Will The Chiefs Draft A Wide Receiver In Round One?

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ArmchairAddict1

This week’s post was supposed to be a simple draft profile on Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer. Depending on who you listen to, Latimer could be anywhere from a first round to fourth round selection in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. What started as a quest to see if Latimer was worthy of a first round selection turned into something bigger. The entire time that I was researching Latimer, what I was really trying to figure out is if KC is likely to take a WR in the first round as so many are predicting.

If you’ve been reading my thoughts on the NFL draft every Monday, you already know that I believe that defensive line is the most likely choice for KC and one that I have fully embraced. That having been said, I’m not SO stubborn as to ignore the fact that the Chiefs need a WR and that there could be some elite WR talents available in the first round. Regardless of what past draft history points to and what my personal preference is, those facts alone make investigating the first round WR prospects a worth while endeavor.

So what prospects should KC fans be focused on? Obviously, it is a waste of time to focus a lot of time on prospects that are highly unlikely to fall to KC at pick #23. For that reason, I’m not going to take any time discussing Clemson’s Sammy Watkins or Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. They are both great players with enormous upside and KC would be foolish to pass on either of them if they fell all the way to pick #23. There just seems to be no chance of that happening so I’m going to move on.

Next, I’m going to address a large group of talented “second tier” WRs. The collective group of Allen Robinson of Penn State, Donte Moncrief of Old Miss, Davante Adams of Fresno State, Martavis Bryant of Clemson, and Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt are extremely talented and have promising NFL futures. If Kansas City still had their second round pick all of these WRs would be under consideration. My general thought on all of them is that they’d be slight reaches in the first round and in a draft where you could get a similar player (or actually one of these players) in the third round it makes no sense to reach on one in the first round when you could draft an impact player at another position that isn’t as deep. Therefore, I’m taking those five WRs off the table for discussion.

For the remainder of this post I will focus on the five WRs that seem to be most discussed as options in the second half of the first round: Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Marqise Lee, Kelvin Benjamin, and Cody Latimer. I’ll address them in that order. Starting with……..

Oct 5, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Odell Beckham (3) receives a pass over Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Taveze Calhoun (23) during the game at Davis Wade Stadium. LSU Tigers defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs 59-26. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Odell Beckham Jr. – LSU – 5’11″ – 198 lbs – 4.43 forty

As I have spent time pouring over scouting reports and game film of the possible WR targets for KC, one player has slowly emerged as the clear optimal choice of the group and that is Odell Beckham Jr. Early in the process, I thought Beckham would be a reach at pick #23. Drafting a 5’11″ WR with average college production (he had a career high 59 receptions last season) in the first round of an incredibly deep WR draft seems foolish on the surface. Then I started to watch the tape.

The thing that jumps out to me right away when watching Beckham on tape is his outstanding use of his hands to catch the ball. That may sound obvious, but its not. Even very productive NFL WRs sometimes have the bad habit of catching the ball against their body instead of reaching out and grabbing it with their hands (cough..Bowe..cough). The tape of Beckham from last season is one of the best college tapes I’ve seen of a WR consistently grabbing the ball with his hands. This isn’t just something he does on jump balls like most WRs, but on the average catch. It keeps defensive backs from being able to get a hand in to knock the ball away and it leads to less drops. While a completely different type of WR, Beckham’s use of his hands actually reminds me a little of Larry Fitzgerald. I’m not saying that Beckham will be that kind of NFL talent, just that his use of his hands is a desirable trait that some elite WRs possess.

The fact that Beckham Jr. also runs great routes, has good deep speed, creates separation, has run after the catch upside, and is an asset as a kick/punt returner make him the top option of the five WRs considered by most to be options in the mid to late first round. There in lies the problem. If my armchair scouting report on him is accurate it also means that Beckham may be the least likely to make it to KC at pick #23.

Let’s assume that both Watkins and Evans go in the top ten as expected. When looking at the teams between 10-23 I see at least three that will likely strongly consider a WR: Pittsburgh, New York (Jets), and the Eagles. You could also list at least four more that might consider it (Giants, Rams, Ravens, and Packers). So if Beckham Jr. is emerging as the #3 WR in this draft, what are the odds that so many WR needy teams will pass on him?

