We’re a scant 48 hours away from the opening round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Christmas morning has finally come for fans of the greatest professional sport in the world. It’s been a long winter and by now it’s all been discussed. If I have to read another scouting report, I’m going to scream. Let me take a moment to thank the good commissioner for an extra two weeks to overthink and overanalyze the draft (read: sarcasm). Everyone’s had ample opportunity to be an armchair general manager. We’ve all shared our ideas of which players we think John Dorsey should draft. Today, I’m actually going to step into his shoes and give the war room marching orders (not really).
For the purpose of this mock draft, I’m going to use Fanspeak’s On the Clock NFL Mock Draft Simulator. If you’ve never visited the website, I encourage you to do so. It’s a nifty site where you can simulate up to seven rounds of the draft, for any team, using big boards from Fanspeak, Walter Football, DraftTV, or OurLads. I’m going to use Fanspeak’s own player rankings for today’s mock.
If all hearts and minds are clear, let’s begin.
Round 1: Calvin Pryor (S), Louisville
The Kansas City Chiefs are officially on the clock and I’m already faced with a dilemma. You won’t believe who’s still on the board 22 players into the draft. I have the choice between Louis Nix, Brandin Cooks, Calvin Pryor, Odell Beckham, Timmy Jernigan, and Ra’Shede Hageman. If you’ve been following my column over the last month you know Cooks, Beckham, and Pryor are three of the four players on my R1 short list. Wide receiver and safety are the two areas that need the most attention on this football team so let’s trim that group of six down to three.
This trio of players figure to be highly productive starters in the near future. In fact, I’m confident all of them can have an immediate impact in their rookie seasons. This is an impossible decision to make, but historically safeties are safer picks in the top round of the draft. Couple that with a deep wide receiver class and it becomes a no-brainer.
Calvin Pryor is athletic, tenacious, rangy, and has the kind of versatility that Bob Sutton’s coverage schemes demand. He can play either safety position and brings toughness to this defensive unit. Picture him alongside Eric Berry. His presence shores up the holes in the back of the secondary and allows Sutton to consistently call the single-high sets we saw frequently the first half of the 2013 season. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.
With the 23rd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select…
Calvin Pryor, Safety – Louisville.
Round 3: Trent Murphy (DE/OLB), Stanford
After a full round off, the Kansas City Chiefs are back on the clock. Unfortunately, I’m not as impressed with the board this time around. Of the ten best prospects available, only two of them catch my eye. Trent Murphy, a defensive end out of Stanford, and LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Wide receiver’s the bigger need, but we can’t forget Tamba Hali’s soon to be 31 years old, is approaching the end of his contract, and has a nearly $12 million cap hit in 2015.
Murphy’s too small to play with a hand on the ground in an odd front. I expect him to be moved to outside linebacker in the NFL (where he’s more than capable). The four-year man out of Stanford led the nation in sacks last year (with 15). During his collegiate career he logged 32.5 sacks. He’s instinctive, athletic, and has the kind of motor that would make his veteran mentor proud. Murphy gives the Chiefs an insurance policy in the event of injury and a great option to succeed Hali if he defects after 2015.
Jarvis Landry has all of the intangibles you want in a wide receiver. He’s a reliable route-runner, has good hands, can high point and snatch a ball away from a defender, is a capable and talented blocker, and can contribute to special teams. The biggest knock on Landry is his timed speed. At the NFL Combine, he ran an underwhelming 4.77 in the 40-yard dash. He improved that number to 4.51 at his pro day, but I’m still not sure he has the kind of wheels necessary to be a good complement to Dwayne Bowe. The Chiefs want a quick-twitch receiver opposite of Bowe. He’s a polished prospect, but I think need at wideout will have to wait another round (or two).
With the 87th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select…
Trent Murphy, Defensive End – Stanford