Kansas City Chiefs Ultimate 2014 Draft Primer
In many ways, the Kansas City Chiefs are paying the price in 2014 for their big rebound in 2013. The Chiefs will be without their second-round pick because they made the playoffs with Alex Smith as the starting quarterback.
Thanks to a deep draft, though, the Chiefs still have an opportunity to find a few starters even without their second-round pick. The Chiefs could use a starter on the offensive line, at wide receiver or at defensive end.
On another bright note, the Chiefs upgraded their seventh-round selection to a sixth-round selection by trading Edgar Jones to the Dallas Cowboys last August. Jones likely wouldn't have even made Kansas City's roster last year, so the the Chiefs likely viewed it as a free upgrade.
This ultimate draft primer aims to give you which players fit best at each selection, scenarios for each pick and the latest draft buzz.
2014 Draft Picks
Round 1, Pick 23 (23)
Round 3, Pick 23 (87)
Round 4, Pick 24 (124)
Round 5, Pick 23 (163)
Round 6, Pick 17 (193) - This pick was acquired from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for linebacker Edgar Jones and Kansas City's seventh-round selection, No. 238 overall.
Round 6, Pick 24 (200)
Position-by-Position Big Board
Quarterback: Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Zach Mettenberger, Jimmy Garoppolo, David Fales, Tom Savage, Teddy Bridgewater, Aaron Murray, Tajh Boyd
Running Back: Bishop Sankey, Tre Mason, Devonta Freeman, Ka'Deem Carey, Charles Sims, Lache Seastrunk, Jerick McKinnon, Storm Johnson
Wide Receiver: Sammy Watkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Cody Latimer, Jordan Matthews, Davante Adams, Jarvis Landry, Donte Moncrief, Martavis Bryant, Brandon Coleman, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, L'Damian Washington, Devin Street, Matt Hazel, Bennie Fowler, Torrence Allen
Tight Ends: Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Troy Niklas, C.J. Fiedorowicz, A.C. Leonard
Offensive Tackles: Taylor Lewan, Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Zack Martin, Morgan Moses, Joel Bitonio, Jack Mewhort, Billy Turner
Offensive Guards: Zach Martin, Xavier Su'a-Filo, Joel Bitonio, Dakota Dozier, David Yankey, Charles Leno, Brandon Thomas
Centers: Marcus Martin, Weston Richburg, Travis Swanson, Wsley Johnson, Tyler Larson, Bryan Stork
Defensive Ends: Ra'Shede Hageman, Kony Ealy, Stephon Tuitt, Scott Crichton, Timmy Jernigan, Dominique Easley, Kareem Martin, Will Clarke, Taylor Hart, George Uko, Jay Bromley
Nose Tackles: Ra'Shede Hageman, Louis Nix, Justin Ellis, Daniel McCullers, Zack Kerr, Ray Carrethers,
Inside Linebackers: C.J. Mosely, Ryan Shazier, Chris Borland, Shayne Skov, Jordan Tripp, Trevor Reilly, Yawin Smallwood
Outside Linebackers: Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, Demarcus Lawrence, Jeremiah Attaochu, Dee Ford, Marcus Smith, Trent Murphy, Howard Jones, Prince Shembo, Michael Sam
Cornerbacks: Kyle Fuller, Justin Gilbert, Bradley Roby, Darqueze Dennard, Jason Verrett, Phillip Gaines, Pierre Desir, Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy, Terrance Mitchell, Bennett Jackson, Walt Aikens, Bashaud Breeland
Safeties: Calvin Pryor, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Jimmie Ward, Terrence Brooks, Deone Bucannon, Ahmad Dixon, Dion Bailey, Marqueston Huff, Kenny Ladler, Tre Boston
Round 1, Pick 23
General manager John Dorsey claims to use the "best player available" strategy of drafting, but this is just a front office buzzword. The best player is relative to the team's need because they are graded relative to the players on the roster. This is how Dorsey learned how to do things in Green Bay under Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson.
It's the same strategy the Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders and many other organizations use to set their draft board. In the case of the Chiefs, the "best player available" is likely going to be the best player at one of several positions of need.
A player like Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks is going to be graded relative to a player the Chiefs signed from the CFL. Even if he is graded versus wide receiver Donnie Avery, he's going to have a huge advantage over prospects at other positions.
Dorsey tends to favor bigger wide receivers than Cooks, so the question will be if the Chiefs have another wide receiver graded higher. We are also assuming Cooks doesn't go off the board before pick No. 23.
Marqise Lee, Cody Latimer and Davante Adams all have better size, although none of them have anywhere near his speed or agility. Head coach Andy Reid had success with undersized wide receivers like DeSean Jackson, so Dorsey may be inclined to go with Cooks despite his size limitation.
Other than his height, Cooks is everything the Chiefs want in a wide receiver. Cooks is even a high-character individual, which sometimes seems like a rare trait for a wide receiver.
If the Chiefs don't go wide receiver, they could draft a defensivee end to replace the departed Tyson Jackson or an offensive lineman. Offensive tackle Branden Albert and offensive guards Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah departed in free agency, leaving a need for depth at the very least.
