Kansas City Chiefs 2012 Mock Draft: Chiefs Build Depth in All 7 Rounds
To think that it wasn't that long ago the NFL Draft was the biggest upcoming sporting event in football fans' minds.
So with one month left before the draft, it seems there's plenty of other things to talk about.
But that won't last. 2012 has already proven to be an exciting year. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will likely go with the top two picks, the first time two quarterbacks went first in the draft since Manning and Ryan Leaf.
The Kansas City Chiefs will be sure to get in on the action as well. For the first time in a long while the Chiefs enter the draft with plenty of picks and only a couple holes to really fill. An active free agency period and re-signing most of their own top players should enable Kansas City to grab the best talent available when they're on the clock.
It's a great position to be in, especially considering the talent available as we take a look at my third shot at predicting all eight of Kansas City's draft selections.
First Round: Offensive Guard David DeCastro, Stanford
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Previous Picks: QB Robert Griffin III, OG David DeCastro
With the 11th pick in the NFL Draft, the Chiefs select the best talent available in David DeCastro.
This selection made sense in my article three months ago and it makes even more sense now. Kansas City filled the biggest hole on their roster with Eric Winston, then patched up the rest of the offense with Peyton Hillis, Kevin Boss and Brady Quinn.
Defense is similarly set other than at nose tackle. That could make Dontari Poe an option here. The Memphis defender had a solid Combine performance which boosted his stock, but didn't post impressive numbers in the weaker C-USA despite his talent.
For a team looking for a sure thing with their first round pick, that puts Poe off the list.
Poe could still go at No. 11 if a team like Dallas decides they need the nose tackle. Should DeCastro and Riley Reiff both be available here, the Chiefs would spring on a trade offer in a hurry. Reiff could start receiving consideration as a guard after an unspectacular pro day and shorter arm measurements. He'd be an upgrade over Ryan Lilja at left guard and provide serious insurance should Winston or Branden Albert go down to injury.
But DeCastro is the real gem at this point. The Chiefs can draft DeCastro and start him for the next ten years.
That's real value for a draft pick.
Second Round: Nose Tackle Alameda Ta'amu, Washington
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Previous Picks: OT Matt Reynolds
With the right tackle and left guard positions now squared away, the Chiefs bring in a final quality talent to complete their lineup in Alameda Ta'amu.
Since the Chiefs passed on Dontari Poe, they come back around and land a massive space-eater and former team captain who will drastically improve Kansas City's 26th-ranked run defense from 2011.
Ta'amu will fit into a regular rotation with Amon Gordon and Jerrell Powe at nose tackle, keeping all three defenders fresh and clogging up the center of the line.
Even if the Chiefs neglect signing any more free agents (unlikely, considering Scott Pioli announced they were still looking), Kansas City puts the last touches on the bulk of their roster with this pick. Every starter should be in place, and almost every position group has at least a mildly capable reserve player behind them.
Third Round: Defensive End Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
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Previous Picks: ILB Dont'a Hightower, DE Derek Wolfe
Dont'a Hightower would be a great choice for this spot, but someone will overdraft him well before now. Hightower isn't the sideline-to-sideline player Rolando McClain was when he entered the draft, but will still go somewhere in the first two rounds.
That's all right, though, as one of my favorite players in the draft solidified his position as a mid-round pick.
Once considered a third-day pick, Derek Wolfe climbed draft boards and now rates as a late second/early third-rounder.
Romeo Crennel will gladly pick up the ACC standout with his intensity and non-stop motor. Wolfe provides insurance in case Glenn Dorsey stalls on his contract extension and will compete for serious playing time in the Chiefs defense.
Fourth Round: Cornerback/Free Safety Trumaine Johnson, Montana
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Previous Picks: TE George Bryan, OT Mike Adams
Kendrick Lewis turned in another solid year at free safety, pulling in three interceptions and emerging as the latest late-round pick by the Chiefs to develop into a quality starter.
But just as things went south following Eric Berry's injury last year, Kansas City could see a serious drop in talent should Lewis get hurt.
Montana's Trumaine Johnson possesses the athleticism to play cornerback and the size to work the field as a safety. His stock likely will take a hit, however, with a subpar senior year and could drop as low as early as in the fourth round.
Johnson will bring additional depth to all positions of the secondary and could develop into solid competition for Lewis in coming years.
Fifth Round: Running Back Robert Turbin, Utah State
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Previous Pick: DB Tavon Wilson
Last year the Chiefs took it hard in their running game following Jamaal Charles' blown ACL and Thomas Jones' decline in ability. Kansas City was forced to rely on Jackie Battle and Dexter McCluster to carry the load in the ground game.
To avoid that scenario happening again, the Chiefs signed Peyton Hillis to a one-year contract.
But that's not enough; Kansas City needs another running back or two for occasional sub work, especially as Charles starts getting his feet back under himself.
Utah State's Robert Turbin runs deceptively fast for his 222-pound frame but should be plenty capable of pushing the pile when working between the tackles.
Sixth Round: Tight End George Bryan, North Carolina State
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Previous Pick: TE Michael Williams
Either tight end would be nice here, and likely a solid upgrade over Jake O'Connell. But George Bryan has the tools to be the next Rob Gronkowski with the right development and coaching.
Bryan scored four touchdowns in 2011 on 33 receptions last year for North Carolina State, and working with Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss should only improve his ability further.
Plus, Bryan is considered to be on of the better blocking tight ends in this year's draft, something the Chiefs could have used in 2011 when their tight ends were the most penalized players on the team.
Seventh Round: Strong Safety Tavon Wilson, Illinois
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Previous Pick: RB Brandon Bolden
Tavon Wilson is another player still on the board for this mock draft, though his stock seems to be slipping further and further down with other players rising after the Combine and their pro days.
Wilson brings experience to the Chiefs at both cornerback and safety as well as leadership abilities. Between Wilson and Trumaine Johnson, they'll have a pair of safeties with experience playing all over the secondary.
Seventh Round: Quarterback Kellen Moore, Boise State
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Previous Pick: FS Janzen Jackson
Janzen Jackson could end up as one of the best reclamation projects in the NFL. Jackson's dismissal from Tennessee left a large black mark on his record; his inconsistent Combine performance didn't help matters much either.
Regardless, some other team will probably draft him closer to the fourth or fifth round where the Chiefs can still acquire solid talent with less baggage.
That brings the Chiefs to one of the biggest steals of the draft. Kellen Moore plummeted on the draft board in recent months as his height and arm strength continue to hold him at a disadvantage.