We had our fun last week, presupposing the Chiefs would suck just enough to land the #1 pick in the draft, and thus land Andrew Luck. And while I believe this race is still on, the odds are not exactly in our favor, and there are some truly awful teams in the NFL this year.
So let’s go with something most realistic: that the Chiefs will be truly awful this year, but won’t be able to land the #1 pick. (Though they’ll come close.)
I also want to remind you, the reader, of something: this is a mental exercise for the Chiefs future, not advocacy. We obviously don’t know what free agent signings or coaching changes will occur in the next eight months leading up to the draft. Besides, the team has seven picks so far in the draft, and the Chiefs have needs all over the roster.
Some assumptions of the following mock:
1. Injury-riddled, imploding, with a coaching staff that has checked out, the Chiefs were clearly one of the worst teams in the league in 2011. However, the Chiefs do sport Pro Bowl and even All Pro talent at too many positions to win the race for Luck this year, so they end up winning four games, giving them the #4 spot in the NFL Draft.
2. QB Matt Cassel is brought back for a year to keep the QB seat warm, after a poor 2011 campaign. It’s possible the Chiefs just want to keep him while grooming some QB of the future, be it Stanzi or anybody else.
3. We tender ILB Jovan Belcher & K Ryan Succop.
4. We franchise WR Dwayne Bowe, a big deal pending a la Tamba Hali.
5. We re-sign CB Brandon Carr to a multi-year deal.
6. We re-sign WR Jerheme Urban, TE Leonard Pope, ILB Brandon Siler, OLB Andy Studebaker, CB Travis Daniels, and S Jon McGraw to one-year deals.
7. We let go of the following players: RB Thomas Jones, FB Le’Ron McClain, TE Jake O’Connell, OT Barry Richardson, OT Jared Gaither, C Casey Wiegmann, NT Kelly Gregg, and DE Wallace Gilberry.
Let the games begin.
1. OT Matt Kalil, USC
For the purpose of this exercise, I am not going quarterback with this pick. I’m not going quarterback for a couple different reasons: (a.) we simply don’t know if the Chiefs will be willing to spend a first on QB, and (b.) to break up the monotony.
So I have no idea why, so let’s say somehow the draft falls like this:
1. Seahawks pick QB Andrew Luck
2. Colts pick QB Matt Barkley
3. Broncos trade up to pick QB Landry Jones
So there we are, at the 4th pick, with not a single QB worthy of that kind of currency. At this point, there’s only a few players even worth considering at this juncture:
RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
OT Matt Kalil, USC
OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
DE/OLB Donte Paige-Moss, North Carolina
ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State
CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
And that’s it. It’s a weird scenario. One of my assumptions going in was that we’ve resigned Brandon Carr long-term. If we hadn’t, I believe Kirkpatrick absolutely has to be the pick.
But if we have? It gets weirder. RB and ILB typically don’t warrant Top 10 picks since you can get great ones all over the draft. The best WRs almost always come from the first round, but we’ve already got Bowe and Baldwin. If Baldwin flounders in his rookie year, Blackmon would be a great pick opposite Bowe. But we don’t know that yet. Coples is a pure 4-3 defensive end, and has no place in our defense. And Paige-Moss can’t play the Mike Vrabel role opposite Hali. He’s much more of a Hali type of OLB.
That leaves us with offensive tackle. I’m not thrilled going tackle here because Branden Albert has played so well so far. I would prefer the Chiefs to draft a playmaker (my preference would be to draft Blackmon), but the best and safest players on the board are Kalil and Martin. Besides, there’s no guarantee the Chiefs will want to resign Albert, but I’m sure they’d give him one more year at LT while the stud rookie mans RT.
That said, the Chiefs pick Kalil over Martin. Both should be fine NFL tackles, but Kalil has the distinction of playing so well, last year’s #9 pick Tyron Smith never got a chance to play left tackle.
Rounds two through seven, after the jump.
2. QB Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
The value wasn’t at QB at the top of the first round, sadly. However, value works out a lot better here in the second.
