Unforgivably inept? Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli has thus far failed to get the necessary performance out of his top draft picks. The 2009 NFL Draft saw him miss early on Tyson Jackson, and 2010 draft pick Eric Berry has looked stuck on Rookie level of Madden all year. One of the bright spots on Pioli’s draft record is the later part of his 2010 draft. After adding JAG (Just Another Guy) Dexter McCluster and BAG (Blatantly Atrocious Guy) Javier Arenas something amazing happened—Scott Pioli showed a flash of competence. Just how competent? That’s up for debate.
Round 3 (68) Jon Asamoah
The guard out of Illinois was thought to be a safe pick with upside. Asamoah has proved to be just that. He was not an exciting pick, but after playing sparingly as a rookie, Asamoah has started every game for the last two years. He is solid in both run and pass protection and seems to be on an upward trajectory. Asamoah has been a bright spot on the Chiefs line this year and if he keeps it up may find his way to a Pro Bowl once or twice in his career. Not bad at all for a third round lineman. After all, they can’t all be Will Shields.
Who They Could Have Had:
Good pick, why second guess it?
Round 3 (93) Tony Moeaki
Tony Moeaki shares the same first name as a certain former Chiefs tight end. That is where the similarities end. For all the next-Tony Gonzalez hype Kansas City Chiefs fans have given every tight end recently taken they need to accept on fact. Tony Gonzalez was a once in a generation talent. This doesn’t exactly make Moeaki a Brad Cottam (yes, Brad Cottam was hyped at one point, look it up) clone. Moeaki hauled in 47 passes as a rookie and looked to be a very promising player. To put it in perspective, that’s more passes than even Gonzalez had as a rookie.
Unfortunately, he missed his entire sophomore season with an injury sustained in preseason. This is not insignificant. Moeaki has never been able to stay healthy dating back to his days as a University of Iowa player. Rumor has it he never even got a 95% attendance award in elementary school (not even during half-day Kindergarten). This was one of the main reasons he fell to round three of the draft. This is not a case of if he could just stay healthy.
The 2012 season has seen a regression as Moeaki has caught only 27 passes thus far, albeit considering some quarterbacking issues. It’s not time to give up on Moeaki, but his star certainly seems to have dimmed since his rookie year. The question is, “Should we have expected this?”
Who They Could Have Had:
Rob Gronkowski one round earlier is the obvious answer. Jimmy Graham or Aaron Hernandez were also in the next few selections after that. Moeaki is certainly at risk of becoming the Todd Blackledge of this tight end group. Geno Atkins also was taken shortly afterwards (because the Chiefs were set at defensive line). Did I mention Moeaki’s star has dimmed?
Round 5 (136) Kendrick Lewis
Which player is the safety from Ole Miss? Is he the guy that stepped up and looked like an above average player when Eric Berry was out last year? Or is he the injury prone mediocre safety who has shown up this year?
Lewis certainly does seem to have taken a step back during the 2012 injury. His injuries have subjected fans to Abram Elam; his play has made them groan. Still, injury looks to be a very logical reason for his decline. And if Lewis returns to 2011 form he will be an absolute steal. The post-injury career trajectories of Moeaki and Berry have taught us that recovery from injury is no guarantee. And Jarrad Page looked like a steal once too. That being said, Lewis looks a good rebound candidate next year.
Round 5 (142) Cameron Sheffield
This rush linebacker out of Troy is more known for his neck injury while tackling Eagles running back Mike Bell than his on-field contributions. He was actually having a nice pre-season up to that point. Being blocked by Tamba Hali never helped his chances for playing time. Sheffield looks like flop as an NFL player though. It was sad to see a promising pass rusher like him have his career hurt by such an unfortunate injury.
Scott Pioli ended his 2010 NFL Draft strong—that is evident even as injuries have plagued this draft class. Could this class have a quick turnaround? Absolutely! Eric Berry, Moeaki, and Lewis have all been bitten by the injury bug, but their return to prior form would make this class a success. Javier Arenas is a bust, but Dexter McCluster has taken a step forward this year. In the end, this draft class gets an incomplete. It has too many question marks to be a success, but too much potential to be called a flop.