Nov 29, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) catches a touchdown pass in the third quarter past Auburn Tigers defensive back Jonathon Mincy (6) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
The other day, I read this mock draft over at KC Kingdom. The title states that the Kansas City Chiefs get a steal in the first round. I quickly found out that “steal” is an understatement, as the mock has the Chiefs taking Alabama WR Amari Cooper with the No. 18 pick in the draft.
As the author states, “This will never happen.” I agree, at least not if the Chiefs stay at No. 18. But with needs at wide receiver and extra picks, could the Chiefs to trade up to get him?
Cooper is the highest-rated receiver in this year’s class. He managed to break Julio Jones’ freshman records at Alabama for receptions and yards with 59 and 1,000, respectively. As a junior, he added another 124 receptions and 1,727 yards. He also scored 16 touchdowns as the anchor of the Crimson Tide’s receiving corps. that season.
Beyond breaking Jones’ freshman records, Cooper also has better overall numbers than the Atlanta WR in the same number of seasons played. Per ESPN, Jones left college with 179 receptions, 2,653 yards, and 15 touchdowns; Cooper’s final stat line includes 228 receptions, 3,463 yards, and 31 touchdowns.
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Outpacing Jones doesn’t mean that Cooper will have the same kind of NFL success, but it does explain why CBS Sports has him rated No. 5 overall in their Top-50 Draft Board 1.0. It also makes me really want to see him in a Chiefs uniform.
However, barring some kind of unforeseen catastrophe between now and the draft, it is almost inconceivable that any player ranked that highly would drop to the Chiefs at 18. The question becomes whether it would be worth it for the Chiefs to trade up and take him.
A quick roundup of recent mock drafts shows Cooper heading to the Oakland Raiders with the fourth pick (Bleacher Report, SB Nation, CBS Sports), or the New York Jets with the sixth pick (NFL.com). Things can always change, but if the Chiefs want Cooper, they will have to go pretty high in the draft order to get him.
Making a move from 18th to the top five in the first round would be neither cheap nor easy. But with the Chiefs potentially having 11 picks, and multiple quality players who may not be around next year anyway, they may have the pieces to do so.
As I see it, Kansas City could create a package to trade for either the third pick (Jacksonville) or the fourth pick (Oakland) with a combination of the following pieces: (1) the 18th overall pick this year, (2) another early -to mid-round pick in this year’s draft (maybe two), and (3) either Tamba Hali or Dwayne Bowe.
Would either the Jaguars or Raiders go for such a deal? I think they might, as this trade could make sense for both sides.
The Chiefs would be able to secure the top-ranked player in a position of need, while simultaneously keeping him away from division rival Oakland. It would also allow them to avoid being handcuffed in future drafts (e.g. not having a second-round pick last year due to the Alex Smith trade), since they wouldn’t be getting rid of future picks. The cherry on top would be getting value from one of the two players who are most likely to become victims of the salary-cap issues caused by Justin Houston re-signing.
Kansas City’s trade partner would be a rebuilding team with needs in many areas. Taking the trade would mean that they get to acquire at least one extra pick this year, while also staying in the middle of the first round, and bringing in a proven veteran who can make an immediate impact. The ability to add extra players who can help now and in the future should be very alluring to a couple of clubs who went 3-13 last year.
Though pass-rusher and wide receiver are among the few areas that aren’t holes for the Jaguars, Oakland could use help at both of those positions. The Raiders are also well aware of what both Bowe and Hali can do on the field.
Of course, there are a few potential issues with this proposition.
The general manager might view the worth of these picks and players very differently than how I just laid it out. If any of the teams are wedded to whom they are planning to take with their first picks, it could quickly become a deal-breaker.
There is also the issue of either Oakland or Jacksonville being willing and able to take on Bowe’s or Hali’s contracts, even though both are now 30-plus years old.
Even if my trade succeeds, it involves a likelihood of making Chiefs fans watch Hali of Bowe suit up in a Raiders uniform against Kansas City twice a year. And that is by no means a pleasant thought.
However, at the end of the day, I would be very excited to go into next season with a receiving corps composed of Cooper, Albert Wilson, De’Anthony Thomas, and Travis Kelce. That is a receiving corps loaded with youth and talent. I think there is enough upside in that to be worth trading a couple of this year’s draft picks along with Bowe or Hali.
Is this the crazy, unrealistic scheme of a fan blogger hoping for the best-case scenario? Possibly. Does it have a chance at working? I plead the Fifth. But would it be outstanding if it happened? Absolutely.