2012 NFL Draft: Kansas City Chiefs' 7-Rounds
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Although a mock draft may seem premature, the NFL Draft is not very far away, and since the fans of all football teams start thinking about the draft as soon as their team is eliminated from competition, the interest is always there
By now we all know Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli has a propensity to draft players that fit a specific image, with many of his picks being team captains or players with mentoring and leadership ability, not to mention unselfish players who put the team first.
This mock plays a heavy emphasis on these traits.
First Round: Offensive Tackle Jonathan Martin, Stanford
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Well this should not come as any surprise. After 3 outstanding draft classes in the last three years, this year's group is very weak. When your Offensive Right Tackle is considered the worst in the NFL, you better upgrade while you have the chance
Protecting Andrew Luck's blindside is what Martin has done over the past few seasons. Martin is an excellent pass protector, only giving up one sack all season, Martin's greatest asset is in pass protection. He anticipates the snap as well as any Offensive Tackle in college football. His agility is top notch and I expect he will light it up at the NFL Combine
His great strength also allows him to anchor and negate the bull rush of powerful Defensive Ends, which makes him a viable option to play the strong side in the pros. Being able to play both sides enhances his value even more.
He is a good positional run blocker with the lateral agility to seal the edge and can push the pile, especially in a zone blocking scheme. He is relentless and plays hard until he hear that whistle blow. His strength will improve as he continues to add more bulk. At 6'6, 305, he can easily add an additional 10 pounds while still maintaining that same level of agility
Although Andrew Luck is Stanford's team captain, Martin is known for his leadership and unselfish play, both qualities that Pioli admires and coming from an Ivy league school, his level of intelligence goes without saying. Both he and fellow OL David DeCastro should be the focus of Chief scouts
Second Round: Nose Tackle Alameda Ta'amu, University of Washington
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The problem these days with running a 3-4 defense is that there are not enough good nose tackles to go around.
At this point, this guy is the best, but he is not great enough for any team to reach for in the first round.
With Kelly Gregg on his last legs and Jerrell Powe's future a big question mark, KC may be forced to go this route unless they grab a quality guy in NFL free agency
Like Poe, he has had some weight issues in the past, but with his work ethic, that should not be a problem. He is 6'3", 336 lbs.
He has tremendous power to anchor and collapse the pocket, but won't get many sacks.
Third Round: Offensive Guard Matt Reynolds, Brigham Young
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Left Tackle Matt Reynolds started the NCAA season as a first team All American by most scouting services. Although he played Left Tackle in college, he would be a better fit on the right side and most scouts feel has even more potential if moved inside to guard. He was very well coached at BYU and could start immediately for the Chiefs at Right Guard if Ryan Lilja retires or the Chiefs allow Lilja to move on
He has the potential to play any position on the Offensive Line except Center. Having started 39 games in a row, he plays through pain and has tremendous durability. He has a good combination of size, strength, and short area quickness
As a pass blocker, he is a wide body with tremendous balance, and is nearly impossible to bull rush, a trait which Ryan Lilja lacks.Being a former college Left tackle there is little question about his agility if a team puts him on the strong side
As a run blocker, he has enough agility to trap and run sweeps.He gets a good push to open lanes, and maintains proper technique to wall of defenders.He is better in a zone blocking scheme, something you could say about the current Chief Offensive Lineman. He excels in making adjustments and recognizes blitzes as they develop
His soft body, and occasional problems maintaining stamina, have some scouts concerned and may be the only reason he might still be available in Round 3. Considered a scrapper, he doesn't look pretty or have great athletic ability, but someone manages to get the job done
TWO TIME TEAM CAPTAIN
Fourth Round: Running Back Vic Ballard, Mississippi State
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The Chiefs' running back situation is a bit of a concern right now.
Jamaal Charles, coming off a torn ACL, is not likely to be a workhorse next year and his carries will be monitored closely.
Thomas Jones is gone, Dexter McCluster is still more of a third-down back and Jackie Battle is OK but not what you want in a 1-2 punch. With Charles coming back from injury, there is no way they can pass on a running back this good
Ballard is 5'11", 220 lbs and runs hard between the tackles. He was on pace for his third 1,000-yard season, before getting hurt late in the year.
He has great eyes and watches the blocks develop much like former Chief Priest Holmes, but runs much stronger. He set a new all-time record in touchdowns at Mississippi State.
Fifth Round: Safety Jerrell Young, South Florida
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With Eric Berry coming back from surgery and a host of inept backups in 2011, the Chiefs would be wise to take a safety here.
This kid is a good one. Anyone who saw him on national television this past week certainly took notice.
Although he looks cornerback size, much like Kendrick Lewis, he can deliver a wallop with the best of them.
He excels at the same thing Brandon Flowers did coming out of college: tackles for no gain, immediately after the catch.
At 6'1", 210 lbs he is an aggressive zone corner. He is considered by most a late bloomer.
Sixth Round: Inside Linebacker Chris Marve, Vanderbilt
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Chris Marve is a guy who seems to be outside of anyone's radar.
This guy was born to play inside linebacker. He had two 100+ tackle seasons before a year-end injury limited him to just 80. What makes him special is his ability to play through pain.
Most scouts are scared because he is only 6'0", but he weighs 242 lbs and does a great job of slipping blocks and making tackles.
He is a guy who helped Vanderbilt have maybe the best secondary in college football. With Brandon Siler also coming back from injury, he would team well with Belcher as backups in 2012.
Seventh Round: Outside Linebacker Sammy Brown, University of Houston
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Talk about sleepers.
Houston's Sammy Brown came out of nowhere to put up incredible numbers when it came to rushing the quarterback.
The 6'2", 240-lb Brown had 12 sacks and led the nation with an astonishing 28 tackles for loss. He was a JUCO college transfer who played mostly with his hand on the ground but should be equally quick from a two-point stance.
He provides insurance for Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. At this stage he is strictly a pass-rushing specialist and special teams player, but that could change in a hurry.
VOCAL DEFENSIVE TEAM LEADER
Seventh Round: Tight End Kevin Koger, Michigan
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Seldom used before this year, think of Kevin Koger as a shorter but stronger version of Leonard Pope.
At 6'5", 258 lbs he has great size for the position. He has the potential to also be a good blocker. He does share one thing with Pope though: bad hands. He can also be lazy at times, but has the size to dominate as a blocker.
Where they can really use this guy is on special teams and as a leader in the locker room. Had tremendous respect from both players and coaching staff. For a guy who produced so little, that respect was remarkable.
So there you have it. Look for this mock to change in the future and again keep in mind there are many Juniors who will declare as well. Go Chiefs...
Scott Pioli: What's His Status?
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli will be under a lot of heat if he doesn't get good quality from this year's draft group. We had a youth movement under Herman Edwards and Carl Peterson; that didn't work.
Although the Chiefs had their share on injuries, that AFC West should be wide open next year, another reason why this draft is so important.
What's the Deal with Romeo?
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And what about this guy? Will he be the Chiefs' new head coach? Most Chief fans like the idea. My view: Use him where he is most needed, at defensive coordinator.
I am sure there will be a lot of drama about this topic after the Chiefs conclude the season against Denver this week.