Chiefs: AFC West Draft Realities

1 Feature From The Bleachers

There’s always that “donk” sound following a whack on the side of the head coming with the realization after the draft… that our AFC West foes have perhaps gotten better than the Chiefs in the draft weekend process. However, what follows may offer that sobering donk a few days early.

In what is being touted as the deepest draft in light years with the best DT in 10 years (Aaron Donald), and a plethora of top-notch QBs sprinkled across every round; with a wonderland of wideouts not seen in 15 years, and possibly an equal number of quality corners as wideouts. When all of this is being provided by this 2014 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers (the Chiefs’ main AFC West competition) are each getting seven draft picks while Oakland, like K.C., is receiving six (however Oakland gets theirs in the early part of each round).

The Raiders are drafting four out of the top 107 prospects in this year’s draft. The Bolts, four out of the top 125 and the Broncos, four out of the top 131. The Chiefs will be drafting three out of the top 124 prospects.

As of this moment, each AFC West team’s draft picks look like this:

AFC West Draft Picks

When you’re chasing two teams in your own division, “now” is never a good time to fall behind in the arms race.

As I’ve stated before, I’m all in favor of the Chiefs trading down. Picking up one more pick in this “year of the quality prospect” can even out the playing field. Some will say the second-round pick the Chiefs spent on bringing Alex Smith to K.C. is that great equalizer but there are also those who are already predicting that the Chiefs are, and will be, the third best team in the AFC West. And, they’re doing that before draft day is even here.

So, let’s take a look at three mock drafts. All three will be done at Fanspeak. In the first mock, I’ll be picking for the Broncos. In the second mock I’ll be picking for the Chargers. In the last mock, the Raiders.

Then we’ll take a look at comparing the picks each team ends up with, because that’s essentially what we’ll be doing come Saturday evening, the 10th of May. In other words, a week from today.

Let’s begin with the Broncos’ draft.

1 Broncos DraftThe Broncos need a DT and Ra’Shede Hageman could be someone who wreaks havoc for years to come. AA writer Lyle Graversen will not be happy if this scenario plays out because Hageman is his top choice for the Chiefs, and if you’ve watched any tape on him, you can understand why.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste is one of those tall, long and lanky corners who should help to ease the pain and suffering, along with the addition of ex-Patriots CB Aqib Talib, of the loss of Champ Bailey.

Guard David Yankey, while slow to pull, once he gets to his man, he takes him out. He’ll be much more suited to protecting Manning in the passing game than plowing the way for runners because he not very athletic and his foot speed lags. However, Yankey, Jean-Baptiste and Hageman could all be day one starters, or at least big time contributors.

The Chargers, whose players were selected by the Fanspeak automated generator, have an equally impressive top three in: defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, offensive tackle Cameron Fleming and corner E.J. Gaines. However, the point of this comparison is to show the overall “haul” that each of the Chiefs AFC West rivals are making while comparing that to the Chiefs’ new additions. In this draft, the Broncos’ draft, seven is clearly better than six.

Next let’s look at the draft in which I am selecting for the San Diego Chargers.

1 Chargers DraftIf I was the Chargers GM and a Chiefs fan, I would now hate myself. The first round choices across the board were all fairly predictable but, when Austin Seferian-Jenkins became available in the second round and then Zach Mettenberger in the third, I felt like I was setting the Chargers up for success for the next decade. Legitimate replacements for both Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates in one draft, in one fell swoop, was more than I could pass up. And… made me want to up-chuck.

The point of this experiment is simply to see ahead of time that our division foes could each end up with an incredible draft crop and one that out shines the Chiefs’ draft no matter what the Chiefs do.

Chiefs fans should be ready for that to happen but it comes with the territory. What territory you may ask? The territory of, 1) the Broncos and the Chargers having more picks than the Chiefs and, 2) being involved in one of the best and deepest talent pools in at least a decade.

