The Kansas City Chiefs have a lot of needs heading into 2010.
Truth be told, GM Scott Pioli could pick just about anyone with the fifth overall selection, and that pick almost certainly would be an upgrade over the player who played that position in 2009.
What fans need to understand however, is that the draft isn't solely about who a team can grab with their first-round pick. The draft is about leveraging each and every pick against the available talent pool, and acquiring guys in each round that can help your football team.
In this mock draft, I've put together a group of players that should all be available when the Chiefs' pick comes up in each round. Even better, six or seven of these guys could very well start for this team next season.
After Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Tennessee's Eric Berry, there's no better football player in this year's draft than Florida's 20 year-old Joe Haden.
The first true freshman to ever start at cornerback for the Gators, Haden started all of his 40 games in Gainesville. A consensus first-team All American, Haden amassed 8 interceptions, 218 tackles, and 34 pass breakups in his three seasons as a Gator.
By far the best in this year's crop of cornerbacks, Haden would give the Chiefs one of the best young cornerback tandems in the NFL. While Brandon Flowers has played well when he's lined up across from the league's best receivers, Brandon Carr has struggled when asked to play man coverage.
Selecting Haden would not only give Chiefs defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel the ability to put his corners on an island against the league's best receivers, but it would also go a long way in defending against the pass-happy AFC West.
Throw in the fact that the Chiefs just hired Hall of Famer and former Chiefs' great Emmitt Thomas to coach the defensive backs, and this pick is a match made in heaven.
The safest and most popular pick for the Chiefs is the consensus best left tackle on the board, Russell Okung from Oklahoma State.
If the Chiefs are truly dead set on moving Brandon Albert to guard or right tackle, and Okung is there, this is the most logical pick.
Many Chiefs fans believe selecting the nation's best collegiate inside linebacker is a must for solving Kansas City's troubles stopping the run.
Sure, Rolando McClain is good...real good...but he's not the key to solving Kansas City's trouble against the run. If you compare him to veteran ILB Derrick Johnson, McClain's not as fast and isn't as good in zone pass coverage as Johnson, who didn't even start for much of last season for the Chiefs.
Unless defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli are intent on releasing Johnson or Demorrio Williams to pick a similar kind of player in McClain, this pick makes no sense whatsoever.
If not for a knee injury that cost him the final three games of his senior season, there's no chance that Syracuse standout Arthur Jones gets out of the first round.
As it stands, even if Jones can show scouts at the combine that he's fully recovered from that knee injury, he likely won't be gone by the time this pick comes around for the Chiefs.
If the Chiefs do land Jones, they get themselves a guy who was a dominant nose tackle in college. The type of player their defense was in desperate need of in 2009.
A two-time first-team All-Big East selection, Jones simply creates havoc in the middle of the defensive line. Unlike the much ballyhooed Terrence Cody from Alabama, Jones has a great motor and doesn't take plays off. If the Chiefs are fortunate enough to be able to select him here, they will have a player who can be a force against both the rush and the pass in 2010.
Even if the Chiefs decide to re-sign wide receiver Chris Chambers, they still are in desperate need of a third receiver for their offense.
Drafting Illinois' Arrelious Benn would provide them with slot receiver who has a knack for finding the soft spot in the defense's zone, and also has the speed to get deep. The bonus with Benn is that he's an excellent kick and punt returner as well, another need the Chiefs need to address this offseason.
Do Chiefs fans remember when new coach Todd Haley was upset with "overweight" players at the start of training camp and wouldn't let them participate until they made weight?
Within a week or so, players like Brian Waters made weight and were practicing with their teammates.
If the Chiefs draft Cody, he may not get on the field until after Christmas. This part-time player will be a huge bust...literally.
The Chiefs would like to move Brandon Albert to right tackle at some point in the future, and drafting the massive 6'5" and 330 pound Vladimir Ducasse could make that happen.
A native of earthquake-ravaged Haiti, Ducasse played left tackle for a UMass offensive line that allowed just six sacks this season, second-fewest in the NCAA.
While many scouts think of him as a guard at the next level, the quick and agile Ducasse is still a raw talent with a huge upside, who's only played six years of football.
He faired reasonably well against some of the best collegiate pass-rushers at this past weekend's Senior Bowl, but still has plenty of work to do on his technique.
Everything considered, he is still flying up many draft boards, and likely won't make it out of the second round.
With many people thinking the Chiefs have to address tackle with their first overall pick, it's clear that Ducasse could supply the Chiefs with plenty of value here in the second round. At worst, he projects as the Chiefs starter at right guard in 2010. At best, he could turn into their left tackle for the next ten years.
Kansas City needs to upgrade the safety position, particularly strong safety, and LSU's Chad Jones will be the best safety on the board when this pick rolls around for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs need help at center, and Florida's Pouncey could be available here. But it's simply too high to take the draft's best center, especially with so many other needs on the defensive side of the ball.
The Chiefs are in desperate need of a strong safety to replace the aging Mike Brown. Who better to replace him than another Cornhusker in Nebraska's Larry Asante.
While the rest of the country was watching Ndamukong Suh, Asante was quietly leading the Cornhuskers in tackles the past three seasons, registering 221 to go along with his 15 pass breakups and 3 interceptions in his 35 career starts.
