A. C Travis Swanson, 6-4, 318, Arkansas
B. ILB Yawin Smallwood, 6-2, 244, UConn
C. OT/OG Seantrel Henderson, 6-7, 345, Miami, FL
Sr. Center Travis Swanson’s size, power and consistency (he’s started more than 40 straight games now), he should be counted as one of the best, at the very least. Since Andy Reid has a penchant for bigger linemen and the Chiefs have little depth at center, it’s a good bet they’ll be taking one early in the 2014 draft and Swanson is ripe for the picking. The following comes from the Sports Xchange,
"MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER: C Travis Swanson – A Rimington Trophy candidate as the nation’s top center, Swanson is the one constant on an offensive line that went through some shuffling in the spring. His leadership could prove to be a key factor in settling down a group that has to protect a new quarterback and will be expected to open up holes for a young running back corps."
It’s a good idea to find out what coaches have to say about a prospect. Especially coaches who have had other players playing the same position, who have come out in the draft recently. Bret Bielema, Arkansas’ new coach previously spent the past 6 years at Wisconsin where NFL linemen grow on trees and he had this to say of Swanson,
"“I’ve had two centers that have jumped out early in the draft, both in their junior years the last two years… I had one go first round to the Cowboys, one second round to the Falcons. I think Travis is as good as either one of those players, if not better.”"
Bielema is referring to C Travis Frederick of the Cowboys, who’s their starting Center in his rookie season and C Peter Konz, who I was high on a year ago for the Chiefs and who is also now the the Falcons starting center.
Travis Swanson has blocked for a 1,000 yard rusher, Knile Davis, and a 3,000 yard passer in Tyler Wilson. NFLdraftscout projects Swanson as the best Center in the draft and that he’ll be taken in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. It may be wishful thinking on my part that Swanson is there in round three but if he falls, he’s a good bet and investment.
"Smallwood has played productive football all season yet his performance during the victory over Maryland was incredible. He stood out in all phases as Smallwood forcefully defended the run, showed strength on the blitz as well as smarts in pass coverage. His statistics, which included 14 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks, one forced fumble as well as several pass deflections, just scratches the surface of the performance Smallwood turned in. The third-year sophomore is a complete linebacker and three-down defender that will soon be NFL ready."
That was Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated describing Smallwood… A YEAR AGO… on September 15th. Smallwood has grown. Following the 2013 NFL draft in April, ESPN’s Mel Kiper had this to say of Smallwood,
"The Huskies had four defensive players get drafted last month. Kiper says he can see three of them starting NFL games early in their rookie years. And he thinks Smallwood may be better than all of them, citing the redshirt junior’s instincts and awareness on the field and saying that he looks like he reads the game a half-second quicker than everyone around him."
Here’s a video of Yawin Smallwood vs. Louisville and #1 QB prospect Teddy Bridgewater.
What first stands out about OL Seantrel Henderson is his size. Some publications list him a 6-8 and 345. What can not be ignored is that fact that he runs a 4.93 40. When Dontari Poe ran a sub 5 second 40 and lifted 225 pounds 44 times he flew up the draft charts. The same may happen to Henderson but for now he’s projected to the 2nd or 3rd round.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports has this to say of Henderson,
"Henderson anchors well and is a tough guy to move from his spot but will also do a nice job at the second level and plays with the motor to eliminate his man once engaged. He does need to improve his eye discipline and hand usage; he grabs too much, which will lead to holding calls. Henderson has off-field baggage that needs to be checked out, but he has several attractive NFL traits and I’d expect several D.J. Fluker comparisons as we get closer to next April."
While Seantrel Henderson had a lot of fanfare coming out of high school he’s not been the “super huge” success that many expected him to be. He first committed to the USC Trojans but when he found out they would be banned from postseason play for two years he changed his mind and ended up at the University of Miami. Henderson has also had some off field issues which may drop him in the draft however, his upside is a lot like he is: super huge.
You may have noticed that only 3 out of 9 suggested draft choices is on the defensive side of the ball. For now, I consider the Chiefs to have the best defense in the league. The current standard for the best defense is the lowest total yards allowed and I say it should be the lowest total points allowed and in that case the Chiefs would currently have the best defense in the NFL. Why is that important? It’s important because it makes a big difference in the way I would approach the possible draft picks for the Chiefs in 2014. Even if you are of the opinion that it’s a QB that’s needed… a franchise QB drafted in 2014 is not going to come in and start in 2014 and probably not for two years after next year. So, it’s more important to go for targets, those who can protect the QB and pave the way for JC. And that’s a wrap.
What do you think Addict fans? Have any holes in the current roster you’d like fixing?