As the 2016 NFL Draft draws closer with each passing day more and more Chiefs fans are starting to turn their attention to which players they would like to see end up in Kansas City. Each of us consider ourselves a “wanna be” general manager on some level and we’re all guilty of thinking we know as well (or better) than the pros when it comes to who (and who not) to draft. Unfortunately for most, the Chiefs don’t typically draft the “fan favorite” at any given draft slot.
The reason for that is that the Chiefs (like most teams) have done countless more hours of research than we have and are following a specific draft philosophy that we aren’t fully privy to. However, if you listen to what the Chiefs higher ups preach about the draft and look at their history you can come away with some valuable clues. I believe those clues point to the Chiefs selecting a defensive lineman early in the 2016 draft.
When a casual NFL fan makes up their own mock draft for their favorite team what they typically do is make a list of what they see as their teams biggest needs and then start making their way down the list with each pick. For instance, if you believe (like I do) that cornerback is the Chiefs biggest current need then your first pick in a KC mock draft is likely to be the best cornerback you think may be available.
Then you would take whatever you believe to be their second biggest need and look at what players might be available with KC’s second pick and mock one of them to the Chiefs and so on down the list. Then when your mock draft is over it gives you what you feel like is the most well rounded roster headed into the regular season.
There is a lot of logic in that approach to a draft, but most teams (and the Chiefs are definitely among them) do not follow this approach. In fact, I would argue that the teams that do follow that fan approach are usually the most desperate and often the least successful. The best teams in the NFL seem to approach the draft with the mindset that they just want to add the most overall talent to their roster regardless of position.
That means if they have a player on their draft board that they firmly believe will be a Pro Bowl caliber player they will take him even if they are relatively set at that position over reaching for a lesser player just because they have a need there. In the long run that means they typically hit on more players and develop more talented overall rosters with the depth needed to compete for a Super Bowl.
Next: Looking at history