Now, I’m not normally into assessing the true value of a draft class until four years have passed and sometimes longer. However, an AFC West team could have won a Super Bowl ring by then and done so with the help of this draft class so to some extent it’s worthless to wait four years.  With that being said, there’s no denying the level of skills and athleticism of the prospects in the 2014 draft. These prospects not only pass the eyeball test but have some of the best numbers of prospects in years. For instance, if you were to add up all the yardage that the top 11 QBs in this draft class totaled, I believe it would outshine any other year. No, I have not done the tabulations but, I’m fairly sure I’m right on that one.

Here are the senior year stats for the top 11 QBs this year,

1. Johnny Manziel, 4,114

2. Blake Bortles, 3,581

3. Teddy Bridgewater, 3,970

4. Derek Carr, 5,083

5. Jimmy Garoppolo, 50,50

6. Tom Savage, 2,958

7. Zach Mettenberger, 3,082

8. A.J. McCarron, 3,063

9. Aaron Murray, 3,075 & 3,893 (Junior year)

10. Logan Thomas, 2,909

11. David Fales, 4,189

Seven of the top 11 quarterbacks in this draft have thrown for more than 3,500 yards in a college season. That’s a good draft class and the sad part for some of these QB prospects is they may go undrafted but, if they’d come out in a different year they’d not only be drafted but drafted fairly high.

Next, let’s take a look at the Raiders’ draft.

1 Raiders Draft

I’m feeling more and more confident that Houston will be trading out of the number one spot so that the Falcons can get Jadeveon Clowney, so the above draft scenario shouldn’t happen. However, the point should be made that the Raiders are getting four of the top 107 prospects in an incredibly deep draft. One scout was quoted as saying that in this draft you could get a third-round talent in the fifth round. If that’s true, what could you get in the third round? I’m pretty certain that means some teams will be getting a first-round talent near the top of the third round. Right where the Raiders are picking. Play their cards right and the Raiders could end up with three first rounders (talent wise) in this draft. That’s a terrific way to get good fast.

I don’t know what’s wrong with the Fanspeak Mock Draft generator because in one draft it correctly showed the Raiders not getting a fifth- or sixth-round pick but in this draft it shows no fourth rounder. In any event, Chiefs fans should expect the Raiders to have a very strong draft because, 1) they draft in the 5 hole of each round (except the 5th and 6th rounds) and, 2) Raiders Reggie McKenzie’s GM skills were nurished for 18 years in the same Packers garden as John Dorsey’s.

Plus, the Raiders are picking 18 slots ahead of the Chiefs in each round.

The realities of this draft for the Chiefs, and Chiefs fans alike, can be sobering especially when viewed through the glass darkly, the AFC West. However, remember the Chiefs have all the star players they had last year (and both Albert and McCluster should be easily replaced) and with a few holes filled, will be a much better team than they were a year ago. Yes, the AFC West foes will be improving too but Andy Reid and John Dorsey should be a up to the task.

The task? Draft three starters with their first three picks.

Looking back over the sample drafts scenarios for each team above, it’s clear that every AFC West foe could draft a starting-caliber prospect in the first three rounds. What that means for Dorsey and Reid — and what that means as far as keeping up with the Joneses — is that the Chiefs will have to be such good talent evaluators in this draft that their first three picks, in rounds 1, 3, and 4 are also worthy starting caliber talents.

It’s a tall order. Can it be done? In this draft, with R&D at the helm, I have to believe the answer is a resounding, YES. In fact, it’s specifically what I’ll be watching out for. Comparing those first three picks for each AFC West counterpart, that’s “The Keys to Victory” in this draft.

In the long term, the Chiefs need each of their draft picks to come through. Just like they need each of their picks from last season to heal, develop and mature, the same can be said for this year’s crop… in order for the Chiefs be able to play against the big boys of the league. Yes, Mr. Manning in Denver has one or two more years left and Philip Rivers a few more left in the tank than that, but I’m not of the opinion that that the Chiefs should “wait around” for the neighborhood bullies to finish dominating time on the local court just so they can get some mop up minutes before the sun goes down on their own aging stars. It’s time to step up and “push” those bullies off the court!

