High Upside: Late rounders to build the future on.


Two weeks ago, compensatory picks were unveiled, and Scott Pioli ushered in a new era for the Kansas City Chiefs: an era where we actually get compensatory picks.

It’s a new world. We’ve graduated from the dark ages of annual Carl Peterson sign-a-bust and keep-players-too-long extravaganzas, to a more conservative, intelligent approach where we recognize that the every new shiny toy on the market doesn’t necessarily need to be in our toybox.  We get extra picks now, and combined with our two 5th rounders, that gives us four picks in the last three rounds.

You cannot build your team on high-rounders and free agent signings alone.  There have to be players that you pick up in dustbins that eventually flesh out your team and kick royal ass on Sundays.

This is where the best GMs prove their salt.

Fortunately for Pioli, I’m here to help.  After the jump, I list ten of my favorite late rounders to have on your football team. Onward!

As a diehard draftnik, I spend a lot of time checking out game tape from a hundred different teams across the country.  You know why?  Because the ladies love a good draftnik.

Here are ten players that have caught my eye when I either saw them play or saw their numbers.  They are my late round pet favorites.

In alphabetical order (click the links for YouTube footage):

RB Allen Bradford, USCIf we were in the business of modeling running backs after Mike Tolbert, we’d need to look no farther than Allen Bradford.  Bradford (5’10”, 242) is a firetruck out of the backfield, with tree trunk legs and a stare that bends metal.  He is not a mover and shaker.  He is not a pass catcher.  He is three yards down the nose tackle’s throat. He’s also very high character — as hard a worker as he is a hitter.  (Projected: late-rounder.)

ILB Obi Ezeh, Michigan A theme of mine, if you haven’t figured out yet, is that I love punishing football players, especially in the front-seven.  If you follow Crennel’s rigid 3-4 scheme, you know that you need a “thumper” ILB to compliment the speedier Derrick Johnson.  The Chiefs have a couple promising young players at thumper, Jovan Belcher and the recently acquired Darryl Johnston.  Ezeh is another option they could consider as a smart play diagnoser and a brilliant blower-upper of the line of scrimmage. (mid-rounder.)

CB/PR/WR? Brandon Hogan, West Virginia — Hogan is a pretty enticing prospect in the how-can-Pioli-resist mold.  The Right 53 descends directly from the Patriot Way, which demands that all players (save your franchise QB) must be expected to do more than one thing for the team.  Hogan is a great punt returner (I’ve soured on Arenas as a returner), but is also an accomplished corner that was recruited initially by WVU as a receiver!  This guy is a total utility athlete. (late-rounder)

OG/C Jason Kelce, CincinnatiI began this post a few days ago as my research was coming together.  Kelce immediately stood out to me as a player with absolutely zero buzz around him.  A guy who could sneak up draft boards, or be an absolute steal late in the draft.  Then DMN’s Rick Gosselin, the ultimate draft master, comes out with a list of his Top 5’s at every position (subscription required), and Kelce’s listed as the #5 center. Well, so much for that. (mid-rounder)

WR Terrence McCrae, OhioBeing the all-time touchdown reception leader from Ohio University isn’t a lot to scream about on its own.  Now, being 6’4″ with fantastic speed (4.3 40) with good hands?  Now we’re talking difference maker.  McCrea is a gamble, though, because frankly we just don’t know that much about him.  Despite his great numbers, he still had a very limited role in Ohio’s offense because they are definitively run-heavy.  Being asked to do more at the NFL level may be a challenge.  But he’s definitely worth a flyer. (late-rounder)

WR Denarius Moore, TennesseeOne of the beauties of the NFL draft is that in any given year, you can find a one-dimensional vertical threat in the late rounds.  Moore is such a player — his specialty, and really the only thing he does really, really well, is run faster and deeper than any other wideout you have on your team.  He specializes in being a deep threat, and if the price is right and he transitions well to the NFL, he would have a huge role in finally opening up what is perhaps the least-opened offense in the NFL. (mid-rounder)

QB Mitch Mustain, USCWhat’s that, a career backup at USC, with great intelligence and top-grade character?  I’m sure Pioli would have no interest. (late-rounder)

OT Jah Reid, Central Florida — A gargantuan man of Barry Richardson’s proportions (6’7″, 328), he would likely be gunning for B-Rich’s job at right tackle.  Not greatly athletic but nimble enough to man the right side in Haley’s offense, Reid could sorely serve as the depth at tackle this team needs.  Also has plenty of experience in shotgun. (late-rounder)

DE/NT? Sealva Siliga, Utah — The heralded team captain of the Utes, his frame is massive — currently he weighs in at 310 but he was originally recruited when he comfortably carried 340 pounds.  Can get around and be very active outside of the phone booth, will need some time to develop in order to play just as well inside the phone booth. (late-rounder)

TE/OT? Will Yeatman, Maryland — I was originally flagged to this prospect by Wes Bunting’s great piece for the National Football PostOriginally came to Maryland on a lacrosse scholarship. Insane athlete with elite size.  You could bring him onto your squad as a blocking tight end, but as Bunting details, you could easily flesh him out into left tackle material. Verrrrrrrrrrrrrry intriguing prospect. (late rounder)