Kansas City Chiefs' Day 2 Draft Primer
Thursday night, on the heels of Johnny Manziel media day, Commissioner Roger Goodell strolled to the podium, read the card and scads of head-scratching Kansas City Chiefs fans let out a collective, "...What?"
To say that Dee Ford was a dark horse at pick No. 23 would be a massive understatement.
The team recently enlisted "Swagger Vance" Walker to bolster its pass rush. Moreover, Ford's position, outside linebacker, is currently occupied by perennial Pro Bowlers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.
But if you find yourself questioning John Dorsey's IQ, inhale, exhale and rub your temples. The pick makes sense (for a number of reasons).
However, drafting Ford didn't address any immediate needs. That being the case, what's in store for Day 2?
Day 1 Recap & Analysis
A few days ago, B/R's Dan Pompei relayed that Brandon Flowers is reportedly on the trade block, claiming, "The Chiefs are believed to be willing to deal Brandon Flowers in an attempt to acquire extra draft selections."
As pick No. 23 crept closer and no news of said move infiltrated the web, that should've hinted at John Dorsey plucking a replacement for an aging, big-contract player. The Chiefs GM not only wanted picks, he wanted cap room, and Tamba Hali appears to be cast as the victim.
Obviously, in drafting Ford, the Chiefs recruited an explosive edge-rusher. But more importantly, if Hali eventually leaves town, his replacement's contract (due to the rookie wage scale) will also allow the Chiefs to extend Justin Houston.
Not a bad trade-off.
Updated Needs for the Kansas City Chiefs
No. 2 Receiver
While one can argue that this is Kansas City's most glaring need, it also doubles as the most talent-rich position in the draft.
A.J. Jenkins is approaching a make-or-break season, and while he oozes with tangible talent, he has to thoroughly learn the ins and outs of Andy Reid's system. Plus, he needs to become more efficient at gaining clean releases versus bump-and-run.
With two years under his belt, Jeff Allen is relatively experienced but has shown little upside. The polar opposite holds true for Rishaw Johnson.
Kansas City would be wise to spend a mid-round pick on an athletic guard.
If Sanders Commings realizes his potential, he can eventually develop into an impact player and effective starter. However, he only part-timed at the position throughout college.
While Husain Abdullah is markedly versatile, last year, his role primarily involved him hugging the line of scrimmage or roaming the middle in zone coverage.
Whether he still possesses the closing speed that's required of a Cover 1 deep safety is anyone's guess.
For whatever reason, this vacancy has flown under the local radar.
Considering the drastic difference in presnap rules, studying Weston Dressler's CFL tape is rendered useless when predicting how he'll fare against press coverage.
And while Junior Hemingway saw sparse time at the position, he's not a prototypical fit.
The selection of Dee Ford proved that nobody on the Chiefs roster is bulletproof.
Derrick Johnson will turn 32 years old in November, and his contract expires after next season.
Joe Mays will turn 29 in July, and while that's far from ancient, his skill level doesn't reside in the same neighborhood as Johnson's.
Also, Nico Johnson, who was drafted with the hopes of becoming the eventual starter at "Mike" linebacker, has provided little reason for optimism.
Friday evening, Shayne Skov and Jordan Tripp are two names to keep tabs on.
Top Day 2 Targets
If Kansas City doesn't draft a wideout on Day 2, color me surprised.
The receiving corps yielded modest production (at best) last year, and with Dexter McCluster gone, the unit's outlook appears even bleaker.
1. Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Landry ranks among the best route-runners in the 2014 class.
He fully grasps the nuances involved in stems and breaks, and he may own the most secure hands in the draft as well.
However, he pulled a hamstring at the combine, which gave way to a 4.77 40 time. That, in turn, might send his stock nosediving.
He's never been tagged as a burner, but the fluidity in his breaks compensates for any handicap, as he maintains the same degree of speed throughout the entirety of routes.
Overall, he's a younger, better version of Jason Avant.
2. Dakota Dozier, G/OT, Furman
Dozier shows the potential to be a Week 1 starter, particularly given the Chiefs' lack of stability at the position.
He's a nasty, relentless blocker who can pave lanes for Jamaal Charles, yet he's athletic enough to pull and block second-level defenders in space.
3. Dri Archer, WR, Kent State
Archer's professional path will likely mirror Dexter McCluster's.
As a running back, he was an ankle-breaking blur at Kent State. However, given his versatility and open-field elusiveness, a team might convert him to the slot.
Andy Reid had a soft spot for McCluster, and according to The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that "Big Red" felt the same way about Brandin Cooks.