My bottom line assessment of Odell Beckham Jr. is that if he is available at pick #23 that he would make an excellent selection for KC. However, I don’t believe he will be available and I don’t think KC fans should get their heart set on him winding up in a Chiefs uniform next season.

Next up, Brandin Cooks…..

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Kansas City Chiefs

  • berttheclock

    Great breakdown, Lyle. Interesting that you mentioned the medical issues which caused Allen to drop in the draft as you wrote about Marquise Lee. Yes, when Allen could not perform at the combines due to injuries, GMs began backing off. However, one did not. Tom Telesco, formerly the Director of Player Personnel with the Colts who had an excellent eye for talent, was appointed GM of the Chargers. He had watched Allen have a great day for Cal against the Trojans and fixed him permanently on his radar. He never wavered from those injuries and selected him. This was a Bill Walsh move of mentally zeroing in on a player and not letting the views of others change his mind. He even checked where he could pick him up in the draft.

    However minor point, perhaps. Alex Smith attended the Fresno State Pro Day. Yes, several scouts were there to observe Derek Carr, but, Davante Adams had a great workout that day and I wonder if Alex Smith brought that info back to Dorsey.

  • tm1946

    WRs, guess no other team needs a WR, not one of the other 32. Also there is not a GM who wants to draft the next “flying” machine with 4 great WRs, cheap contracts, for their next dynasty. Also there is not one stupid GM or owner who has a thread of a thought, speed kills….. get WRs.

    With the Chief’s lack of a #2, we will be more selectivecareful in #1. No cap money only means we get no help from free agents. Still got to play this year and the next few years….. not sure the desperate need is WR, a vital need but the defense has to stop offenses and we have gaps in starter quality. Again Dorsey may go BPA and say to heck with it this year, we will be giant killers in 2015. Seems sort of what we did with Fisher, not exactly stud of the year at RT.

    • berttheclock

      Nor was Joeckel. Nor was Lane Johnson who went to the Eagles and played all 16 games. Poor start, but, he did learn and ended up playing better. Not all OTs hit running in the pros. In college, they rarely faced fierce rushers with different moves every game.

      • tm1946

        Was not aware Joeckel or Johnson were drafted by the Chiefs, must have missed that. I am not talking position or person….. first pick in the draft, all the entire college kids available, a developmental type deserves questions. In 10 years, we may be watching Fisher as a walkin in the HOF but as of last year, not ready for prime time kid.

        When you have the first pick of the draft, it is considered un-wise to swing and miss. Other than some posters, many media types consider Fisher’s first year less than impressive. And isn’t that the point of the exercise, with the very first selection you pick a player who can play the game rather than possible develop over the future year.

        • mnelson52

          I think the point bert was making was the 2nd and 3rd tackles drafted played no better in their 1st year. The fact is, last year was a very weak draft class. Just our luck. It also didn’t help that Fisher had to learn a new position and scheme. I look for him to make big strides this year. This year is a good draft class but we have very few picks. Just our luck. Next year we may have up to 9 or 10 picks, but with all the underclassmen in the draft this year, next year could be a weak class. Again, just our luck. On the other hand, next year, we may have the power to trade up to take a player they really want.

  • jimfromkcj

    Lyle, we just have too much cap space invested in receivers in my opinion. We also are top heavy in cap space for the defence. Many blame the defence for the loss to the colts in the playoff game.. I blame Reid and the total lack of a running game in the last quarter. If we had been able to run the ball and make some first downs, there is just no way they overcome a 28 point deficiency and win the game. give me Gabe Jackson at RG and work to shore up the Off Line for Charles and Davis.

    • berttheclock

      jim, I could better understand your complaint about Reid not running the ball in the 4th quarter, but, who was supposed to be that outstanding RB? Charles was hurt early and Davis broke his leg. So, was Gray the guy who was going to shred defenses? This does bring up the need for the Chiefs to draft a RB somewhere in the lower rounds for needed backup.

      • jimfromkcj

        bert, if we had an off line with all the talent that folks here want to believe, you and I could make enough yards to move the chains. Why is it that so many seem to be satisfied with mediocrity in our off line because we have a running back like Jamal who can make them look at least average. When he goes down we have practically nothing. Get the off line with size to make an average RB look super, that’s what I want. Gabe Jackson fits that mold for me, and I would draft him and be looking for 4 more like him to dominate. Right now we don’t have one guy on our off line that we can say is dominate. Schwartz was as close as we were and he is gone.

