Kansas City Chiefs Mock Draft: Final 7 Round Predictions
For Kansas City Chiefs fans, May 8 marks the end of a hunger strike.
As the 2014 draft peaks over the horizon, a coterie of amateur artists will hand-wash barbecue brushes like fine China, all before throwing their "Kiss the Chief" aprons into the dryer and turning the knob to "Delicates."
When Thursday rounds the corner, the Red Sea will have been parted for 123 days, and tailgating ticket holders will finally be fed an appetizer to (temporarily) quench their anticipation for the upcoming season.
In Kansas City, Chiefs football is a second religion that gets a promotion every fall, and Arrowhead is the mecca of decibels.
In other words, if you're a local business owner, your company's office space, for the better part of this week, is going to resemble just that; a group of "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's just that I don't care anymore" layabouts who spend the lion's share of each day scrolling through mock drafts—right index finger and thumb anchored on the "command" and "M" buttons—ready to minimize Mel Kiper's pompadour at a second's notice.
If general manager John Dorsey inks the following six picks, 2013's executive of the year award will be welcoming a sibling.
Round 1 (No. 23): Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Marqise Lee is, to a degree, a 6'0", 192-pound enigma.
When healthy, he's still looks every bit the part of 2012's Biletnikoff Award winner. However, his 2013 season was shrouded by four things: nagging injuries, inconsistent hands, erratic quarterbacking and a buzz-worthy coaching carousel.
During his stint at USC, Lee sharply showcased a diversified route tree, although there's room for improvement—better head movement and feints would help him in selling stems. Also, his route-running tends to regress on downs in which he's not the primary target, and coming out of breaks, he occasionally finds himself off balance.
Lee routinely exhibits the size and strength to battle through jams, though.
The fleet-footed speedster has a knack for pinpointing cushions within zone coverage, as well as the awareness to retreat toward the quarterback on broken plays. Furthermore, he's conscious of the sideline, regularly dragging his feet inbounds while securing passes.
USC utilized No. 9 in a variety of ways, including motioning him to the backfield in shotgun variations.
Lee's most distinctive quality is his open-field improvisation, as his quickness and anticipation often culminate in defenders taking poor angles and missing tackles.
While he's no Andre Johnson, his blocking is also underrated.
All things considered, Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandin Cooks (whom I believe is the best prospect of the trio) are safer bets than Lee. That being said, both have been linked to a number of teams and will likely leave the board before John Dorsey is on the clock.
A medley of questions linger over the offensive line like a nimbus cloud, while free safety also casts its share of doubts. Zack Martin can bolster the front five, but he, like Beckham and Cooks, will probably be plucked before pick No. 23. At least one of the top-tier safeties (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor and Jimmie Ward) will be available, but it can be argued that Sanders Commings—rebounding from his IR-designated rookie season—would still threaten to lay claim as the Week 1 starter.
If the Chiefs aim to offload Dwayne Bowe's bloated contract (after 2014), they need to find a worthwhile replacement as the No. 1 receiver. Lee, a top-10 prospect on the heels of 2012, not only fills that potential void, he arguably upgrades it.
Round 3 (No. 87): Dakota Dozier, OT/G, Furman
If there was a modern remake of The Program, Dakota Dozier would have his own IMDB page. He looks like William Wallace's "right-hand arm man" and generally speaking, his on-field demeanor is reflective of the pictured scowl—he comes to destroy wills.
However, Dozier is deceptively athletic—though not to the extent that some pundits will lead you to believe—and while the combine didn't boost his stock, the same can't be said about East-West Shrine Game, as Rotoworld's Josh Norris notes:
With many Senior Bowl Gs (or future Gs) impressing, lets not overlook Furman's Dakota Dozier. Was top 10 Shrine before and after the week.— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) January 24, 2014
Small-school college left tackle best suited to kick inside in the pros. Has the girth and enough athletic ability to compete as a guard or center and ornery football disposition desired in the trenches. A tough, gritty, road grader capable of paving the way in the run game, Dozier will require some technique refinement in pass protection, yet possesses clear starter potential with continued development. Draft status could ascend if he proves he can play center.
Currently, the Chiefs offensive line is shadowed by a laundry list of doubts, and guard accounts for the bulk of them.
Per The Kansas City Star's Terez Paylor, Jeff Allen spent this offseason sponging knowledge off of LeCharles Bentley, which, given the former Pro Bowler's track record (see Geoff Schwartz, Larry Warford, etc.), is always a welcome sign. Moving forward, his performance throughout 2013 was far from a ringing endorsement, though.
Rishaw Johnson possesses every tangible tool necessary to become a dominant blocker, and he left last year's regular-season finale with all signs pointing upward. But his critics won't hesitate to refer to past concerns, and Johnson imposed said dominance on the San Diego Chargers, which arguably had the league's worst defensive front a year ago.
Jeff Linkenbach, to this point in his career, has proven to be the proverbial jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none. If plans go awry and/or injuries rear their head, he's a serviceable stopgap—nothing more.
Dozier needs an offseason or two of fine-tuning, but he projects to be a staple at guard for years to come.
Round 4 (No. 124): Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
If he had managed to sidestep a torn ACL, Aaron Colvin could've been a late Day 1 or early Day 2 selection. Unfortunately for him, the injury might relegate him to Day 3 status.
Colvin totes the instincts to succeed in zone, while embodying the physicality and fundamentals to be effective in press coverage.
He reacts to hips as opposed to shoulders and/or nods, keeping a square stance until his target fully commits. And though Colvin will overpursue from time to time, he's a relatively unfailing tackler who embraces contact.
