Monday is here and it is time for me to officially weigh in on the Chiefs draft. There have been mixed reviews among Chiefs fans on just how well the front office did last weekend. Overwhelmingly, the fans I have talked to seem to be thrilled with Berry, pretty happy with McCluster and Asamoah and totally baffled at the lack of action in the nose tackle and linebacker department.
I understand the feeling. I too was shocked as the Chiefs passed over Terrence Cody and
later, Cam Thomas during the draft. We have talked at length here on AA about the Chiefs needs at NT. While we didn’t all always agree on where NT should go on the priority list, we all did agree that it was a priority.
I have been sleeping on it and I still don’t have an answer as to why the Chiefs skipped the nose tackle position all together. I just don’t know. I do know, however, that Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel are not stupid men. They know the importance of the position. They have broken down the tape of last year’s defense and they know more about what went wrong than we do. So while I would like to be raking Pioli and Co. over the coals right now like many around the blogosphere, I am going to give the benefit of the doubt right now. The offeason is still young and I anticipate KC will still make a move at the position.
Shortly after the weekends festivities, we took a reader approval poll and the most of our readers gave the Chiefs a solid B on their draft. Out of over 700 votes and counting, here is the breakdown:
B-370 votes or 49%
A-199 votes or 29%
C-148 votes or 20%
D-32 votes or 4%
F-6 votes or 1%
So 69% of Addicts gave the Chiefs either an A or a B and only 5% gave them a failing grade.
Well, after giving it much though, my grades are in and so is my reasoning…after the jump!
Professor Paddy gives the Chiefs an A+ on their 2010 draft class.
Am I a Chiefs homer? Yes. I work for a Chiefs blog.
That aside, they deserve this grade and here is why.
1 (5) Eric Berry DB Tennessee
2 (36) Dexter McCluster RB Mississippi
2 (50) Javier Arenas DB Alabama
3 (68) Jon Asamoah G Illinois
3 (93) Tony Moeaki TE Iowa
You are looking at 6 players in 3 rounds. You are looking at 6 starters. Yes, you are.
You are also looking at 6 guys who fill 8 areas of need for the Chiefs. Here we go:
Berry fills the gigantic need of defensive playmaker. This kid has the tools to be not just a good player but a great one. He is the early favorite to become defensive rookie of the year and his skills will force teams to game plan for him. He will make the entire defense better. This pick is a homerun.
I love this pick. McCluster fills 3 roles for the Chiefs. He will be primarily their slot receiver as reported by the Chiefs brass but he is much more than that. Dexter can line up in the Wildcat or simply as a running back. He provides the Chiefs with field stretching speed and pass catching ability. Oh yeah, he can also return punts. McCluster said when he worked out for the Chiefs they had him fielding punts. Look for him to fit that role as well. This is a guy that Matt Cassel can dump the ball off to and let him go to work.. Is he small? Sure. So is Wes Welker.
If used properly, McCluster could be in the running for offensive rookie of the year honors. Could you imagine the Chiefs having both? With Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel guiding these guys, it could happen.
Most wouldn’t consider a nickel cornerback to be a starter but times have changed. Teams are tossing the ball around like crazy these days. One of those teams happen to be the San Diego Charger. As it stands, the Chargers are the kings of the AFC West and if the Chiefs want to beat them, they need solid corner play. The Chiefs noted in their post-draft press conference that the 3rd corner is now statistically on the field 60% of the snap for the defense. The Chiefs had a significant drop of in talent last season after Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr. Not anymore. With the continued progression of the Flowers and Carr combo (and both saw their numbers improve in 2009) and the additions of Berry and Arenas to the Chiefs secondary, KC has the chance to have one of the most formidable pass defenses in the NFL in the coming years.
Oh, and Arenas was the best kick -returner in the draft and now he is a Chief. KC’s special teams were very good last year in coverage but they lacked severely in the return game. The additions of McCluster and Arenas should make them among the best in the league in special teams and if you remember the impact Dante Hall had on the 2003 season, you know how important that is.
