As of right now, the Kansas City Chiefs have seven picks in the upcoming 2011 NFL draft. The Chiefs have one pick in each of the first four rounds and two picks in Round 5.
One fifth-round pick was acquired in the Alex Magee trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The other was a flip-flop of picks between the Detroit Lions and Kansas City due to Detroit tampering with Jared Page. The Chiefs have no picks in the sixth round, due to the Magee trade, and one pick in the seventh round.
The Kansas City Chiefs offense needs another wide receiver, an offensive tackle, a project quarterback and potentially an offensive guard to replace Ryan Lilja or Brian Waters.
On defense however, the Chiefs have one huge, glaring hole at NT. Additionally, the Chiefs could look to add another pass-rushing OLB and a potential ILB.
It is intriguing and entertaining to explore what talent is available to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2011 draft. This is the first time in three years that the Chiefs have selected outside of the top five, so it will be interesting to see if that changes the dynamic of the Chiefs draft process this season.
Without further ado, this is how I see the 2011 NFL draft shaking out for the Chiefs:
Round 1: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Castonzo had a great performance at the 2011 NFL scouting combine. He was phenomenal in all the drills, showing great athleticism and technique.
Castonzo became a starter during his true freshman year in 2007, and has been a fixture at tackle for Boston College since. He has experience on both the right and left sides, and could play either at a high level in the NFL.
Castonzo could shore up the RT position, or, if good enough, take over for Branden Albert at left tackle.
1. Nate Solder, OT—At this point in the draft, Solder would be one of the top players available, and could make sense for the Chiefs. Solder could shore up the RT position.
2. Phil Taylor, NT—The Chiefs struggled against the run late in the year because they had nothing at the nose-tackle position. Taylor would help to fix that issue.
Round 2: Stephen Paea, NT, Oregon State
The Chiefs just missed out on signing Shaun Rogers when he went to the Saints. Ron Edwards is a stopgap at best, so the Chiefs need a long-term solution to step into the NT position.
At this point in the draft, Stephen Paea is the best player still available. Concerns about his injury history and his lack of height are going to fuel Paea's fall to the Chiefs, who should be delighted about this pick.
Paea has a good initial burst off the line and possesses excellent strength to bull rush offensive linemen back into the pocket. Due to his lower-body strength, Paea is hard to move off the line and routinely requires double-teams.
Paea has a lot of upside, especially for a guy that only played three seasons of football prior to playing for Oregon State in 2008.
1. Rodney Hudson, G/C—There is a 50-percent chance that Casey Wiegmann will retire this offseason. The Chiefs will need a successor and some insurance in case Wiegmann does indeed hang it up.
2. Titus Young, WR—The Chiefs need an upgrade at the No. 2 receiver position, particularly a downfield threat to stretch the defense. Young could become the Chiefs version of Mike Wallace, although much shorter.
Round 3: Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana
The junior Hoosier receiver was unable to perform in Indianapolis. Doss was a multidimensional weapon at Indiana as a junior. Doss was the Hoosiers' third-leading receiver and third-leading rusher, and top punt and kick returner. Doss has good size at 6'2" and 201 pounds.
Doss has above-average route-running skills, very good hands and can adjust to make the catch. Doss is deceptively fast and gets downfield, displaying the ability to make the reception running at full speed.
1. Casey Matthews, ILB—The Chiefs need an upgrade next to Tamba Hali. Matthews is an interesting prospect, and he comes from a good bloodline.
2. Jerrell Powe, NT—With Ron Edwards as their only option, the Chiefs are in the market for a nose tackle. Powe is worth taking a look at in the third round.
Round 4: James Carpenter, OT/G, Alabama
Though Carpenter weighed in heavy at the combine, his hard work on the field should impress scouts much more than any numbers he produced in Indianapolis.
Carpenter has the ability to line up at guard or tackle in the NFL. Carpenter’s strength at the point of attack and consistent effort make him a legitimate OG or OT.
1. Austin Pettis, WR—If a receiver has not been picked by now, the Chiefs will need to start thinking about it strongly during this round. Pettis should be and would be the best player available at WR at this point in the draft.
2. Delone Carter, RB—Thomas Jones is 33 years old and entering the last year of his contract. Whether the Chiefs release him or keep him, Carter could eventually take over Jones’ role.
Round 5: Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa
Kansas City acquired this selection from the Tampa Bay Bucs as part of the Alex Magee trade. The Chiefs will need to groom a young quarterback just in case Matt Cassel starts to take steps backward during his third season in Kansas City, and I fully expect them to select a QB during this draft.
At 6’4” and 230 pounds, Stanzi has ideal size for the position, above-average arm strength and shows great leadership abilities. He has also been a three-year starter for the Hawkeyes, and has been tutored by one of college football’s best coaches in Kirk Ferentz (who is best friends with Scott Pioli, by the way).
1. Chris Carter, DE/OLB—Carter could be a solid complement across from Tamba Hali that could help take Kansas City's defense to the next level.
2. Greg Little, WR—Little exhibited impressive athleticism in the 40-yard dash, vertical leap and standing long jump and even led the wide-receiver field with 27 reps of 225 pounds. However, there are some character issues with Little.
Round 5: Jeremy Beal, DE/OLB, Oklahoma
Beal had a terrible Senior Bowl and combine, so his stock is slipping. Beal ran a 5.12 40-yard dash that solidified concerns over his athleticism.
However, Brandon Spikes, another "falling" prospect from last year, just enjoyed a great rookie campaign for the New England Patriots.
Beal was a dominating pass rusher for the better part of four years with the Oklahoma Sooners. There is no reason to think that he cannot be just as dominant of a force in the NFL.
1. Greg McElroy, QB—If Stanzi is not taken with the first pick in the fifth round, there is potential for McElroy to be taken here by the Chiefs.
2. Cecil Shorts, WR—I could easily see the Chiefs spending several selections on wide receivers. As everyone knows, the Chiefs do not have much outside of Dwayne Bowe.
Round 7: Orie Lemon, ILB, Oklahoma State
Lemon did not get on the field during his junior season because of a knee injury suffered in preseason camp. As a senior, he was quickly appointed as the Cowboys' defensive leader, and despite any rust, he responded with a terrific season.
Lemon was named All-Big 12 First Team for the 2010 college football season as selected by the Big 12 coaches. Lemon was the first Cowboy linebacker since Greg Richmond in 2003 to be named first-team all-conference.
1. Alex Linnenkohl, C—The Chiefs will need a successor for Casey Wiegmann. If the Chiefs do not address this earlier in the draft, they will here.
2. Greg Little, WR—Due to character issues, Little still could be on the board here, and if he is, the Chiefs should put those issues aside and select him.