Our First Round Options in 2012


Like Scott Pioli, a good draftnik never sleeps.

Keeping up with the newest, freshest eligible college talent is a full time job.  Scouts tour the country every month of the year to sniff out where the best talent is being groomed, and the football stars of tomorrow may materialize as a result.

You should be keeping tabs, too.

Now, it’s true, you’re not Scott Pioli.  You don’t have an army of scouts at your disposal.

But you do have AA.  And doing the dirty work you only marginally care about is what we were born to do.

So strap in.  Today’s question: who will we be debating for the Chiefs to draft in the first round of 2012?

Today’s answers, after the jump.

I will preface this list of potentials by arguing that I can’t help but predict the Chiefs drafting in the late teens in 2012.

WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma — There’s about a 50/50 chance this regime brings back Dwayne Bowe in 2012, especially if Baldwin shows well. Broyles is an incredibly shifty receiver with peerless ability to get open in college football.  Listen carefully: he hauled in over 130 passes in 2010.  Expect an even better year with a more mature Landry Jones throwing the ball. He’ll get first round consideration, but assuming we’re picking in the high-teens, he might be a little bit of a reach.

CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska — My incredibly early prediction is that the Chiefs go corner.  Brandon Carr will be up for contract, and Pioli has never shelled out money for a second corner.  Javier Arenas and Jalil Brown aren’t quite starting material — so the Chiefs could seriously opt for corner.  There are seven first-round quality corners in this year’s draft.  They don’t get much more aggressive than Dennard — an uber-physical corner that loves jamming any receiver he faces.

CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina — A bigger corner in the Brandon Carr mold, Gilmore can also generate some energy on punt returns.  Gilmore has quite in common with Arenas, he’s got pretty good coverage abilities and is a demon on the blitz.

CB Cliff Harris, Oregon — My favorite corner on this list, Harris possesses blazing speed and the ability to score on special teams every time he touches the ball.  He’s a bit smaller but makes up for it with incredible ballskills.  Think Eric Berry, when this kid gets the ball in his hands.

OLB Brandon Jenkins, Florida State — The Chiefs will almost certainly sign Tamba Hali to a long-term deal, but there’s no guarantee Studebaker or Houston pan out opposite him.  Jenkins has gained the weight necessary to make him a first-round passrusher, which  he will be; the guy is a terror off the edge, garnering 13.5 sacks in 2010.  Wow.  Remains to be seen how versatile Jenkins can be.

ILB Luke Kueckly, Boston College — Just another in a long, long line of Boston College Eagles that I love as college prospects.  Kueckly fits your typical BC mold: not physically elite, very football smart and projects very well to the pros. Never bet against a BC prospect.

OT Riley Reiff, Iowa — Unless Branden Albert can solidify himself at the LT spot, Reiff has far too many connections to the Chiefs to ignore his candidacy here. Waaaaaaay too many.  In my opinion, Reiff doesn’t project to the left side, but our right side isn’t exactly locked down either, and the Chiefs almost certainly won’t resign Barry Richardson next offseason.

RB Trent Richardson, Alabama — I don’t think this is a real possibility, but it’s shown up time and time again on a couple of influential draft blogs.  Considering nobody ever has a read on what Pioli wants, we can scratch this off as a real possibility.

NT Alameda Ta’amu, Washington — I don’t think this is a real possibility either.  But he’s the one massive NT in this draft that has high round potential.  He’ll be overvalued and overdrafted, like Phil Taylor.

OLB Devin Taylor, South Carolina — South Carolina is churning out some extreme talent this year — they could have three first rounders!  One of them will be the huge, 6’7″ Devin Taylor.  This is a real possibility for the Chiefs if they end up in the hunt for an outside passrusher; Taylor plays damn well in coverage.

ILB Manti Te’O, Notre Dame — Te’O flashes on the screen whenever you watch Notre Dame.  He has incredible speed and a phenomenal nose for the ball.  He’s more of a Derrick Johnson ILB than the thumper this defense needs, but he’s an intriguing talent nonetheless.

OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama — Lots of Alabama talent in this year’s draft as well, and Upshaw is projected to go in the first round.  He’s not a great fit for the Chiefs at this time, because he’s more of a Tamba Hali passrusher than he is a Mike Vrabel jack-of-all trades, but I suppose there’s a chance he takes real strides in coverage in 2011.

No quarterbacks in the first round.  Matt Cassel has his detractors on this website (I’m one of them).  But even if he crashes and burns hard in 2011, he’ll still have the keys to the franchise for at least one more additional year after that.  I would suspect we’ll see a 6th or 7th round QB selected, however.