A number of minor injuries will give rise to durability concerns, but to his credit, Colvin missed just three games throughout his four-year stay at Oklahoma.
In regards to dire position need(s), cornerback doesn't sound the alarm. Having said that, John Dorsey wants to extend Alex Smith and Justin Houston, and in the wake of this upcoming season, jettisoning the contract of Brandon Flowers or Sean Smith will greatly help in realizing those goals—releasing Flowers during the 2015 offseason could generate $7.5 million in cap space, while cutting Smith would create $5.5 million.
Within the AFC West's confines, the concept of "too many corners" is a myth, and Colvin, a mid-round steal with starting potential, is too talented to gloss over.
Round 5 (No. 163): Marqueston Huff, FS, Wyoming
If a wideout crosses paths with Marqueston Huff and attempts to short-arm an intended pass, it says one of two things: a) He lacks toughness or b) he's intelligent.
Huff moonlights as a 196-pound steamroller of souls. When the Wyoming standout acquires a clear line of sight, he foams at the mouth and his pupils morph into a pair of wrecking balls.
Throughout his collegiate career, Huff periodically employed press coverage, flashing a foundation of cornerback skills. However, if designated to that role, his backpedal and general footwork need to be refined, and his ceiling would be that of a part-time nickelback.
Be that as it may, his 4.19-second 20-yard shuttle, which was fifth best at this year's combine, showed fluid hips.
Huff's home is at safety (strong or free), though.
His next coaching staff will need to temper the future draftee's "attack first, ask questions last" mentality, suppressing his inclination to bite on play-action bait. But he's a playmaking, downfield guardian who boasts the required brand of closing speed to be a Cover 1 deep safety at the next level.
Huff's pros and cons are similar to those of potential first-rounder Calvin Pryor. Only, the former is smaller and rawer, but he's also faster and slightly more athletic.
If the ideal free safety was constructed in a lab, the skill set would bear a striking resemblance to that of Sanders Commings'.
Due to injury, the second-year safety convert was limited to three snaps last season. That being the case, most local enthusiasts are unfamiliar with his abilities, causing a crowd-sourced state of concern that ultimately ballooned to widespread panic when gauging the need at free safety.
At Georgia, he was reputed to be an instinctive, bone-bruising cornerback who played part time at free safety. And a year ago, Commings authored 4.41 40 time—despite weighing more than Eric Berry—which would have topped every safety in the 2014 class.
He was also selected as a center fielder in the 2008 MLB draft, which speaks volumes to his forte for covering ground and tracking balls.
Is free safety a potential concern? Without a doubt. After notching a few years of experience under his belt—depending on progress, obviously—Huff, for a relatively cheap price, can eventually develop into a starter.
But when framed in the grand scheme of things, the position's need is largely overstated, which allows Kansas City to address it in the latter stages of the draft.
Round 6 (No. 193): Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest
In terms of 2014 wideouts, Michael Campanaro is grossly underrated.
Former NFL general manager Phil Savage agrees:
And, Campanaro set Wake school-record with 229 receptions, then ran 4.46, benched 20x and jumped 39" on vertical and 10'2 on broad. #CanPlay— Phil Savage (@SeniorBowlPhil) April 25, 2014
Campanaro bears one glaring flaw: subpar arm length, which limits his effectiveness as a blocker and makes him susceptible to jams when his initial move(s) at the point of release is negated.
That aside, he's one of the most technically sound slot options that you'll lay eyes on.
Wake Forest's game-changer accelerates off of the line like a fervid cannonball and carves divots out of the ground via textbook route-running. Also, while slot wideouts tend to be pigeonholed as mediocre pass-catchers, Campanaro's skills are more akin to a possession receiver, routinely snatching spirals with his hands before they contact his pads.
Though he's primarily known for his open-field elusiveness, he also displays a surprising degree of strength every now and again—Campanaro's 20 bench press reps ranked No. 4 among receivers at the 2014 combine.
Since Dexter McCluster departed for Tennessee, slot receiver has remained a mystery for Kansas City.
Investing one's faith in Weston Dressler is a risky proposition. Unlike the CFL, presnap sprints are outlawed in the NFL, which poses questions about how he'll fare versus press coverage.
Due to shoddy quarterbacking and lack of national exposure, Campanaro is anything but a household name. However, film reveals a trustworthy slot option who exhibits painstaking attention to detail.
Campanaro will flourish in a timing-based offense.
Round 6 (No. 200): Ryan Carrethers, NT, Arkansas State
Ryan Carrethers is a 337-pound road block.
Considering his mountainous frame, he demonstrates a rare level of endurance that likely stems from his wrestling background.
Carrethers would benefit from improving his technique(s) and diversifying his skill set. While he owns a decent swim move, he needs to expand his arsenal of pass-rushing tactics.
His initial explosion ranges from average to borderline impressive. In some instances, he maintains a low pad level while stampeding through the opposition, yet in others, he reverts to an upright stance and allows blockers to gain pad leverage.
B/R's Ryan Lownes adds:
As one of this draft’s few pure nose tackles, Ryan Carrethers fits inside in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. A former wrestler with an understanding of leverage, he is capable of playing 0-, 1- and 2-technique.
While he is extremely strong and flashes some functional power, he appears to be a marginal athlete by NFL standards and will need to adjust to a drastically higher level of competition. He is worthy of a late-round selection and will earn his paychecks as a rotational run-stuffer.
Over the years, Kansas City has routinely recruited and recycled depth at nose tackle. Because of that, Dontari Poe and his 340 pounds participated in 1,063 snaps last season, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
If anything, Carrethers is a body who can spell Poe and suffice as a run-stopper.
Combine results provided by NFL.com.
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