Fans have mocked the bone marrow out of this draft class. The only cure now for the Goodell “Delay of Game” penalty imposed on this draft is to get a real draft day transfusion going. Personally, I can’t wait.

Go Chiefs!

Alright, Addict fans, who will have the best draft in the AFC West?

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  • Stan Colbert

    We seem to be putting a lot of faith in last year’s 3rd & 5th round pick to perform. Not to mention a castoff from Seattle, aye! Dorsey, gives a lot of cred. to the coaching staff. I like them too, though thought SD did a great job last year getting that team into the playoffs!

    • berttheclock

      Of course, it helps when your 12th Man happens to wear black and white.

      • Stan Colbert

        Hey Bert, was thinkin and you might know! Any other NFLers ever give a college commencement address? I thought AS11 did a great job!

        • berttheclock

          The only one I know of is Mark Murphy, the CEO of the Green Bay Packers. He gave the 2012 commencement address for Colgate. But, Murphy, a former stellar defensive back for the Redskins has worn many hats, including being the AD for his Alma Mater, Colgate, as well.

          Yes, Mr Smith did very well at the U of U. Not only as a student, a solid football career, but, his commencement address was exceptional.

          • Stan Colbert

            I thought it would be a pretty short list! Surprised to here he hates public speaking, he does it well!

  • berttheclock

    Ah, Laddie returns crooning “I’ve got those U-Haul blues”.

    McKenzie is primed. If he performs well, he stays, If he blows it, he goes. Geez, not much pressure there, eh?

    Not much the Chiefs can do about what the others in the division end up doing. Some have written that the Chiefs must obtain the guard from UCLA because they fear Denver covets him. Others suggest there are better guards than he, especially, Gabe Jackson. But, how does that play with the real needs of the Chiefs? The Chiefs need safety help or wide out help before they need a new RG. But, Benjamin at wide out? Might as well ask Baalke for the return of Baldwin.

    • ladner morse

      Bert, my house burned 9 months ago and the insurance co. is just now getting me back into it. The rental was only 3 miles away so the major U-Hauling is done but there’s a load of little things to take care of and I won’t actually be done with it all until next weekend…. draft weekend… ugh! So, I will likely not be posting this coming Wednesday morning.

      It’s been suggested that the Chiefs trade Flowers for multiple picks. If possible I say yes. However, trading away the players who are making the most in salary this season would also be trading away players at the Chiefs positions of greatest need… WR and CB which makes that a Catch-22 situation: getting rid of players to help solve one problem (cap issues) only to create another problem (acquiring good skill position players at WR and CB).

      It’s so sad to look back and see that the Chiefs could have had 1,000 yard WR Torrey Smith a whole round later if they wanted in 2011 instead of Jon Baldwin… and the point of saying that is that Smith has progressed enough to make him a #1 and then the Chiefs could be trading Bowe right now knowing they’d have a #2 slide over to #1 and then they could easily pick up a great #2 in this draft.

      You throw a pebble in a pond… and the ripples……………………..

      • berttheclock

        Last July we had a move from hell. We had sold our house to escape across the Columbia to Vancouver. Patricia set up a small local mover and they were to arrive at 8 AM to begin the haul. No show. A long series of calls involving truck breakdown problems, switching trucks, traffic problems, etc, etc. They, finally arrived at 6:30 PM and hauled what they could in the smaller truck and off loaded around nine thirty. We had been up since two in the morning getting everything ready. Then, they told us they would have to give us a discount due not having the right size truck. We took the discount and rented a U-Haul the next morning. If it had not been for friends of ours helping, it might have lasted another day. I still cringe when passing that U-Haul store in Portland. To top it off, my hip went out and provided a chiro with quite a bit of extra money to send his boy to college.

  • jimfromkcj

    Laddie, this is a post I posted a day or o ago and I think it could apply to your story line as well.

