7 Hidden Gems the Kansas City Chiefs Should Have Noticed at the Combine

Brett Gering@BrettGeringCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2014

7 Hidden Gems the Kansas City Chiefs Should Have Noticed at the Combine

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    USA TODAY Sports|Edited by Brett Gering

    As teams increasingly adopt a progressive, metrics-based outlook, the NFL combine annually glues more prying eyes than the year before. The Kansas City Chiefs are no different, and with the bulk of workouts in the rear view, John Dorsey and Co. should have their sights set on seven up-and-comers in the 2014 draft.

    It should be noted cornerbacks and safeties, two of the weakest positions on Kansas City's roster, aren't scheduled to perform drills until Tuesday. Throughout the latter half of the draft, the Chiefs could also look to add depth at outside linebacker, a position whose prospects won't work out until Monday.

    Cross those names off the list. 

    Instead, let's analyze a batch of offensive playmakers who, until this point, have made infrequent blips on the radars of general managers.

    Furthermore, while daily planners of defensive linemen mirror that of their linebacking peers, their workouts (see athleticism) hold less value, particularly in a 3-4 alignment like the Chiefs'.

    The mobile mountains have recorded their bench press results, though, and power is an important factor for the road blocks in Bob Sutton's scheme. 

    To this point, seven rookie hopefuls have left a lasting impression. 

    Combine results provided by NFL.com.

7. John Brown, WR, Pittsburg State

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    Why Kansas City Should Take Notice

    Odds are that you didn't click this article's link expecting to see a Pittsburg State mention because, before the combine, I definitely didn't plan on penning one.

    The lion's share of local Chiefs fans are well aware of the D-II powerhouse, but nobody foresaw John Brown recording the second-fastest 40 in this year's receiver class. However, 4.34 seconds after he bolted out of his three-point stance, that's exactly what unfolded. 

    To no surprise, finding tape on Brown is like finding dullness on a Craig Sager, but he appears to be a meticulous route-runner with trustworthy hands. Whoever signs him will exercise a healthy amount of motion to free him from potential jams at the line, but his steepest uphill climb will come in the form of blocking. 

    Potential Role

    Brown will be a project who needs time to acclimate to the talent leap. However as a rookie, he could trot out onto the field as a returner. With a year or two of experience, he has a chance to complement an aggressive aerial attack as a slot option. 

    Measurements: 5'10", 179 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.34 seconds

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.91 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.12 seconds

6. Ryan Carrethers, DT, Arkansas State

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    Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

    Why Kansas City Should Take Notice

    Since drafting the stereotype-shattering Dontari Poe, the Chiefs have struggled to find someone to spell the Pro Bowler. Fortunately for them, he comes packaged with freakish stamina.

    But if the "dancing bear" is ever sidelined for an extended period of time, Kansas City will be left staring at a 6'3", 340-pound hole in its defense. 

    Ryan Carrethers is another monstrous nose tackle with quick hands and jaw-dropping power. In terms of athleticism, he's obviously not within the same stratosphere as Poe, but he does possess rare endurance for someone of his size. 

    Carrethers comes equipped with an effective swim move but inconsistent explosiveness. At times, he'll barrel through blockers like a red-eyed bull, at others, he'll leave his stance in an upright position and allow blockers to gain pad leverage. 

    Potential Role

    Carrethers fits the bill as a rotational 3-4 nose tackle. He won't supply much in regards to pass rush, but he can effectively absorb double teams and plug the interior. 

    Measurements: 6'1", 337 lbs

    Bench Press (225 lbs): 32 reps

5. Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma

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    Why Kansas City Should Take Notice

    Jalen Saunders is a player who could step in for Dexter McCluster (as a sub) and instantly contribute. He's one of the slimmest players in the 2014 draft, but he plays like an athlete twice his stature. Although his frame will raise flags, Saunders rarely graced Oklahoma's injury report.

    The bite-sized wideout owns above-average hands and runs crisp routes. And once Saunders secures possession, he displays a plethora of open-field moves that are all but guaranteed to make the first pursuer whiff. 

    Potential Role

    Throughout his first year, Saunders will be a second-string slot receiver, while also seeing action as a game-changing punt returner. 

    Measurements: 5'9", 165 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.44 seconds

    Three-Cone Drill: N/A

    20-Yard Shuttle: N/A

4. Eathyn Manumaleuna, DT, BYU

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    George Frey/Getty Images

    Why Kansas City Should Take Notice

    The game of Eathyn Manumaleuna draws a few parallels to that of seventh-round pick Mike Catapano. Both played in base 3-4 fronts, utilize four-point stances and showcase a solar-powered motor that never dies. 

