Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs Can’t Go Wrong In Trading Down This Year


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This week, the annual Football Today Superfan Super Mock Draft started. Long story short, it’s a mock draft for ESPN’s Football Today podcast in which I have been representing the Chiefs for the last several years. What makes it fun is that, unlike most national mock drafts, in this one the mock GM’s are knowledgeable fans of each of the 32 teams.

While I’ll give a breakdown of the whole three-round mock next week when it’s completed, I can say one thing I have definitely learned from the exercise this time around — the Chiefs really have nothing to lose in trading back this year.

First off, although we all know that GM John Dorsey prefers drafting the “best player available,” it’s pretty clear from his offseason moves that he has been positioning the team to fill a few specific roster spots with rookies from areas that are deep in this year’s class.

The two areas that are the greatest needs for the Chiefs — WR and DB — are indeed deep this year (I don’t put guard here, because I don’t think the Chiefs need to address it with a top 100 pick).

If you look at both positions, there seem to be some pretty clear tiers. The safety position is led at the top pretty clearly by Hasean Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor, while Justin Gilbert and Darqueze Dennard are the two undisputed top corners.

After that, there is a sizable drop-off to guys that fit some schemes better than others. CB Jason Verrett is big and physical, but has work to do on overall coverage skills while CB Kyle Fuller is a more refined product, but is also on the small side for the 21st century NFL at 5’11”. It’s unlikely any safety other than the two mentioned above will go until the mid-2nd round where a glut of good CB and S talent will be coming into good value range.

Meanwhile, there are similar tiers at WR. Like with DB’s, two players — Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans — are the undisputed leaders of the group, but there is then a pack of players following them that are comparable talents. There, you have guys like Brandin Cooks, Marqise Lee and Odell Beckham Jr., who have a lot of similarities but are all polished with high-end physical skills.

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Still, even with how impressive these guys are on tape, the group of guys likely falling in the early 2nd around like Cody Latimer, Davante Evans and Kelvan Benjamin (who is highly ranked but looks like Baldwin 2.0 to me) would all be day one starters for the Chiefs.

It looks extremely unlikely that the top safeties, corners or wideouts will fall to the Chiefs at 23 and they can’t afford to expend any draft ammunition to go get them. However, the team will still be in the catbird seat for the second tier guys. I have yet to see a mock where none of those guys I mentioned above as “second tier” are available for the Chiefs.

However, drafting is not just about plugging a player in a need spot. The Chiefs’ schemes ask specific things of their DB’s and WR’s and not all of those players available at 23 will be good scheme fits even if they are nominally value picks there. With DC Bob Sutton’s man-heavy scheme that requires corners to be physical at the line, I’m sure the Chiefs value Verrett far above Fuller, and while all those wideouts look good, for some reason Beckham Jr. just looks the most like a Reid wideout to me. They all have breakaway speed and great hands, but there’s something about Beckham Jr.’s awareness and vision in space that makes me see him in red.

Either way, when it comes to looking for value at DB and WR, this is the perfect draft to have the one thing the Chiefs lack — a 2nd-round pick.

If the Chiefs are able to trade back — which is no given — they will find players at the top of the 2nd that they like, even if they don’t reap major draft pick gains in the process. Sure, some talent might fall to them at 23, but if they get back into the 2nd, they can definitely take guys like hard-hitting S Deone Buchannon or Richard Sherman doppelgänger CB Stan Jean-Baptiste who both look like handmade Sutton machines. Toss in an extra top 100 pick from the trade down and you can write the draft down as an instant success in my book.

This is a draft where the first three rounds are full of possibilities and the unpredictable tumblings of the top QB’s this year will make for a chaotic draft market I think Kansas City can take advantage of. In my mind, their number one goal with their 23rd overall pick is turning it into more picks.

Tags: 2014 Draft Brandin Cooks Calvin Pryor Deone Bucannon Ha'sean Clinton-dix Marqise Lee Odell Beckham Jr. Stan Jean-baptiste Trade

  • berttheclock

    How about some real Elan and daring do. Trade Berry to the Lions for their 10 slot, plus, additional picks and then, trade down with the Niners or the Pats or the Redskins or even the Browns for their top slots at the end of the first or early in the second (Redskins) and additional mid round picks. I really hate to lose Berry, but, this is a team building draft. So, have a trade up and trade down party in May.

    • tm1946

      No issue with the thought process but I know of no way to force these teams to trade. Another fan suggested a trade up using next years draft picks to sweeten the deal. Trading down for more picks would be great by me but to move up not so much, just to many parts still not on the roster to limit the chances to possibly grab a diamond in the rough with fewer picks.

      • berttheclock

        Forcing is not the process, it is panic, especially, in the trade downs. That is only a draft day phenomenon of GMs seeing various players either staying on the board longer than expected or fear they might lose someone if they don’t trade up.

        My thoughts concerning trading up with Detroit is based on they are the first team to really need to improve at safety and Berry would give them a young established safety who could upgrade them immediately. However, there have been many suggestions that they may want to trade up themselves in order to get Watkins to place across from MegaTron.

