This is just me being a football nerd....My latest Mock Draft "Post first wave of Free Agency", and "Pre 2nd wave of Free Agency". This of course will change as the draft get's closer, just wanted to hear any thoughts or reactions to it. (This is not a scenario that has us trading back, although I do feel it is a good possibility that happens)
(option 1) David Decastro – OG Stanford
With the signing of Eric Winston to man our RT position, our line suddenly looks much better, and turns our weakest link to the elder Ryan Lilja. DeCastro is talked about as the best OG prospect since Steve Hutchensin, and expected to be a force at the position for the foreseeable future barring any unexpected setbacks. If we stay at pick 11, Why not take the top rated interior lineman who is projected as a “sure thing” rather than a NT in Poe, who has questions across the board about his level of competition, translating strength to the playing field, and is labeled as a “boom or bust” prospect. The other reason I do not see NT as our top pick is the fact that we haven’t given Powe a chance yet. I feel they might try to address NT in the 2nd wave of FA, and allow Powe to rotate (and hopefully develop) before they invest a 1st round pick on another NT. The one scenario where I think we could see a NT taken is if the Chiefs trade back in the 1st to acquire more picks, but even then I think we may see a guy like Cordy Glenn land here, who could play both OG and OT. The other thing I can see happening where we don’t take DeCastro, is that the Chiefs are heading into 2012 with Lilja playing out the final year of his contract as the starter, and drafting an OG prospect in rounds 2-3 to develop for a year (similar to what we did with Asamoah, and Hudson) which brings me to my 2nd option if this is the plan…
(option 2) Luke Kuechley- ILB Boston College
A 3-4 Defense can NEVER have enough talented LB’s (that is the purpose of the Defensive system, “ The D-lineman take up space and blockers to allow the LB’s to move around and make plays” Although our ILB position is not the “biggest” need on the team right now, I think if the plan is to keep Lilja at LG for 1 more year, why not bring in a top talent at a critical position in which our defense operates. 2 other things: I like Belcher and his story, but the fact that he only signed the his restricted tender tells me they aren’t quite set with him on a long-term deal, and don’t view him as DJ’s successor. Kuechley would be a combination of best available, as well as finding a successor to DJ (who is on the back end of his career) before it becomes a problem. Kuechly is a tackling machine, who can cover as well (which seems to be a weakness of Belchers), so DJ and Houston should benefit from having this guy inside.
(option 1) Donta’ Hightower- ILB/OLB Alabama
If we do take Decastro in round 1, we will then look to fill the need which would have been filled if we would have taken Kuechley. Hightower is a top-level talent, who’s stock has slipped a bit, and could be available when we pick in round 2. The reasoning for Hightower is the same as Kuechley’s, and should be looked at as a long-term answer for what do to when DJ is gone. At this point in the draft it will also rank as a “best-player-available” type of pick, who would help fit a need for the future, before it becomes a problem. Hightower has shown leadership, and smarts, and is the type of player Pioli seems to like on his team.
(option 2) Kelechi Osemele- OG/OT Iowa State
If you haven’t noticed yet, these first two rounds have focused on guys that are hard nosed, smart, “football players” who love the game, which seems to be Pioli’s forte’. It doesn’t stop here… If the Chiefs do opt to take Kuechley in round 1, they will now look to find a successor to Lilja if we miss out on DeCastro. This is the same approach the team has taken with both Jon Asamoah, and Rodney Hudson, and they opt to do it again with Osemele. With a size of 6’6” and 333 lbs, this beast of a man is a similar player to DeCastro with the nasty mindset that can wreak havoc in the trenches, yet a smart player, who loves the game. The other thing Pioli will love about this prospect is the ability to play both OG and OT (has played at LG, RT, and LT)
Josh Chapman- NT Alabama
This is the reason I have neglected NT in the first two rounds. I don’t like the idea of having two rookies rotate at NT completely on their own (Poe and Powe) and feel like the best option would be to add a guy like Abrayo Franklin in the 2nd wave of FA, and allow Powe and Chapman to gain experience to become our NT rotation for the next 5 years. Chapman Is a pure bread NT prospect, who has played in a 3-4 style D and would not have to learn the position from scratch. This tough player (played the 2011 season on a TORN ACL!! And still produced! he is actually graded out as a late 1st-2nd round prospect who will slip to possibly the 3rd because of this injury) He is thought of to be “the most critical part” of Alabama’s stout defense and proved it by allowing Georgia Southern to rush for an abismal 302 yds against the Tide the 1 game he missed this season (allowed an average of 57.72 yds/gm with him in the lineup). Champan is coming off ACL surgery, but if we can sign a veteran FA, should not be replied on to carry the load alone next season, but allow him and Powe to gain considerable experience to solve our NT issues.