    Where do they differ? In college, Catapano was a defensive end who paved his path to the NFL as a pass-rushing specialist. He also predominately played the 5-technique (outside shoulder of the offensive tackle). Conversely, Manumaleuna became a run-stuffing nightmare as a 0-technique (directly over the center) nose tackle.

    At 296 pounds, BYU's star was considerably underweight for the position he played, but he more than compensated for it. 

    Manumaleuna sheds blocks with relative ease and consistently contains gap discipline. In the rare instances in which he lined up at defensive end, he also showed enough athleticism and short-area quickness to disengage and crash down on interior runs. 

    Potential Role

    The Chiefs encouraged Catapano to maintain his four-point stance, and the same would likely hold true in Manumaleuna's case. The team would pack between five to 10 pounds on his frame and pencil him in behind Mike DeVito as a 3-4 defensive end. 

    Measurements: 6'2", 296 lbs

    Bench Press (225 lbs): 29 reps

3. Dri Archer, RB/WR, Kent State

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    Why Kansas City Should Take Notice

    Regardless of whether Dexter McCluster returns to Kansas City, Weston Dressler, for a variety of reasons, isn't filling No. 22's shoes. 

    Someone who could fill those shoes? Dri Archer. 

    Like McCluster, Archer is a collegiate running back who will find his professional niche as a dynamic slot receiver. And at this point in their careers, the future draftee is actually slightly stouter than the first-time Pro Bowler. 

    At the combine, Archer blurred past onlookers with a 4.26 40 time, two-hundredths of a second slower than Chris Johnson's coveted benchmark

    On the field, film shows an electric, decibel-raising talent with ankle-breaking agility and Mach-like speed. Archer has decent hands and seldomly surrenders to tacklers without a fight. He also shows steady patience while cradling the ball, allowing blockers to set up shop and clear paths for him. 

    Potential Role

    In Andy Reid's offense, Archer would occupy the slot, while also netting return opportunities and the odd handoff. 

    Measurements: 5'8", 173 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.26 seconds

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.86 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.06 seconds

2. Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi State

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    Why Kansas City Should Take Notice

    Hypothetically, the Chiefs can release Dwayne Bowe next offseason and gain $5 million in cap space. If that scenario comes to fruition, Donte Moncrief is a wideout who, with a year under his belt, can replace the former Pro Bowler. 

    At 6'2", 221 pounds, the Ole Miss crowd-pleaser mirrors the exact frame of Bowe and flaunts superior speed, ranking No. 3 amongst receivers at the 2014 combine. 

    Moncrief shows good but not great hands, laudable route-running skills and an eye-catching 39.5-inch vertical. Furthermore, he puts his size to use, doubling as a dedicated and imposing blocker. 

    Despite the inconsistent quarterback play of Bo Wallace, Moncrief still managed to churn out 938 receiving yards in 2013, ranking No. 5 in the SEC.

    Potential Role

    Moncrief is an outside target who possesses all the makings of an, at worst, high-grade No. 2 receiver. He understands the nuances of the position and occasionally employs veteran tricks of the trade (such as using subtle pushoffs, a technique mastered by Bowe, to create separation). 

    His size and skill set are synonymous with that of prototypical pass-catchers in the West Coast offense, and given Andy Reid's propensity for screens, Moncrief makes for an ideal fit in Kansas City's offense. 

    Measurements: 6'2", 221 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.4 seconds

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.02 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.3 seconds

1. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

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    Why Kansas City Should Take Notice

    A handful of weeks ago, I hopped onto Brandin Cooks' bandwagon, only to be welcomed by tumbleweeds and dead crickets. Since then, NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah and Matt Smith have also jumped aboard, both slotting the Oregon State standout to the Chiefs at pick No. 23.

    After his showing at the combine, I'm guessing said bandwagon will look less like a barren ghost town and more like Arrowhead Stadium. 

    Personally, Cooks has always jumped out on tape as a slightly smaller but better Odell Beckham Jr., a prospect who has arguably become the favorite at No. 23 (Exhibits A, B and C). No. 7 has always looked a hair faster and more agile, and he's an open-field magician who sports magnets for hands and precise route running. 

    At the combine, Cooks bested Beckham in the 40-yard dash (with, thus far, the No. 2 time overall), 20-yard shuttle (No. 1 overall), 60-yard shuttle (No. 1 overall) and bench press

    Despite earning the Biletnikoff Award as college football's top receiver, the elusive playmaker, for whatever reason, hasn't garnered the ubiquitous praise that trails names like Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marqise Lee and the aforementioned Beckham. 

    After last Sunday, that will change faster than Cooks' 40 time. 

    Potential Role

    Cooks can be utilized as an outside threat or slot receiver, while also filling return duties if need be. Regardless of which position he spends the bulk of his professional time at, the wideout will be on the field for his offense's first play of 2014. 

    Measurements: 5'10, 190 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.33 seconds

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.76 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 3.81 seconds

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