    When I look at the Chiefs, I see a team with a two fold problem. Not enough talent at several positions and a cap problem caused by very bad choices by the team over the last few years. I have tried to address both problems with this mock. I think it is time to start unraveling the cap problem we have let ourselves into by trading Flowers to the lions for their 2nd rd pick 45 and their 4th rd pick 133 This will give us 8 picks in the top 200 players in this draft The draft as I would like to see it would be:
    RD1 pick 23 B. Cooks WR
    RD2 pick 45 G. Jackson OG
    RD3 pick 87 P. Desir CB
    RD4 pick 124 T. Smith ILB
    RD4 pick 133 E. Reynolds FS
    RD5 pick 163 J. Britt RT
    RD6 pick 193 J. Janis WR
    RD6 Pick 200 B. Vereen SS

    Compare this mock with those you have mocked for the Raiders, Broncos and the Chargers. I think it would compare favorably. It addresses the Off line with a starter at LG and a good RT for backup and replaces Flowers with a younger bigger and faster replacement at a much cheaper price tag. with cooks we have a quality WR to stretch the field and Janis is a sleeper who might be a quality #3. T. Smith s a little light, but he is 6’3″ so can put on a few more pounds and he has great speed for a LB.



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    • ladner morse

      Jim, do you think it’s actually possible to get a second for Flowers… and a 4th. I’m thinking the Chiefs would be lucky to get a 3rd and that’s it. The problem then is… we’re right back where we started from a player perspective… we’d have to use that pick on a CB hoping they turn out to be as good as Flowers still is… which I realize is diminished but maybe better than a 3rd round pick who we can’t determine right now.

      If in deed the Chiefs could get a 2nd + a 4th… I’m all in.

      • jimfromkcj

        Which of our overpaid players could we get a 2nd and an extra pick for? Berry, Hali or Bowe? They are on my crap list to get rid of as soon as possible. We need to start drafting with our heads instead of our hearts. The cap is a serious problem and if you want to keep Alex and Houston, we are going to have to make some trade offs. The reason I started with Flowers is because he is the one I think has the most bang for the buck in trade talks. But I have no favorites, trade whoever you can to get extra picks. This may be the only hope we have of filling out the roster with some quality players who can get up to speed to win with the players we have.

        • jimfromkcj

          And, finally one of you guys are willing to admit that Flowers is not a franchise CB and never has been, but we are paying him franchise money. The real judge of talent is the other teams in the NFL and what they think. You feel that he would be lucky to get a 3rd rd pick for him. the reason I chose Detroit for the trade is because of our old def coach that is with Detroit now. Perhaps he would like to have him and would give a 2nd and a 4th for him. We can only hope.

          • Calchiefsfan

            I think Flowers is very good but I agree, I don’t think you can call him a franchise CB. That would be nice If Gunther gave us a 2nd for him.

          • berttheclock

            If you are going to get bang for the buck in a Detroit trade, it would be for Berry, not Flowers. Detroit is in desperate need for a quality safety and Berry IS A QUALITY SAFETY, who, just happened to come into the NFL the last year of the big rookie contracts. Any player the Chiefs took at that 5th spot would be paid the same amount of money and, NO, Okung has never been the quality LT many hype him to be. Far too many injuries. If Okung were in KC, you would be harping about his huge contract. Pioli had to pay what he did and in some ways he actually held Berry’s contract down because it is not split in the middle between the Redskins OT and Okung. Of course, trading up to 10 with Detroit would require the Chiefs to take, either, Ha Ha or Pryor at 10, but, the Chiefs would gain extra picks.

        • Chuck Burrell

          Your vision is foggy

          • jimfromkcj

            Would you mind clarifying that statement? This is just one way we can compete with the other teams in our division. It also is a start towards dealing with a cap problem I have been warning about ever since we drafted Berry and made him the highest payed safty in the league before he had played a down. There is a method to what seems a madness in how each position is valued in the NFL and if it is not closely followed, you end up in cap purgatory where we are at today.