Rounds 1-3 recap:
Finding a successor to Lilja
Adding a top talent to the most important poisons on our D: LB & NT
Find a solution to our NT problem, without taking the high risk
Fill all of these positions with top-level, “best available” talent who are smart, tough prospects that love the game.
Vick Ballard- RB Mississippi State
Now that we’ve address our most pressing needs, and filled holes with talent, it is time for our luxury picks, and to add depth across the board.
Even after the signing of Peyton Hillis, the Chiefs still had interest in Mike Tolbert, and brought him in for a visit. Tolbert in return signed with the Carolina Panthers. So where to next? With Jackie Battle and Thomas Jones basically out the door, the chiefs will look add at least 1 more RB to the roster. I have been high on this guy for a while now, and think he’s the guy for the job. He has similar size to Thomas Jones, and is a multi-threat back that has shown he can run between the tackles, break away for long runs, and catch the ball out of the backfield as well. With the versatility of Hillis, and Ballad being able to be used as receivers as well as Charles and McCluster, it could be tough to guess what the Chiefs could throw at opposing defenses on any given down. Good RB’s can be found in the later rounds, and I think Ballard could be one of them that could contribute on our team.
Eddie Whitely- FS Virginia Tech
Hey, we’ve got one DB from Va Tech already and he seems to be fairing pretty well with us (Flowers) why not look to add another? Whitley is a versatile player with the size and speed we need to add to our safety group. He has played Corner, nickel, and both safety positions in college, and has been a standout at each position. Standing at 6’1” he stands just a bit taller than both Berry and Lewis, which may help him match up to TE’s as a nickel or strong safety (which has been a weakness of ours, I like Arena’s and he has shown promise, but his height is a problem when matched up with TE’s) another prospect who is reportedly a smart player, with leadership skills, experience, and versatility.
Ryan Broyles- WR Oklahoma
As of right now we have Bowe, Baldwin, Breaston, Terrance Copper, Jeremy Horne, Zeke Markshausen, and Jamar Newsome on our roster filling our WR positions; this will change after training camp. Now I know that we have brought in Jerricho Cotchery, but my view of him as a player is different than Broyles, I view Cotchery as more of sure handed possession receiver. The Chiefs attempted to find a versatile player who could work the slot well, but also possessed straight line speeds fast enough to take the top off the defense when they drafted Dexter McCluster. Even though I don’t label McCluster as a bust, he hasn’t worked out in the way they had initially envisioned him, and have since moved him to RB; so they will look to add another player similar to him in hopes of creating the vision they were looking for 2 years ago. Broyles is coming off an ACL surgery, which is why his stock has dropped, but is progressing nicely, and as a 6th round pick, you can’t complain if it doesn’t work out. The guy is versatile, and could help out in the return game, as well as help out in multiple receiver sets. A late round flier on this guy could equate to some pleasant surprises down the line.
Tyler Nielson- OLB Iowa
Pioli has taken an Iowa player in each of the last 2 drafts, and this one makes it 3. Nielson is a hard working LB that loves to play the game tough. I had previously had Pioli taking a flyer on another Hawkeye in OG/OT Markus Zusevics, but he has since torn his pectoral muscle, and stock has dropped dramatically, keep an eye out for us to sign that guy as an undrafted FA if he is able to play when the season starts. As I said before, you can’t have too much talent at the LB position in a 3-4 Defensive system, so we look to find a diamond in the rough with Nielson.