At defensive end, Ra'Shede Hageman could be at the top of the Chiefs' board. Hageman can also play nose tackle, which would give defensive coordinator Bob Sutton a movable weapon.
The only problem with Hageman is that the Chiefs need more help on offense if they hope to score enough points to compete with the NFC West in 2014. The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders also upgraded their pass-rush this offseason, so the offensive line could be a priority.
Zach Martin, Xavier Su'a-Filo and Joel Bitonio all have some position flexibility, but they project best as guards. One or two of them should be available at No 23 and would fit Andy Reid's scheme.
Bitonio may be considered a bit of reach, but would be an option if Cooks, Hageman, Martin and Su'a-Filo are all off the board at No. 23. The Chiefs have to stay flexible.
A top cornerback would also make sense in the first round. The Chiefs could trade Brandon Flowers and replace him with a player that is a better fit for Sutton's defensive scheme. Kyle Fuller, Jason Verrett and Bradley Roby would top the list.
Round 3, Pick 87
It's important that the Chiefs hit on their third-round selection since they don't have one in the second round. It's a deep draft, though, and there is a good chance the Chiefs will be able to find a starter with the 87th overall pick.
The Chiefs will try to project, to some extent, where the value will be at this point in the draft, but it's so unpredictable they will just have to adjust along the way. The cornerback position may be a bit picked over, so the value may not be there in the third round.
Pierre Desir, Marcus Roberson and Walt Aikens are all cornerbacks with good size that the Chiefs like, but all of them could be off the board by No. 87. The end of the third round may be the sweet spot for a guard of defensive end.
Former small school left tackle Dakota Dozier projects as a very good guard in the NFL. Dozier should go in the late third round and has tremendous upside considering how well he moves. Another option would be Stanford's David Yankey, although grades vary more widely on him.
Oregon defensive end Tyler Hart would also be a good fit for the Chiefs. Hart compares favorably with former Chiefs defensive end Ropati Pitoitua, who had a ton of potential but was stuck in Romeo Crennel's antiquated defensive scheme.
If available, West Virginia's Will Clarke is the more intriguing prospect as a 3-4 defensive end because he's long and lean. Clarke may not fall to the end of the third round, but he could be the perfect fit for Bob Sutton's defense if he does. Clarke has great length and burst off the line of scrimmage and would open up rushing lanes for outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.
Round 4, Pick 124
The Chiefs can go in a number of directions in the fourth round. The talent by this point is starting to thin out and finding an eventual start could be more challenging.
One prospect that is particularly interesting in this range is Missouri cornerback E.J. Gaines. At 5'10" and 190 pounds, Gaines is a little smaller than the Chiefs would like, even if he is a little bigger than Flowers.
Gaines does a lot of things well, but nothing exceptional. Like Flowers, Gaines can rotate between playing the slot and outside. Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. is a decent pro comparison for Gaines.
Harris has carved out a nice role for himself in Denver over the last two years and Gaines could do the same in Kansas City. Gaines would also become and instant fan favorite.
Round 5, Pick 163
Although having a player that can turn Alex Smith's short passes into long gains is ideal, head coach Andy Reid can also do a lot within his scheme to get wide receivers open. The key is often a wide receiver that runs sharp routes.
In the fifth round, the type of players available are all going to to have flaws, but former Coastal Carolina stalwart Matt Hazel doesn't have any major ones. Hazel isn't the fastest or the strongest, but he runs good routes and has good hands.
According to Brian Carriveau of cheeseheadtv.com, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson sought out Hazel at the East-West Shrine game. Thompson is Dorsey's former boss, so they may have similar thoughts about Hazel.
Hazel could easily make the Chiefs' roster in 2014 and contribute in this offense. Not a lot stands in Hazel's way of playing time even if the Chiefs draft Cooks in the first round.
Round 6, Pick 193
The Packers have historically drafted linebackers, defensive backs and defensive linemen late in the draft. Since Dorsey has adopted a similar method in Kansas City, it would make sense that the Chiefs would value positions in a similar way.
Linebackers, cornerbacks and defensive linemen are often among the best athletes available late in the draft. They also form the backbone of special teams.
Defensive end Aaron Lynch has the talent to be a good player, but hasn't put it all together. As a sixth-round pick, Lynch could contribute on special teams initially while the coaching staff works with him.
The upside with a player like Lynch is almost too good to pass on in the sixth round. There may be several players like Lynch available, the Chiefs just have to identify them and be willing to take some risk in order to find starters.
Round 6, Pick 200
The sixth round would also be where we could see former Missouri star pass-rusher Michael Sam drafted. Playing near home would certainly minimize some of the media distraction that is sure to come.
In addition, Sutton's defensive scheme would be an ideal fit for Sam. Sutton did a great job of creating free rushers and allowing his defensive players to do what they do best in 2013.
Sam has great initial quickness, but lacks the bend around the edge. Sutton can create situations that don't require that of Sam, but rather have him open up the edge for blitzing defensive backs.
Latest Draft Buzz
- According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Chiefs are one team considering a quarterback in the first round because negotiations with Alex Smith on a long-term contract extension are not going well.
- The Chiefs are believed to be willing to deal cornerback Brandon Flowers for more draft picks, per Bleacher Report NFL Columnist Dan Pompei.