL later. It’s been said that this draft is so deep that you could get a 3rd round talent in the 5th round. If the Chiefs go DL in the first and pass on an incredible WR, FS, CB or TE talent… they will miss out on taking a super talented player in the first and an equally talented DL later in the draft in another scenario. In other words… the best talents at these skill-positions can bring more value because a position like DL can also be procured later with the same level of ability. Look below to see the very first draft I attempted with a WR or CB or FS or TE in the first… and a DL in the third:

Draft of Eric Ebron

So the trade-off is: DL RaShede Hageman and CB Jaylen Watkins… for TE Eric Ebron and DT Kelcy Quarles. Those who want a DL early would have you believe that Hageman is head and shoulders above Quarles. In 2013, Quarles had 9.5 sacks and 13.5 TFLs. Hageman had 2 sacks and 13 TFLs. Have a look at DT Kelcy Quarles highlights at Patriots.com.

By the way, DT Glenn Dorsey, mentioned earlier, had 7 sacks and 12.5 TFLs during his last college season and he won the Outland Trophy (given to the best college interior lineman each season and Aaron Donald is the current recipient).

Most services I’ve come across have ranked TE Eric Ebron in the top 15. How on Earth do you pass on a TE talent that has been compared to the 49er’s Vernon Davis just so you could take a defensive lineman because you had a preconceived notion that a DL would “make sense” at the #23 spot? And Quarles? Some argue that he benefited from playing with Jadeveon Clowney, that Clowney took the double teams and allowed Quarles to run free. Well, isn’t that exactly what you’re asking Quarles to do for the Chiefs after Poe eats all the doubles?

DT Hageman + CB Watkins vs. TE Ebron + DL Quarles? The point is quality defensive linemen can be found later in the draft so that elite level skill position players can be acquired in the first.

I know what some of you may be thinking… “that this was just one isolated and ‘lucky’ mock draft that the generator spit out once.” However, I say nay. Below are several lists of players who were “ALSO AVAILABLE” at #23 during 6 of my many mock drafts.

Drafts L and MDrafts N and O
Drafts P and Q
You may have noticed that the available prospects have a different ranking in each of the mock drafts. This is because there are now 3 different big board options at Fanspeak for mockers to choose from: Fanspeak’s big board, Walter Football’s big board or Optimum Scouting’s big board. The options give the mock drafting system more credence and viability. For me, I always feel I’ve come away learning something about the 2014 draft. Certainly it always confirms that this draft is deep.

There are dozens of reasons that a draft pick can be impossible to predict.

Trades: every draft has a high number of trades.

Players bounding up to the first round or the top ten: I can see QB Derek Carr breaking into the top 22.

How each GM ranks prospects: Bill Belichick almost always surprises me with a pick who’s name I’ve never even heard.

These can also be exactly the reasons each draft has a life of it’s own.

Reviewing the available players in each mock draft above:

Mock L

Firstly, please notice that DT RaShede Hageman is ranked #32 on this list and is the 13th best prospect by the time the 23rd pick rolls around (according to one of the three big boards mentioned above). Justin Gilbert, WR Odell Beckham, Calvin Pryor… I’d rank all of them above Hageman. Now… Louis Nix and Timmy Jernigan? I’m not sure. Furthermore, I’m not sure just how Reid and Dorsey have their big board set. If indeed they do have all of these defensive tackles ranked higher than these mock boards… and there’s a good possibility they do… then the Chiefs just might be looking at picking a 2nd defensive tackle in the last 3 years in the first round. Personally, I see too much talent at other positions for that to happen.

Mock M

This is the same Eric Ebron mock discussed earlier. However, I’d take DE Kony Ely before the defensive inside guys. I love his rushing upside.

Mock N

If Taylor Lewan had somehow dropped to the Chiefs at #23 I’d be jumping for joy. Lewan and Fisher as bookends for the next ten seasons… wow! Still, you’d have to consider Eric Ebron again. Also, I love me some Darqueze Dennard and he could immediately take the Chiefs defensive backfield from bottom half of the league to top half of the league.

 

Mock O

If… if… if for some reason Blake Bortles has fallen… the value would be too much to pass on (no pun intended). Stacy D. Smith pointed out the important value of picking up one of these QBs if they fall to the Chiefs. Beyond Bortles, Jeremiah Attaochu would be Tamba Hali’s eventual replacement and with 12 sacks and 15.5 TFLs in 2013 he’d be one exciting rookie to consider before drafting another DT.

Mock P

3 of the first 5 choices there are DTs so if the Chiefs really want one…. However, LOB Ryan Shazier and his 4.35 speed is too tempting to be true. Plus, are you really going to pass on Odell Beckham? Again?

Mock Q

In years past I’ve gotten attached to a specific player and then I always begin to hope the Chiefs take that player… and I’ve even been known to lobby for that prospect. I think attaching yourself to any player in this draft would not be wise. There are too, too many talented options. It’s enough to know that the Chiefs will come away from this draft with an excellent player. Even if they get to trade down.

Of course, if Johnny Manziel is on the board at #23, the Chiefs HAVE TO draft him. And, I’m pretty sure they will… unless some team who covets him wants to trade up and sell a few draft picks to do it. However, Manziel is a real talent and could be considered a permanent Chief forever if he’s there for the taking.

The point of all of this of course is to share what I have been seeing repeatedly for the past two and a half months (because of my mock draft addiction)… that this draft will give you fantastic options at #23 and that the talent level is so incredibly good at that point, it would be a shame if the Chiefs were boxed into the thinking that they should take any specific position player, including another defensive tackle.

My gut tells me they won’t do that. Well, actually, it’s more than just a feeling. But, it’s sure going to be fun watching it unfold!

What do you say Addict Fans? Any chance the Chiefs get a good player in this draft?

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