Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
While everyone is busy throwing out their grades for this year’s draft (always including that it is MUCH too early to do so, and yet continuing to pile them on), I thought I’d take a slightly different approach. Instead of arbitrarily grading each pick, I’ve come up with two scenarios: the best and worst case scenarios for each draftee.
Now, obviously the best case scenario would be for all of the draft picks to go on to become Hall of Famers and the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl; however, I tried to keep these somewhat realistic. Specifically, these are the best and worst case scenarios for the Chiefs this year to win games. Whether or not it is most beneficial to the future was not taken into a high amount of consideration. Chiefs Nation is tired of mediocrity, and wants to win now. Even with only a few of these best case scenarios working out, that could very well be a possibility.
1st Pick- Dee Ford
Best Case- Ford steps in and automatically clicks with Bob Sutton. As you’ll see in another “Best Case”, our corner play has improved, which results in Sutton being able to run more 2-4-5 and 1-5-5 sets. While obviously Ford will be a force to reckon with off of the edge, the most impressive attribute is his improved pass defense skills, as he is asked to drop back into coverage on occasion. At the end of the year, Ford ends up with 6+ sacks and causes disruption in the backfield multiple times.
Worst Case- Although seemingly fine, his back nags him throughout the season, resulting in his potential playing time to get diminished. While still explosively quick, he isn’t quite strong enough to set the edge against strong running attacks, and lacks the ability to consistently drop back in coverage.
2nd Pick- Phillip Gaines
Best Case- The transition to the NFL is an easy one for Gaines. Week in and week out he is able to hold his own against quality receivers. While he, Cooper, and Flowers all rotate time at slot corner, Gaines excels on the outside, using his speed and ball skills to net 4+ interceptions in his rookie year, all while giving hope for the future of the secondary.
Worst Case- Gaines can’t quite figure out how to translate his game to the NFL due to the speed and physicality of the receivers. While he shows flashes, he often gets beaten, reminiscent of the infamous Marcus Cooper for that horrible stretch of games.
3rd Pick- De’Anthony Thomas
Best Case- Dave Toub openly weeps tears of joy at press conferences as DAT blows up for 4+ return touchdowns, with 3 of them off of punt return. Reminding Chiefs fans of the X Factor, Dante Hall, DAT is a threat whenever teams kick towards him. Besides taking some returns to the house, the largest impact of his return ability is the great field position the KC offense continues to enjoy. While on offense, DAT isn’t an every down guy, but contributes when he’s on the field. At running back, Reid employs some shotgun sets with both JC and DAT in the backfield, getting them both involved in the screen game. The threat of one or the other getting the ball in open space causes nightmares in opposing defensive coordinators, and in trying to shut those two down results in a much more efficient downfield passing game than last year. At WR, DAT gets some time in at the slot and is good for some quick passes and deep seam routes.
Worst Case- All of the questions about his size are proven to be valid, as it seems he is never off of the injury report. The speed and explosiveness are still there, but they can’t be showcased sitting while injured. On top of that, he has trouble figuring out Andy Reid’s offense, thus limiting his already shortened playing time.
4th Pick- Aaron Murray
Best Case- Aaron looks good wearing that Chiefs cap and carrying around a clipboard. In all honesty, this is the best option for the Chiefs at the moment. While I personally love the pickup of Murray, Alex Smith puts us in the best position to win games. Quarterbacks can learn a lot by just watching someone in front of them. The first obvious example, since we are talking about Alex, is Colin Kaepernick. Sitting behind Alex allowed him to learn the intricacies of the NFL before actually stepping onto the field. Also, Aaron Rodgers was behind Brett Favre for a couple of years, and I don’t think that turned out too bad in the end. With Murray sitting back and learning while Alex Smith leads the way, Murray either develops into our quarterback of the future or Andy Reid uses him as trade bait a la Kevin Kolb.
Worst Case- Due to an injury or multiple injuries, Murray is quickly thrown into the fire. While trying to cope with the transition from the NFL along with his knee injury, his play continually deteriorates. He isn’t able to get balls past the line as they are constantly swatted down, and makes the wrong read seemingly constantly. On top of it all, he ends up reinjuring his knee, setting back his development even further.
5th Pick- Zach Fulton
Best Case- After losing Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah, our interior line is looking shaky. Fulton is able to step directly into the right guard position, showing that his status as a four year starter in the SEC wasn’t a fluke. Although not flashy, Fulton is able to provide a consistency in the middle of the line. Fulton consistently maintains good pass protection is efficient while run blocking. Technique issues that were seen in college are still prevalent, but much less so.
Worst Case- While coming into a good fit for his position, Fulton is unable to crack the starting roster. Although he had played well in college, he isn’t able to avoid holding and getting bull rushed as the strength and speed of defensive tackles is too much for him. Along with a bad transition to the league, Fulton has virtually no versatility, as nearly all of his college experience came at RG.
6th Pick- Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
Best Case- Along with Murray, it would be most beneficial to the team and to Duvernay-Tardif if he spends most of this year on the sideline. Although extremely athletic for his size, Duvernay-Tardif isn’t quite polished enough to make a huge impact in the NFL. However, when he is given time, he showcases his raw strength and aggression and is a ferocious run blocker. Along with his strong run blocking, his pass blocking steadily improves throughout the year when he does get chances to play.
Worst Case- While the physical attributes are there, as well as the mental part of the game (the guy’s finishing up medical school, definitely not a “dumb jock”), the technique and fundamentals just aren’t there. While he is a fine run blocker, he is often beat in pass protection because of his bad footwork, and loses even more potential playing time because of it.
There you have it, Chiefs fans. Like I said before, I’d love it if Murray ended up owning every quarterback record in the book, and Fulton turned out to be our next Will Shields. Realistically, though, I feel as if any of these best case scenarios could happen. The opposite holds true, also; I could see this draft class being all busts. Do I think that will happen? No. As of right now, Dorsey and Reid get the benefit of the doubt. After the Marcus Cooper pick up, along with what I feel was a solid draft last year, we have no reason to doubt their decision making. Only time will tell what kind of impact these players will have.