        • Brian Dempsey

          This is true about Charles making the O-Line look better than what they really are and that has been going on for years. Like yourself, I’m not sold on the middle of the Chiefs O-Line. I’m OK with the Tackles Fisher and Stephenson, but the Guards need to be better. Jackson would fit the bill, as he’s a 336lb tank that opponents can’t move.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      After Bowe, what other receiver has a cap-strapping contract? If we draft a wide receiver at 23, he’ll immediately become the second-highest paid wideout on the team.

      • Lewis Rigor

        Hey Stacy I guess I called it with K.Williams. just signed to vet min with us

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Indeed, you did. #hatsoff

    • Lyle Graversen

      While I don’t agree that KC has too much $ invested in WRs. While Bowe’s salary high nobody else is making much at all. It certainly wouldn’t be the reason I pass on a WR in the first round. I think that needs to be about what players are on the board and who can help your team. That having been said, I love Gabe Jackson and if KC drafts an offensive lineman early, I would be all for targeting him (especially if we could trade back, get some extra picks, and land Jackson).

  • berttheclock

    Gabe Jackson has a major problem of not digging in his heels and can be over whelmed by bull rushes. We have already seen that problem in both Asamoah and Allen, so, why do we need a sequel to seeing Alex Smith flattened once again? If there is going to be an upgrade at guard and I really hope there is going to be one, then, find someone or two of them who can withstand the bull rushes of tough NFL defensive players.

    • Lyle Graversen

      Bert, we must be watching different tape. Jackson is the most physically stout OG I’ve watched tape on for this draft. If you don’t believe me here’s a direct quote from his CBS draft profile:

      “He’s a powerful drive blocker who uses his natural leverage advantage well, showing good leg drive to push defenders off the ball. Despite his girth, Jackson shows good lateral agility and balance to find fits at the second level. Defenders are seldom able to disengage once Jackson locks in. Is not satisfied with simply occupying space, and prides himself on pancaking and rag-doll’ing opponents. Does a nice job of absorbing the bull rush with his lower half, and rarely surrenders more than a step or two before resetting and anchoring.”

      • berttheclock

        I have read Nolan Nowacki write similar positives and states he believes Jackson will end up starting for some team and last several years. But, what concerns me are the following negative comments such as “Lacks explosive power to shock defender. Does not blow defenders off the ball in run game. Average overall athletic ability and lateral agility, lacks elite recovery time, occasionally fails to dig his heels and can be bull rushed. Stressed to cut off fast-flowing linebackers”

        Of course, Walter Football raved about Jon Baldwin and placed Chris Harris, Jr, the outstanding nickle back for the Broncos at 48th best CB. So, just another opinion from a pundit. Who really knows until they hit the playing field.

        • Lyle Graversen

          First, I’m not a Nowacki fan. Do a search for Gabe Jackson scouting reports and read a few of them and you’ll find that he’s a physical force that some worry won’t be mobile enough for some teams. Here’s a Mayock quote to back that up:

          “Mike Mayock glowingly described Jackson as “a brawler and a mauler,” and said Jackson is “about as physical a guy as you’re going to see.”

          Nowacki is about the only guy that gives the impression that Jackson can be pushed around, the others all say the exact opposite. Having watched his tape against LSU and Alabama myself, I just couldn’t disagree with him more.

          • berttheclock

            Thanks for your reply, Lyle. I hope you are correct. Something must be done with the interior the line as it has been soft in two areas for some time. First, the Chiefs had their worst running attack up the middle and the guards could be bull rushed. Allen became so bad, I thought he had become a Maitre D’ directing defensive linemen to a table atop Alex Smith.

          • Lyle Graversen

            Yeah, Jackson would be a HUGE upgrade in that regard. Where he struggles is if he is engaged with one player and then a blitz comes in one of his gaps he basically doesn’t ever get to them. He blocks his original target and if teams attack or overload his side he doesn’t do very well at passing off blockers and picking up extra rushers. What he does do is absolutely dominate the guy he does get his hands on. That guy is not making the tackle on run plays or hitting the QB on pass plays. He owns one man on every snap.

          • KCMikeG

            So can the rest be developed or is what he offers enough? His wing span is incredible and at 336 he’s Andy Reid sized.