Mort on ESPN's best show (NFL Insiders): Andy Reid likes Brandin Cooks; GM John Dorsey likes bigger WRs. No 2nd rd pick. Tough spot for KC— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) May 5, 2014
It goes without saying that Archer isn't near the receiver that Cooks is, but he can transition to the slot just as easily as McCluster did.
Also, Archer runs a 4.26 40—that alone justifies a third-round experiment.
4. Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
Bruce Ellington is one of the draft's best-kept secrets.
Though his route running oscillates between above average and slightly below it, he sifts his way through crowds and always finds a way to rack up extra yardage after the catch.
Respectable straight-line speed and top-tier acceleration allow him to create separation down the field, and he occasionally manages to snag unthinkable, buzz-worthy receptions.
The wideout has some of the most trustworthy hands in the draft, which is far from ordinary for slot receivers.
All in all, Ellington has the potential to offset the loss of McCluster.
What Are the Experts Saying?
Unless John Dorsey trades for picks, which isn't out of the question, Kansas City only has one Day 2 selection in its pocket.
If the media's view is representative of what to expect, then expect nothing—analysts hold a mixed bag of predictions for pick No. 87.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: Ed Reynolds, FS, Stanford
When Reynolds' name breaches conversations, opinions tend to be split down the middle.
Personally, I don't see the appeal, especially if projecting him within the Chiefs defense.
Reynolds is a hard hitter with decent instincts. However, his skill set is better suited for a Cover 2, which is what he predominantly played in college.
He doesn't have the closing speed to be successful as a single-high safety, and average acceleration and hip fluidity don't lend themselves well when he's playing the center of the field. He's quick to bite on stems, and his stats were inflated due to the system.
Reynolds' game is reminiscent of Kendrick Lewis'—a safety who also tallied respectable stats before switching to Cover 1.
There's a reason why No. 23 wasn't re-signed.
Todd McShay, ESPN (subscription required): Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton
Reflecting on the pick, McShay, noted, "Reid is a solid value at this point in the third round, and he'd provide good depth along the defensive line."
Scouts are weary of Ivy League prospects for a reason.
Physically speaking, Reid has the tools to develop into a weekly contributor. His brand of acceleration and upper-body strength are desired by scouts.
That being said, he often leaves his stance in an upright position, and his pass-rushing moves are extremely limited.
With only one pick on Day 2, the Chiefs aren't going to use it on a rotational defensive end project.
Jon Dove, Draft Breakdown: Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
This is a realistic and sensible selection.
Richardson will likely fall to the third because his hands betray him from time to time, particularly if he expects contact from his blind side.
Having said that, he would instantly become Kansas City's starter opposite Dwayne Bowe.
Richardson is a good but not great route-runner, but he occasionally flashes the necessary skills to become one.
His 4.40 40-yard dash—which tied for third among receivers at the combine—is indicative of his on-field speed, as he routinely torches defenders in effortless fashion. And though he's not as agile as someone like Brandin Cooks or Marqise Lee, he still shows enough shiftiness to fool pursuers in space.
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson
Breeland is also viable candidate for pick No. 87.
The Clemson corner is well-versed in press coverage, regularly jamming wideouts at the line and gaining leverage on their inside shoulder. He can change direction relatively quickly and has above-average ball skills.
Breeland is projected as a mid-rounder because he exhibits mediocre speed, and if a receiver gains a step on him—particularly on go routes—he sometimes tries to shield his opponent's hands instead of looking back and locating the pass.
Generally speaking, his coverage fundamentals are solid, though.
Kansas City is more or less trying to trace the blueprint of Seattle's secondary, and Breeland fits the mold to a T.
3 Predictions for Day 2
Chiefs Will Draft an Outside Vertical Threat at Pick No. 87
A bundle of worthwhile slot receivers will still be available on Day 3, so that particular need isn't as urgent as finding an outside flanker.
The Chiefs will eye players who can stretch the field, but who can also (ideally) shake defenders in tight spaces.
While Donnie Avery's speed can dust most cornerbacks, he's not a sharp route-runner, and he isn't shifty in the open field. Consequently, defenders normally aren't going to respect any kind of stems or double moves that he authors.
In the Chiefs' case, hands are a plus, but their primary target should be painted on a fleet-footed receiver who brings a hint of versatility.
John Dorsey Will Explore Trading a Player for Additional Picks
Just to reiterate: The Chiefs were (and perhaps still are) allegedly shopping the services of Brandon Flowers, per B/R's Dan Pompei; whether they continue to is anybody's guess.
