As I mentioned last week, I have been the designated Kansas City Superfan by ESPN’s Football Today podcast for the last several years. Although the superfans don’t do much on the program anymore, the one tradition that we have maintained is my favorite — the Superfan Super Mock Draft.
What makes the mock so good is that each one of the teams is represented by a knowledgeable fan of their team and trades of current and future draft picks are allowed. In the past, our mocks have predicted some of the surprising falls and stunning rises of players a lot better than most of the mainstream ones.
It’s also always a good experiment because it shows you how complicated it is to play the board and get the players you want at the value you want them. In years past, it hasn’t always gone the way I wanted, but I stand by my decisions as a GM.
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In 2012, I traded two 2nd-rounders to move up and take QB Ryan Tannehill. I still think I would have rather watched Tannehill the last two years than QB’s Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton, Tyler Palko, and Brady Quinn.
Last year, I picked up a few picks and moved down to 2nd overall and drafted LT Luke Joeckel. The jury is still out on Fisher and Joeckel, but I can’t say I feel bad about that selection.
This year, as you Chiefs fans are well aware, I was in a bit of a difficult spot. I think the Chiefs really need to do everything they can to reap additional picks in the top 100, but I think it would be a mistake to miss out on one of the top receivers in this year’s class. Thankfully, I was able to do both.
Leading up to my pick, the mock draft went like this:
- Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, OLB/DE, South Carolina
- St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
- Cleveland Browns – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
- Oakland Raiders – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
- Atlanta Falcons – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
- Minnesota Vikings – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
- Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
- Detroit Lions – Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
- ***TRADE*** St. Louis Rams (from Tennessee Titans) – Hasean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
- New York Giants – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
- ***TRADE*** Tennessee Titans (from St. Louis Rams) – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Chicago Bears – C. J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
- ***TRADE*** Arizona Cardinals (from Dallas Cowboys) – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
- Baltimore Ravens – Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
- New York Jets – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
- Miami Dolphins – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
- ***TRADE*** Dallas Cowboys (from Arizona Cardinals) – Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
- Green Bay Packers – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
- Philadelphia Eagles – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Pretty realistic, I think.
Having already had some conversations with various other Superfans, I knew I had a good trade offer in hand. The Browns were willing to offer me their 35th overall and 71st overall picks in exchange for #23. This would in effect be moving back 12 spots to the top of the 2nd round, but would net the Chiefs a 3rd-rounder at the very top of that round. This is a bit more than the Chiefs should expect according to a strict following of the draft value chart.
With that trade a phone-call away, my strategy was essentially to take S Calvin Pryor or WR Odell Beckham Jr. if they fell to the Chiefs. If not, I’d accept the trade and try my luck at the top of the 2nd.
But then it happened. The Chiefs were on the clock and Beckham Jr. was still sitting there. I love this guy’s tape and seems he most Reid-ready guy among that group high-end wideout prospects. But, looking at the way the chips had fallen thus far and with more QB’s left to go, I felt better about trading back and still getting some good falling talent.
Even without some major slides, the top of the 2nd is going to be a nice sweet spot for the Chiefs’ need areas with lots of nice prospects at safety, cornerback and guard set to be available and valuable there.
So I nervously pulled the trigger and gave the Browns Superfan the virtual handshake.
23. ***TRADE*** Cleveland Browns (from Kansas City Chiefs) – Marqise Lee, WR, USC
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Then the next two picks went and the Saints, which were on the clock at 27, put out that they were looking to trade down. They had coveted Verrett as the last corner on the board that fit their system, and with him gone New Orleans preferred to amass picks and fight again another day. Most importantly for me, they were looking for a cheap sudden trade with Beckham Jr. still on the board.
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I knew Beckham Jr. wouldn’t last much longer. In fact, I’m sure that Carolina, picking just after the Saints, already had his name written down and were just chomping at the bit to put the call in.
I immediately offered the two picks I had gotten from Cleveland for New Orleans’ 1st and 3rd. This amounted to the Saints moving back 7 spots to 35 and up 20 spots in the 3rd from their original pick at #91 to #71. The Saints agreed, and I grabbed Beckham Jr.
In case you’re curious, this is how the rest of the round went.
25. San Diego Chargers – Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts) – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
27. ***TRADE*** Kansas City Chiefs (from New Orleans Saints) – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
28. Carolina Panthers – Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
29. New England Patriots – Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn
30. San Francisco 49ers – Kyle Fuller, CB Virginia Tech
31. Denver Broncos – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
32. Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Not to toot my own horn too much, but I think this was pretty much a perfect outcome for the Chiefs. With a little luck and a little dealing, I was able to get the the wideout I was targeting — who is ranked as Mel Kiper Jr.’s 16th best prospect overall by the way — and still pick up and extra pick in the top 100.
Although the Chiefs still had no 2nd round selection, I got a chance to add depth and hopefully at least one future starter to the defensive backfield in the 3rd round. At #87, I took Craig Loston, the instinctive big hitter safety from LSU. Although he showed more ability in run support than coverage, I think his reliable presence there would be able to free up SS Eric Berry to do his thing a bit more. A few picks later at #91, I took Rice CB Philip Gaines, who has also shown overall good awareness and just clocked in a 4.38 forty at the Combine. The only reason he’s not in the conversation as a 1st-round pick is that he’s from Rice. Nonetheless, I think he’ll probably go in the 2nd next week.
We’ll see how the 4th round goes, but it’s a much better round for value at interior O-line and that’s the next direction I think I’ll go.
So what do you think, Addicts? What would you have done in this situation? Could the Chiefs consider this a success?