Cousins is a talented, composed game manager for the Spartans. He is the kind of guy the Belichek trees loves — his size is a little lacking, but he’s got pretty good footwork, is very accurate, and has been a starter at a big time program for years. He doesn’t come with the physical limitations that Cassel has, and can hit long routes with his good arm. He doesn’t have the mental limitations that Brodie Croyle has, and he works incredibly hard during the week. In particular, he has something that both men lack: true, natural leadership that a team can truly rally around.
Something this team has needed since the heyday of Trent Green.
3. WR Marvin McNutt, Iowa
A mock probably wouldn’t be complete without at least one Iowa player thrown in there. Pioli loves players from this program, and he should: they are far more likely to turn into quality pros under Kirk Ferenz than to bust. Matter of fact, Ferenz has been floated as a coaching possibility if Haley loses his job this season. To me, he seems to be the most feasible option.
The Chiefs yet again are going to be in the market for a wide receiver. They’ve got a decent triumverate now with Bowe, Breaston (assuming he and Cassel can continue to connect) and Baldwin, who has a ton of football left this season. McNutt offers quality depth and while he isn’t the one-dimensional speed demon that this team needs, he is excellent at route adjustments and has reliable hands. The Chiefs need to start going four-wide with four quality receivers to open up the run game even more.
4. TE Orson Charles, Georgia
Every premier offense in the NFL has multiple TEs that can make plays. Double-tight-end packages are becoming more and more common anyway, and the Chiefs have no depth at the TE position behind Tony Moeaki.
Charles is the kind of mid-rounder worth taking; he has second-day skills but will be taken on the third day because he’s only a hair over 230 lbs. He is still a game breaker with really great playmaking ability in the Jimmy Graham mold. He will just be a one-dimensional receiving threat his rookie year, and will have to develop the other, more physical part of his game as time goes on. But I’ll take another great pair of hands downfield, please.
5. RB Marc Tyler, USC
Tyler is another vintage mid-rounder pick I’d make. This is a guy on the rise right now, so who knows how long we’ll have with him as a mid-rounder, but he comes with a slew of character concerns, particularly drunken partying that has made its way to the internet. Still, the Chiefs could bank on the fact that they’ve scored enough quality guys to make taking a chance in the 5th round a do-able risk. Hell, it was a determination they made last year in the 1st and 3rd rounds.
Tyler is your bowling ball back at 230 lbs. He’s not a gamebreaker, he is someone you use between the tackles to punish the other team’s defensive line in goal line situations. He will also be putting up some amazing numbers this year as Allen Bradford is no longer sharing touches.
6. SS Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
I think the defense just needs more safeties with a better nose for the ball. Lewis is getting the job done adequately at free safety, and Jon McGraw can man the station in a pinch. But the fact that there is not another decently-sized strong safety on this team with a natural ability to sniff out plays is evidence now that the team has to lean on Sabby Piscitelli.
Smith has consistently flirted with stacking up 100 tackles in a season for two straight seasons. He’s a tackling machine with some ballskills.
7. C/G David Snow, Texas
With 2012’s promotion of Rodney Hudson, the Chiefs sorely need depth along the interior of the offensive line. Darryl Harris can do, but is frequently injured. David Snow is an agile, experienced starter for a good offense in Texas, and has some versatility at guard.
The 2012 Kansas City Chiefs
QB: Cassel, Stanzi, Cousins
RB: Charles, Tyler, McCluster
WR: Bowe, Baldwin, Breaston, McNutt, Copper, McCluster
TE: Moeaki, Charles, Pope
LT: Albert, Kalil
LG: Lilja, Harris
C: Hudson, Snow
RG: Asamoah, Harris
RT: Kalil, Maneri
DE: Dorsey, Gordon
NT: Powe, Gordon
DE: Jackson, Bailey
OLB: Hali, Sheffield
ILB: Belcher, Siler
ILB: Johnson, Williams
OLB: Houston, Studebaker
CB: Flowers, Carr, Arenas, Brown, Daniels
S: Berry, Lewis, Smith, McGraw
KR: Arenas, McCluster
PR: Arenas, McCluster