I admit, I didn’t see this coming but the more I read about this kid the more I like this pick. He is another character guy and another team captain. He carried a 3.8 GPA at Illinois and he was regarded by many “experts” as the 2nd best G in the entire draft. That’s right. The Chiefs got the 2nd best G in the entire draft they got him in the 3rd round.
Kansas City has now fortified their offensive line. They added Ryan Lilja who will be able to step in at the other G position opposite Brian Waters. They added veteran and former Chief, Casey Weigmann to challenge Rudy Niswanger for the starting C position.
They like Albert at LT. Don’t listen to the “move Albert to G” hype. It is silly. This kid was a 1st round talent and he is improving. He is going to be fine at LT. KC also has Ryan O’Callaghan at RT and they feel very comfortable with his play there.
Where does Asamoah fit?
While I am not sure of the Chiefs exact plans for this kid, I believe he is the eventual replacement for Brian Waters. However, if Asamoah comes to camp and shows he is ready to start, the Chiefs are faced with a good problem. They will have the option of moving Waters to center, a position the Chiefs know he can play, or they can give Asamoah a try there. They can either cut the aging Weigmann, who is not really a reliable option at C given his age or they can keep him for depth.
Either way, the Chiefs have done a lot to improve their offensive line this season and Chiefs fans should be happy about that.
Now we come to the TE. This is the move that seems to bother Chief fans the most. When it happened, I didn’t like it either. It really sounded like the Chiefs gave up a lot to get this kid. They traded their 4th round pick and a 5th round pick to move back into the back end of the 3rd round to get a TE. Everyone instantly thought of the move up to get Jack O’Connel and shuddered. A 4th and a 5th round pick for a TE?
It isn’t as bad as it sounds. The Chiefs only moved up from 102 to 93 and they used their last of three 5th round picks (#144) to do it. They really liked Moeaki and they likely think he can be a starter for them at TE. He is regarded as a very good blocker and pass catcher and he only slipped a bit because of injury concerns. Well, from what I understand, the Chiefs are regarded as having one of the very best medical staffs in the entire league and they obviously cleared Moeaki. Is it a gamble? Sure. But the Chiefs did not want to lose out on this kid. They were unlikely to get a starter with the 144th pick anyway, so if Moeaki starts for them and plays well, the move was worth it.
If he is what the Chiefs say he is, they got themselves more offensive line help and an offensive weapon with this TE.
What isn’t there to like about that?
5 (136) Kendrick Lewis DB Mississippi-
5 (142) Cameron Sheffield LB Troy-
The Chiefs final 2 selections are likely project players to add depth. Kendrick Lewis played DB at Ole Miss but was a receiver in high school. Lewis wasn’t a lights out safety but he should provide some nice depth behind Berry and Page.
Cameron Sheffield is another intriguing pick out of Troy. He played DE in college but he is too small for that position in the pros. He will move to OLB for KC and the Chiefs are likely hoping they can use him to generate a little pressure off the edge.
Remember, the Chiefs don’t need to leave Mike Vrabel in for all 3 downs. They can pull him in 3rd and long situations when they need pressure. They did this sort of thing a lot last year, often pulling Tyson Jackson to insert Wallace Gilberry who did a fantastic in limited action, racking up 4.5 sacks and 22 tackles. Also, don’t forget, Vrabel’s primary backup at OLB is Andy Studebaker who was known as quite the sack master in college, though it was in D3.
No, the addition of Sheffield and the presence of Andy Studebaker does not immediately appear to repair the Chiefs pass rush issues and the presence of Eric Berry and Arenas does not fix the Chiefs deficiencies at NT or MLB. There is more work to be done.
Still, the Chiefs now greatly improved at S, CB, RB, WR, G and TE.
Not a bad job by Scott Pioli so far. Not bad at all.
Yes, this is all contingent on these guys living up to the potential I have outlined here but I think this draft goes a long, long way toward improving this team and making it competitive.
For that, for now, the Chief get top marks. A+!
Note: As of the completion of this article, the Chiefs have scheduled former Jag and true nose tackle, John Henderson for a visit tomorrow. I think it is likely he doesn’t leave KC without a contract. If that is the case, you can cross NT off the list.