          • Lyle Graversen

            I think so, he’ll never be a highly mobile guard, but he could be coached up to better pick up blitzes and pass defenders off to his fellow linemen.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Brandin Cooks, please. He’s smallish, but that guy’s a football player. His last two years at Oregon State were very impressive. Won’t cry in my beer over Beckham though. He balls out. I love Lee as a prospect, but I just don’t trust that he won’t be the wide receiver version of Tony Moeaki. Latimer’s fast, but is a route rounder who doesn’t come out of breaks very smoothly. He’s way raw.

    • Lyle Graversen

      I’m coming around on Cooks the more I watch him. My initial thought was simply that I didn’t want to take a guy in the first that you may need to run special plays or routes for because he doesn’t fit the role of a traditional outside WR. However, the added elements that he brings as a playmaker look like they’ll be worth the effort and I trust Reid’s playcalling to get the job done.

      As far as Lee goes, as I said in the piece, if they draft him I’ll take it to mean they feel good about his health. If they pass I’ll take it to mean that they were too worried to take a chance in a deep WR draft. Either way, I’m good.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        That’s a fair point. I’m just not sure you can always predict how a history of injury may or may not follow a player into the NFL.

  • berttheclock

    Great thread up at sfgate/niners about the money spent by NFL teams and where they rank world wide in comparison with other sporting teams. The top paying team in the NFL is 115th when compared world wide to other sports venues. The second highest spending NFL team (Seahawks) played the 4thd highest spender (Denver) in the SB. The Chiefs are ranked 6th highest, while the Niners are at 13. I doubt if anyone here could guess which NFL team has spent the most money, but, that team is light years away from sniffing a SB title. It is the Vikings.

  • Michael Shaw

    Great analysis Lyle. I think I agree with you that WR shouldn’t be our #23 pick. I think we should draft Xavier Su’A-Filo RG out of UCLA! The guy has a Defensive Lineman type of attitude in his on field playing!!! He has a Jared Allen type of motor and would solidify this line for years to come! With Fisher at LT, Allen/Lukenbach Texas at LG, Hudson at C, Su’A-Filo at RG and Stephenson at RT, I think this line wouldn’t have a problem running the ball even with Grey in the backfield!!!

    This pick makes sense for several reasons. A: We need a solid starter at RG, period! #23 might seem a bit high for a guard, but when we no longer see Alex running for his life because of broken blocks, we might see that explosive offense that showed up late last year at the beginning of the year! B: All the starter quality FS’s will be gone by the time we pick. I think the three biggest needs on this team are, in this order, FS, OL and WR. The draft isn’t very deep at FS and I don’t see any prospects worthy of our #23 pick. C: The draft is SO deep at WR, I think we can wait until rounds 3-5 to get what we need there. I mean who knows, Marquise Lee might still be available for us in the 3rd round and even with his injury concerns, I am fine with picking him up there.

    • berttheclock

      Love two comments about him. First, “he digs in against bull rushes”. Second, “He fits zone blocking schemes”. Solid choice.

      • Brian Dempsey

        I noticed that too Bert. He DOES fit the Chiefs, as for what they look for in O-Lineman. If they could trade back a few slots and still take him that would be an ideal scenario.

        • Michael Shaw

          The only problem with that Brian is that there seem to be a couple of teams on the lower end of the draft looking hard at selecting him…………………..according to the draft pundits that is!!

          • Brian Dempsey

            You’re probably right. I’ve watched some vids of Xavier Su’a-Filo and I’m sold. If Dorsey feels he’s the best player who is the best fit for the Chiefs……take. he plays the game nasty and mean, the way O-Lineman should play.

    • Lyle Graversen

      I’m in the minority and am not real big on Su’A-Filo. I love his attitude and mobility, but I actually am not real impressed with what I’ve seen when he is engaged with defenders. I think you can find guards in the mid rounds and round prefer they wait. If they are really set on taking someone I would rather they take Gabe Jackson. Jackson may not move quite as well as Su’A-Filo but he’s infinitely more impressive when he gets his hands on defenders. Watch his tape against LSU and Alabama, the guy just stonewalls the best defensive lines in the SEC.

      Most draft experts agree with you, but in my armchair QB opinion, Jackson will be the best guard in this class.