        But, one point about trade downs is the track record of Bill Walsh, who, in ’86 decided the best talent he wanted was in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, so, he began a series of 4 trade downs from his first round slot to pick up the extra picks. He ended up taking who he wanted and had two extra picks, one 2nd and one 3rd to trade with Tampa Bay and pick up Steve Young.
        Of course, that was a fellow who knew exactly who he wanted and how to trade to get them.

      • Montez K.

        I get the logic behind trading Berry…smart money move…but this would not be a wise FOOTBALL move…Berry is an elite football player that’s still getting better despite defensive scheme changes and missing a whole year. How could you stomach losing arguably your best defensive player? I’m not sure that wouldn’t worsen our problem…we are a few pieces away from a Superbowl squad…the money will be spent anyway…it would be different if we were in shambles and had no money…we will be okay….especially if JD keeps turning over the bottom of the roster as has been doing.

        • tm1946

          My idea on Berry is, trade him but then you have to draft a replacement, no one on the roster is ready to replace him. Keep him and we seem to be cap room broke and you still need someone on the roster to replace him as soon as next year. Lose, lose.

          • Montez K.

            That would be a good idea if we knew the replacement would be good…why create a hole? I’d say that your plan would be sound should we have someone already that we know can step up and do the job well. I do understand your logic though, it would just feel real risky and JD and Andy don’t strike me as the risky type.

      • jimfromkcj

        tm, I am beginning to think that Dorsey just isn’t a trading type man. When he had a chance to get something for Albert, he couldn’t do it. He franchised him instead and then instead of finding a trade for Bowe he paid him elite money. And with the long term contract, he is unlikely to find anyone who is going to honor the contract and give the Chiefs any worthwhile picks. We will probably end up having to let him go and get nothing for him either. If this is the Greenbay way, I wanna go back to the Patriot way. Belecheck for some reason gets his players to play for what they are worth.

        • tm1946

          No matter what weDorsey wants, you need a partner. We need more picks this year and everyone knows it, so might be the test of is Dorsey a trading kind of guy or not. For me, Albert was a no issue, any GM, with any kind of staff, only had to wait for a chance at him, he priced himself out of KC unless he wanted to stay, he didn’t. In hindsight, Bowe might have been a mistake. At his best, he may make a great catch or drop an easy one. Either way, he is here for at least another year, so we will have to make the best of it.

        • berttheclock

          It was not that he could not do it, but, it was very much the fault of Ireland, then, GM of the Dolphins for trying to low ball Dorsey. Ireland had over paid Wallace and needed to show his owner he could save money, so, he would not accept the offer from Dorsey. It ended up costing him his job. Ireland had to move Martin to LT and it was a disaster.

    • KCMikeG

      How does an extra maybe or two picks make us better without the best player at a position of weakness? Trading Berry makes no sense to me. I’ll take the sure thing we already know.

  • jimfromkcj

    Nick, I just don’t see any team so desperate that they would give up multiple picks to move up to 23. Most of the guys who are rated high are gone by then. So if we want a WR badly we have to choose him at 23. What I can’t understand is when I look at the Chief’s roster, there is 1 player at 6’2″, 2 at 6’1”, 4 at 6’0″, 2 at 5’11″ and 1 at 5’8″. Now most of the posters are suggesting we draft a player who is between 5’10′ to 6’0″. How is that going to make a big difference from what we already have. The top 3 or 4 guys will probably already be gone at 23. So what it all comes down is a real possibility that we will draft another WR who is not appreciatively better than what we already have. Can Dorsey survive 2 1st rd failures in a row? Not in my world. Gabe Jackson is the surest thing in this draft at a position of need in my opinion. He comes from a two parent home and his father was his high school coach. He has started every game for 4 years at LG and has allowed no sacks in the last 2 years. He is a 339 lb mauler who almost always dominates the man who s across from him and has played in what most people believe is the strongest defensive conference in the country.

    • berttheclock

      Don’t write off Fisher as a failure, yet. He was placed at a new position, had to really learn to fend off the many NFL moves by types of players he had never encountered before, had injury problems which hurt his development, yet, started showing major improvement by the end of the season. In fact, McShay has just listed Fisher as one his top 32 players taken since the Berry, Okung and Earl Thomas draft. Stay the course on him.
      It is not the height difference, but, the quality of player. A five ten player may have more talent than the six footer. I remember far too well when King Carl thought the perfect QB size was six five, so, he could throw over people. BTW, Jon Baldwin was six four and he could not match up well with five nine and five ten corners who were more aggressive than he was.

      • jimfromkcj

        bert, the point I was trying to make is that Alex had the best season he has ever had with the receivers we already have, and if the top 3 or 4 are gone before 23, I don’t see any way I would draft a WR who was so much like what we already have. If Matthews or Benjamin were available I would go that route, but mostly I would reach for the guy I think would improve the QB play and the running back’s play as well and that would be Jackson. bert, Fisher is a failure until he proves otherwise. Having to have surgery on his shoulder and not having the usual time to recover before camp is another worry to think about. These big athletic guys from small schools who don’t have to be in the best condition and don’t have to put out 100% on every play get along without injury and when they get into the NFL their bodies don’t hold up on them. That’s why I wanted joeckel, but he hasn’t fared all that good either, but he has had a longer time to rehab and may be alright. I have serious doubts for Fisher.