But now that the Chiefs have spent their first-round pick on Dee Ford, what happens to Tamba Hali? According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Hali's contract wasn't the only factor in the Ford decision:
One reason KC took Auburn DE Dee Ford: Tamba Hali weighed in at 284 pounds last Friday, 20 pounds over his optimal playing weight.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 9, 2014
So, given the situation, the first question is: Would Kansas City draft a first-round non-quarterback if it didn't envision the rookie starting? It's hard to justify.
The second question is: How is Hali's contract structured?
Unfortunately, the answer adds another layer of confusion. The linebacker's contract features a $2 million roster bonus scheduled for this season. If the target date were June 1, for example, then the team would be more inclined to part ways with him.
However, former agent Joel Corry reports that the bonus was rewarded in March.
In essence, if the Chiefs and Hali went their separate ways now, the club would've basically given him a $2 million charitable donation.
That being said, don't rule out the possibility of him leaving town. The move would still create $5.54 million in cap space, which can help re-sign Justin Houston or Alex Smith.
And if the Chiefs can find a trade partner with a healthy amount of cap room, Dorsey shouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger, even if the compensation (draft picks) undersell Hali's market value.
Kansas City Will Trade Up
As stated earlier, the Chiefs need a playmaking wideout, and hordes of them are still available. The vast majority of them will be drafted before pick No. 87 rolls around, though.
Plus, a handful of teams just ahead of Kansas City also need help at the position.
If the right dominoes fall, and the crop grows thin throughout the third round, Dorsey might consider a penning a modest trade in order to leapfrog teams like New York and/or Philadelphia.
Updated Kansas City Chiefs Mock Draft
Round 3, Pick No. 87: Dakota Dozier, G/OT, Furman
Dozier is a road grader in the run game, and his athletic skill set is tailored for Andy Reid's offense.
B/R's Alex Dunlap notes:
Dozier is an outstanding prospect, but his combine numbers were brutal and raise questions about the level of competition Furman faced in college. In these cases, evaluators can point to games like Clemson in 2012 and see that Dozier has proven very capable of operating at a high level against BCS competition.
Dozier, given the lack of consistency at the position, would have a legitimate chance to start on opening day.
Round 4, Pick No. 124: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
In some ways, Colvin's game draws parallels to that of Brandon Flowers. He's incredibly instinctive in zone and more physical in press-man than his size would suggest.
As B/R's Matt Miller points out, Colvin's draft position probably won't be reflective of his true talent.
No. Maybe late 1st/early 2nd round. RT @anthonyjlagrega: if aaron colvin didn't get injured would you have him no.1 corner?— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 2, 2014
Due to the offseason ACL tear, Colvin will likely be relegated to a Day 3 pick.
Round 5, Pick No. 163: Marqueston Huff, FS, Wyoming
Normally, hard-hitting safeties don't tote great speed and vice versa, but Huff is an exception to the rule—4.49 40 times normally aren't typical for someone who bruises bones and egos alike.
However, as NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki details, Huff lacks experience on the back end:
Fast, rangy, tough, loquacious defensive back who was pushed to play safety to fill a need in his senior season, and offers intriguing versatility on the back end. Projects ideally as a cornerback in the pros, where his explosiveness and physicality will appeal to a wide range of teams. Should contribute readily on special teams and has eventual starter potential.
Sanders Commings is still the better prospect, but he and Huff have more than few things (surprising speed, imposing physicality, converted corner, etc.) in common.
Round 6, Pick No. 193: Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest
When Campanaro aligns in the slot, he becomes a perfectionist.
He executes textbook stems, cuts on a dime and effectively locates cushions in zone coverage. Also, unlike most slot targets, he attacks the ball with his hands instead of trapping it with his chest.
Campanaro is capable of becoming an impact player on a weekly basis. And soon.
Round 6, Pick No. 200: Ryan Carrethers, NT, Arkansas State
Carrethers is a former wrestler, and his tireless work ethic and upper-body strength show it.
36 DL had as many or more bench reps than Clowney, 13 fewer. Top 4: Kaleb Ramsey 36 Aaron Donald 35 Ra'Shede Hageman 32 Ryan Carrethers 32— CollegeFootball 24/7 (@NFL_CFB) February 23, 2014
Like Dontari Poe, he hovers around the 335-pound mark, yet exhibits the endurance of a player half his size.
Carrethers likely won't progress into anything more than a rotational run-stopper, but at this point in the draft, little more is expected.
Combine results provided by NFL.com.
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