      • berttheclock

        I really question taking Gabe Jackson when one his negatives says he can be bull rushed. Haven’t we seen enough of that nonsense by Asamoah and Allen?

        • Lyle Graversen

          I usually get where you’re coming from Bert, but where in the world are you getting the Jackson is bad against bull rush. It is literally the exact opposite of everything I’ve read and what I’ve personally watched on tape. It’s actually one of his strengths.

          • berttheclock

            I noted this below. Comments from Nolan Nowacki of nfl.com. But, I, also, added a couple of Walter Football’s past predicitions. so, nothing whatsoever is written in stone with any of this. Remember one other thing. Bill Walsh was the only GM in the NFL who noticed the footwork of Joe Montana and compared it with the great footwork by the young Joe Namath. Tom Telesco of the Bolts was the only GM to watch the game between Cal and the Trojans and fell in love with the work of Keenan Allen, to the point he disregarded his injuries prior to the draft.

  • berttheclock

    Hard to read anything in player visits/workouts with NFL teams, especially the Chiefs. The McGill OT, Laurent Duvarnay-Tardiff has been getting a lot of play in visiting various NFL teams. He visited the Chiefs earlier this month, but, in a latest article about him, he says four teams, including the Bears, Niners and Eagles have really shown any interest in him. Of course, that does not mean Dorsey may not be lying in wait to swoop in the lower rounds. There is one precedent for coming to the Chiefs. He has one more year of med school to finish and that could be at KU. The precedent was Darche, the long snapper from McGill, who played for the Chiefs in 2007-2008, retired and is finishing his med work at KU Med School.

    But, one player I am interested in is Erik Swoope, the basketball player at Miami. The Donkies visited him and the word is the Chiefs have followed with a visit. He is six and five and has never played football, although his brother has played and is prepping him for the visits. They work out with footballs every day in Miami. BTW, the coach for the Donkies was the one who went to Portland State U to work with the current TE for the Broncos, who had played BB at Portland State. He was the one who visited with Swoope.

  • chief4ever

    Good breakdown : unfortunately, my top four choices (Beckham Jr., Cooks. Clinton-Dix and Pryor) will be gone at 23. Sounds trite – but this year we should pick the best player available – one of these will.
    Kony Ealy -DE

    C J Mosley – ILB

    Xavier Su’a-Filo – OG

    Derek Carr – QB

    Eric Ebron – TE

  • KCMikeG

    Really great post Lyle! i’m with you all the way on Beckham. My darn kid keeps telling me he won’t be there but I do see some mocks still placing him in KC so I’ll cling to those. Beckham answers our need for a deep threat at WR (with good hands even – Bowe) Plus he adequately replaces Dexter at PR and Demps at KR. That’s a 3Fer! After Beckham I think we would be just as happy with a 3rd round WR like HUGE sleeper Martavious Bryant – I’m calling this explosion right here – right now. But if Beckham & Watkins (what a dream) happen to be gone I’ll take Tuitt to blow up the interior with Poe and Walker so Manning has no chance – none.

  • ladner morse

    Great piece Lyle. You hit the nail on the head. Unless the Chiefs trade out of #23 there may not be a perfect WR for them to take in round one. Super job!

  • Jason Brawn

    So my question Lyle is as deep as this wr class is what’s the chance of a pretty serious run in the 2nd and early third round on them and the Chiefs missing out a real good 2nd tier guy. I really think that Matthews, Moncrief, Robinson, Latimer, and Bryant all could be gone by the time we pick again in the third. And I really think that a trade back in the 1st ( I know everyone this year wants to trade back this year.) Say with the 9ers to grab a guard and then bundle what we traded for 4rd plus a 3 rounder of ours to move up into the 2nd round for a Matthews wouldn’t be the worst idea. What do you think sir?

  • John B.

    My pick is Ryan Shazier at 23. He brings the element of speed to the defense he can play on all 4 downs and brings a pass rush element when needed. Also, with the amount of nickel we like to play he can replace that added safety in the box. Did I mention he runs in the 4.3 40 range at 240lbs. I want a wr too but we can grab either Moncrief or Jarvis Landry in the 3rd. For those of us hurting for the speed element we can grab Herron for the slot in rd 4 or Brock Vereen for those pushing for S. In the 5th we have to add depth for the O-line. What do you think?