        • KCMikeG

          So you wish we had drafted the guy who was done for the year in week five and was schooled by our pass rushers week one vs. a guy who switched sides, fought off injuries and got better as the year came to a close. Don’t count out Fisher until you see what he does while healthy in his natural position after adjusting to the next level talent.
          I’m with you on our current WR talent. As Reid opened up the playbook in the second half our offense put up serious points. So unless we can get Beckham who not only fits our system perfectly but he also fills the PR left empty by DMC and the KR by Demps. That’s three for the price of one. Otherwise DL is where our #23 pick should go.

  • berttheclock

    Now, to really muddy the waters. The reason Berry has such a high contract is he went fifth in the last big rookie salary CBA contract. Suh, went 2nd and Detroit may have problems working out an extension with their team Captain who refuses to show up for the voluntary workouts. Now, they are floating trade rumors. So, my muddy solution. Berry for Suh. A real team player in Berry for a oft penalized, highly paid, somewhat bleary “team” player. KC would end up paying far more for Suh, but, for those who keep posting about improving defensive line play…………………………………..?

  • Stacy D. Smith

    I like the idea of trading down and acquiring more picks.
    I dislike the idea of passing over an impact player just to add an additional R3 pick.
    I would only consider trading back, a few spots, IF there are multiple players on my big board still sitting there. So if three players are there that I’d want, I’d consider moving down to 25.

    That said, it’s gonna be tough moving down on Day 1. I’ll bet any real trade possibilities will only be there on Friday and Saturday.

    • Calchiefsfan

      The one possibility, which is somewhat of a long shot, is Cleveland talking someone like Watkins with their 5th pick. Then if one of the top QBs, (Manziel), falls down to 23 Cleveland trading up to get him thinking the Bengals are ready to replace Dalton. The other would be San Fran if there was a player at 23 they coveted and were afraid he wouldn’t be there at 30. A lot can happen on draft day though.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        That’s going to be the key to it all. Having one of the 10-15 best players fall to the bottom part of the round. That will open up a door for us to move, but it would also make drafting the fallen player possible. Especially if it’s a guy like Bridgewater.

        • Calchiefsfan

          Would you take Bridgewater at 23 or would you want to see the Chiefs use a guy like that to trade down?

          • Brian Dempsey

            Trade down. Next year with more picks might be a better time to draft a QB.

          • Calchiefsfan

            Personally, I don’t even think they need a quarterback. I’m totally happy with the three the Chiefs currently have.

  • Montez K.

    I think you have Kyle Fuller and Jason Verrett confused…not that it matters but still, figured I’d point that out. Go Chiefs!

  • chief4ever

    We got somewhat of a break with the schedule…we need an impact player for the first game..not more picks>. 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 be and will be starters..
    Kony Ealy -DE

    C J Mosley – ILB

    Xavier Su’a-Filo – OG

    Eric Ebron – TE

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Those are the four players on my short list as well. If all four of them are gone at 23, I’d definitely be looking to trade back a bit.

      • chief4ever

        I agree….I think if we trade back we can still get a starter and pick(s)…..I hope !

    • Brian Dempsey

      My first choice on that list would be Ealy. He can rush the passer and plays the run very well. Said to be a 4-3 DE, but that sounds like another 4-3 DE that KC drafted in 2006 that’s still with the Chiefs playing OLB.

      • chief4ever

        Agree: and I like him for both pass rushing DE and as protection if Hali or Houston miss any time.

  • berttheclock

    Teicher of ESPN has an interesting article up about KC trading with Houston . Houston would be able to move up to 23 and take, possibily, Nix for Romeo’ defensive line buildup in the middle. Houston would throw in their 33 pick, their 65 (first in the 3rd round) and one lower pick. KC would add their 4th pick, but, Houston would add their first pick in the 5th round

    • thabear04

      Fck that KC would never trade that many picks to move up to 1st again.

      • Bill

        Teicher’s article calls for KC trading picks 23 and 124 for Houston’s 33 and 65. I’d be all over that trade, unless one of the top picks on KC’s board slips to 23.

        • berttheclock

          The person who wrote the article which Teicher cited, failed to do the entire math for such a deal and to bring closer to even for both teams, Houston would have to add one extra low round pick which looks to me to closest to their 5th round pick which is at the top of that round.

  • Bill

    I’m all for trading down and picking up more picks this year. I’d even trade away some of next year’s picks to sweeten the pot given that KC should have a lot more picks next year and the 2015 draft class looks to be
    weaker given all the undergrads coming out this year. I would also have Flowers and Hali on the trading block given their salaries, performance and age ratio. That said, you can’t trade down without a partner and i’m sure the other GMs are smarter than me and realize the value of this year’s top 100 picks.