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Defending the Okung Pick


Addicts, welcome to the Twilight Zone.

I am getting bodyslammed across the Chiefs blogosphere for my selection of Russell Okung with the #5 overall pick in AA’s 4.0 mock draft. Many of the people doing the bodyslamming, I would imagine, didn’t bother to read the notes I left with the Draft pick, which clearly stated that virtually all of AA has protested this, and that this was a pick trying to co-opt Pioli’s brain more than it was an AA wishlist.

I mean, seriously, let’s examine the evidence:

Having spent plenty of time tonight checking our archives, the only time that AA’s even said this would be a good idea was when our resident Draft expert, Merlin, came out saying that Okung was the best pick for positional value — and even that’s not a ringing endorsement.

So let’s call a spade a spade here. Give us a fair shake.

That said, the Okung pick is being targeted by virtually the entire Draft-o-sphere here on the Intertubes for reasons that, while AA has consistently disagreed, nonetheless do follow a line of logic. Let’s examine some of the reasons that Okung could quite conceivably be Pioli’s pick with the 5th overall.

1. This team had no problem fitting 2008’s other first rounder into a new situation. The idea that Pioli should hold Brandon Albert in some sacred esteem because he was a vaunted first round pick should be dashed. Pioli had no problem shifting Dorsey into an unnatural position to serve the greater interest of the team. New regimes rarely hold much of an esteem for old regimes’ personnel selections, and Pioli is no exception.

2. Pioli favors positional value. Few positions are truly, purely worth the #5 overall: quarterback, wide receivers, defensive line, passrushers, and left tackle.

3. Okung may genuinely be the highest rated prospect at that point. While I may disagree with them, Okung has been called the consensus best at his position in this Draft, is a unanimous Top 10 pick, and only two other players that remain fit that description: Sam Bradford and Joe Haden.

4. Albert’s contract is actually a pretty good bargain. Albert’s contract is good for a few million, but not tens and tens of million. In other words, if we did move Albert inside, or to right tackle, his paydays would still be about what you’d expect a first-round guard to make.

5. Cassel benefits immensely from an improved offensive line. One could argue that the fifth pick should ideally be able to help out Cassel as much as possible. If that’s the argument we’re clinging to, I’d actually go with CJ Spiller, but you could make worse decisions than picking up the best tackle in the entire Draft.

So there. AA does not endorse going LT with the 5th overall. But we can’t pretend like any logic behind the selection simply doesn’t exist.

That said, don’t Draft left tackle, Scott. Just, don’t.