          • Chuck Burrell

            No problem. I think it’s ridiculous to want to trade Berry, one of the best safeties in the NFL, while he is entering his prime. It just so happens that high performing safeties are going to be paid top dollar. I’ll never be convinced that trading your young stars will contribute to success on the field (see: MLB, Royals). When Berry first entered the league I had high hopes for him and he didn’t live up to my expectation… first. Throughout his career he has progressed in every aspect of his game and will continue to do so for several more years. Tamba and Bowe are exiting their prime so there is a valid argument to want to trade them. But with the league continually trending toward younger and cheaper players I’m not sure what type of compensation would be worth the trade. Late round picks? Maybe a gem is found but more realistically we would spend too much money somewhere else trying to compensate for the lack of stability the said players brought to this team for the last 7 or 8 years. And as for flowers…we both know he’s not bringing a 2nd and 4th.

    • Calchiefsfan

      I like the picks Jim except we could never get a second round pick for Flowers, let alone a 2nd and a 4th. I think our best bet is for someone like SF to trade up and we pick up their second round pick then get Jackson, (who I really like and the Chiefs need).

    • ladner morse

      Jim, I’d do a similar trade with Hali being the bate if… and only if… OLB Anthony Barr fell in our laps @ #23. But… we’d have to get back two picks for sure.

      • jimfromkcj

        Laddie, I don’t believe in making conditions in a trading situation. Either you are willing to trade for picks to improve the team or you are not. We are not going anywhere this year in my estimation, so why not do some housecleaning and get the cap straightened out. I could care less if we win 2 games or 8 games if we get balanced in our cap and improve the roster with young players who have some good size and speed. On my mock I posted for your consideration I chose 2 WR’s Cooks with 4.33 speed and Janis with 4.42 speed. What do we have to match that on the current roster? I am a follower of Al Davis when it comes to speed. He was ahead of his time and I believe he was screwed up in the head with cancer the last few years of his life.

  • Calchiefsfan

    I really, really hate the Chiefs selections in the Broncos draft. It would be a disastrous draft imho. I believe Benjamin to be the second coming of Jon Baldwin and as much as I like Fedorowicz It’s not really a top need like say OG, DL or FS, or even CB. From the 4th round on it’s really a crap shoot where a team is fortunate to get a quality starter. That’s why it is imperative to hit home runs in the 1st and 3rd rounds for the Chiefs. The reality is the Chiefs have only 6 picks because of the Smith trade. I’m fine with that since Smith is the best QB by far since Green and really I think Smith is better than Trent Green. So Smith is the best QB we’ve had since Montana, 20 years! The Chiefs just have to make the most of these picks because Denver and San Diego WILL get better this draft. Oakland, who cares?

  • berttheclock

    Well, for me, I for see Candy Boy, Medal Count, General a Rod, Intense Holiday and Wicked Strong having legitimate money shots, this afternoon..

  • jimfromkcj

    Laddie, sorry to hear about your home burning. About 25 years ago I decided to build a house for us to retire in,It is all one floor with in floor hydro heat The boiler is a pulse unit which has a sealed combustion chamber and takes air from outside and also air for combustion from outside using PVC pipes There is no open flame in the house at all. I tried to design it so there would be as little maintenance as possible and as safe as possible. If I had it to do over the only change would be to make it about a 1000 ft smaller. I am 80 and my wife is 73 and we kinda wander around a lot, but there is enough room for us to not get on each other’s nerves. She has her sewing room and I have my computer room and they are just in shouting distance of each other.

    • ladner morse

      Wow… I always wanted to build my own house or a convert an old barn… but that time has come and gone… perhaps in my next life. Yours sound glorious!

  • Chris Tarrants

    I can honestly say that KC will win this draft. We don’t have just 6 picks which seems to be the general consensus. If you add Kelce, And Commings we have 8 picks. These guys were not a factor last year but were also replaced. So no matter who we draft, you have to add these two into the mix also, which IMO could be what we need to be over the top

  • Michael Shaw

    Ok, as usual, I am confused. How are we chasing TWO teams in our division??? I know we are chasing Denver, but how in holy realm of football improbabilities are we chasing the Bolts?? We were 11-5, they were 9-7 and only won 9 because WE rested our starters for the last game of the year! Which we almost won that game with all of our backups going against their starters, so again, why are we chasing the Chargers?