At 6' and 210 pounds, Asante showed great instincts against the run in addition to displaying his 4.5 speed in pass coverage.
A big-hitter who got penalized for a few ill-advised late hits this season, Asante makes slot receivers think twice before going over the middle. At the next level, he can not only provide the Chiefs with a player who can cover San Diego's Antonio Gates one on one, but he provides solid leadership from the safety position.
A solid character guy who is on the Big 12 Honor Roll academically, Asante joined fellow safety Earl Thomas of Texas as an All-Big 12 first-team selection in 2009.
TCU's Washington registered 109 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 interceptions in his final year with the Horned Frogs.
Expected to move to OLB at the next level, Washington can play inside in the 3-4 or move to Mike Vrabel's OLB spot when needed. He's also an outstanding special teams player.
The feel good story of the race for the Heisman Trophy, Gerhart projects as a fullback at the next level, and not the change of pace back needed behind Chiefs starter Jamaal Charles.
It may be exceedingly optimistic to project that Ohio's Taylor Price may fall to the Chiefs in round four.
After showing scouts in this past weekend's Senior Bowl his 4.36 speed and ability to catch anything in his vicinity, Price has been flying up draft boards. An All-MAC second team player, Price finished his senior season as the Bobcats' all-time leading receiver with 149 catches for 2019 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Always a threat to beat you deep, the 6' and 200 pound Price runs crisp routes and isn't afraid to go over the middle. Of course, his greatest attribute (great hands) will also go a long way in endearing him to coach Todd Haley.
A perfect compliment to Bowe and Chambers in Kansas City, Price also has experience returning kickoffs and punts.
The Chiefs need a nose tackle, and the 6'4" and 314 pound senior from LSU should be there for the picking in the fourth round.
With the selection of Woods here and Jones in the second round, Kansas City mayor Mark Funkhouser will officially change the name of the city to Baton Rouge North, as these two join former Tigers Dwayne Bowe, Tyson Jackson, and Glenn Dorsey in Kansas City.
The cornerback from Wake Forest should be the Chiefs pick for a couple different reasons.
First, drafting Ghee would mean the Chiefs would have three Brandons at the cornerback position, and that's way too confusing.
Second, the fact that Ghee showed scouts at the Senior Bowl that he can be complacent and all too happy to let receivers catch balls in front of him, this guy just sounds like a mirror image of Brandon Carr in 2009.
The Chiefs are in need of another back to compliment starter Jamaal Charles. Someone who can hammer it up the middle but also has the burst to get to the edge, and hands to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Enter Auburn running back Ben Tate.
At 5'11" and 218 pounds, Tate is a little bigger than Charles and runs a little tougher inside than the Chiefs starter. With 3,321 career rushing yards and 24 touchdowns, Tate ranks favorably amongst other great Tigers' running backs like Stephen Davis, Rudi Johnson, and Ronnie Brown.
I know what you're thinking..."another LSU player?"
The Chiefs need a thumper in their backfield, and Charles Scott is that kind of back. Scott hasn't played since injuring his shoulder against Alabama back in November, but when healthy he's a big strong back who hits the hole at full-speed.
A very good change of pace back to compliment starter Jamaal Charles.
Missouri's standout wide receiver Danario Alexander had many Tigers fans thinking he was the next Jeremy Maclin.
However, after an ugly week of practice at the Senior Bowl, Alexander showed Kansas City scouts something they're all too familiar with...a guy who drops the ball too much, and had difficulty getting in and out of his breaks.
The Chiefs needs a quick receiver who gets in and out of his breaks quickly, and catches every ball in sight.
Alexander is not that player.
After trading away future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, the Chiefs struggled throughout the season to get solid production from their tight ends.
BYU tight end Dennis Pitta can change that. In addition to being named a second team All-American in 2009, Pitta also broke the NCAA record for career receiving yards by a tight end with 2,856 yards receiving.
Oklahoma's Auston English is your classic "tweener" at 6'3" and 256 pounds.
Although he suffered a season-ending foot injury against Nebraska in November, English was named an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2009. Blessed with great instincts, whether he's playing the run, rushing the passer or dropping into pass coverage, English makes big plays with his intelligence and athleticism.
A tough player who has played many games through injury, he must improve his durability after missing the last three games in each of the last three seasons with various injuries. If he can, he can be a player in the Mike Vrabel mold.
Although Quarless proved he could be productive in Penn State's offense, he hasn't completely proven he can avoid run-ins with the law.
Already rung up for marijuana possession and DUI, the chances of Pioli taking a chance on Quarless are somewhere between slim and none.
After spending his first three seasons at Notre Dame playing guard, Olsen successfully moved to center in 2009.
A offensive captain for current Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, Olsen gave up just one sack this season in 450 pass attempts. Weis once called him the offensive line's "heart and soul".
An intelligent player with a nasty streak, Olsen somewhat reminds you of another alum from Notre Dame who donned the red and gold...Tim Grunhard.
Olsen would be an upgrade over current center Rudy Niswanger, and could quickly become a leader on the Chiefs offensive line.
Olsen isn't just the best pick for the Chiefs with this pick, I think his relationship with Weis makes this the likely pick as well.
There really isn't a "worst" pick with the Chiefs last overall selection. But picking a guy like Haslam, who can be a reserve at both guard and tackle, wouldn't be near as productive as picking up a potential starter like Olsen.