Draft debates have heated up amongst the staffers here at Arrowhead Addict. I'm not..."/> Draft debates have heated up amongst the staffers here at Arrowhead Addict. I'm not..."/>

Draft Math: Why The Chiefs’ Top Pick Should Be Wide Receiver Or Safety

2 of 2

The safety position has recently been one of the safest positions for teams to draft in the spring. Here are the safeties drafted in the first round since 2003:

  • Troy Polamalu (2003)
  • Sean Taylor (2004)
  • Michael Huff (2005)
  • Donte Whitner (2005)
  • Jason Allen (2005)
  • LaRon Landry (2007)
  • Michael Griffin (2007)
  • Reggie Nelson (2007)
  • Brandon Meriweather (2007)
  • Kenny Phillips (2008)
  • Eric Berry (2010)
  • Earl Thomas (2010)
  • Mark Barron (2012)
  • Harrison Smith (2012)
  • Kenny Vaccaro (2013)
  • Eric Reid (2013)
  • Matt Elam (2013)

How many clear busts do you see on that list? One, maybe two? Safety’s a good bet in the first round of the NFL Draft. Not many safeties have been taken in the last decade of the draft, but where they have, they’ve been reliable stocks. The same could be true of the 2014 NFL Draft. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor look to be the only two safety prospects with a first round grade, but they’re both regarded as two of the most NFL-ready players in the class.

The wide receiver position is commonly thought of as one of the riskiest to draft in the NFL. That’s probably because it’s been one of the most heavily drafted offensive positions over the past 10-15 years. The league’s emphasis on the passing game has made wide receiver a premium position to draft. Everyone’s looking for elite talent, but the odds of actually finding it are fairly long. In 2012, Bleacher Report found that teams were just as likely to hit on a receiver prospect as they were to miss. The ten drafts from 2002-2011 yielded a 36.11% rate on either side of the issue. Those numbers aren’t much of an endorsement for taking one, but the same studies also suggested that teams, over the back half of that decade, were hitting on receiver prospects at nearly twice the rate (56.25%).

The four players at the top of my first round big board are:

  1. Odell Beckham, Jr. – WR (Louisiana State)
  2. Brandin Cooks – WR (Oregon State)
  3. Calvin Pryor – S (Louisville)
  4. Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix – S (Alabama)

I believe all of these prospects present the Chiefs with an opportunity for early draft returns. The draft isn’t scientific though. The Chiefs could just as easily benefit from bolstering their pass rush with a Stephon Tuitt. I just believe given the position scarcity and historical reliability of drafting a safety in the first round, they’d be better served with Pryor or Clinton-Dix.

As for receiver, I think even given the normal 2-3 window generally required to transition into the NFL game, the addition of Cooks or ODB would help this offense take another step forward in 2014. Both of them would be fitting complements to Bowe, stretch the field with elite speed, and be well suited to Reid’s offense. Some think a receiver of that kind is unnecessary with Alex Smith at the helm. He can’t throw the deep ball, right? That’s a different discussion for a different day. What we tend to forget is that a reliable route-runner with world-class speed, paired with a quarterback who puts it on the numbers as well as Alex Smith does, is dangerous all over the field. Revisit the Eagles game and Donnie Avery will substantiate that claim.

Don’t get your hopes up, Addicts. I’m in no position to say the front office will pull the trigger at either of these spots next month, but I do think the argument’s been made for why they should. Historically, they’re just not likely to draft wide receiver or safety in round one, but not having a pick in the following round could change everything. We’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out.

What say you, Addicts? Should the Chiefs have safety and wide receiver higher on their draft boards than offensive/defensive line prospects? Are you more impressed with players like Cooks and Beckham than Hageman and Tuitt? Could there be another position where the team can find better value? Use the comment section below to weigh in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!