2011 NFL Draft: Day 3 Gems to Complete Kansas City Chiefs' Draft Class
As the 2011 NFL Draft enters its third and final day, the importance of each pick seems to have waned. The selection clock, once at 10 minutes for the first round, has been halved as teams evaluate their options and entertain trade offers.
The Green Room is shut down; all the eager players with their families have already had their tearful phone calls, received their jerseys or ball caps, and hugs from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Turn out the lights; the party is over.
That is, of course, unless your one of the 32 teams still picking in the draft.
While the fanfare and hoopla that has surrounded the first two nights of the NFL Draft have died down, NFL teams' scouts, coaches, and executives are still fully engaged in finding the best and brightest to fill their team rosters...or they at least had better be.
The best teams in football are chock full of draft picks, particularly talent found in the latter half of the draft. These players might not all be starters...some are, of course.
More often, though, they're your role players, special teams standouts, and key reservists. Nothing is quite as heart-wrenching as seeing your team's playoff hopes go down the tubes after an injury to one player.
As the Kansas City Chiefs look at their final day's worth of picks (five remaining, at present), here are some of the players they should seriously consider when their five-minute clock starts ticking.
Greg Salas, WR, Hawaii
Projected Round: Fourth
Greg Salas is one of the very first players the Chiefs should consider in the third day of the draft. Despite having already drafted University of Pittsburgh receiver Jonathan Baldwin in the first round, Salas has the makings of a solid possession receiver in the NFL.
Salas has hands that catch anything thrown his way, can work the middle of the field, and is more than capable of gaining yards after the catch.
He is fearless, not only when going up for the ball, but especially once it's in his hands. The way he runs in the open field reminds me of Jamaal Charles.
What's more, even with the addition of Baldwin, Kansas City's cupboard is still a bit bare when it comes to wideouts. With Baldwin and Dwayne Bowe as starting two receivers, that leaves only hybrid running back/slot receiver Dexter McCluster, journeymen Chris Chambers and Terrance Copper, and undrafted rookie Verran Tucker on the current roster.
Salas could step in as a solid third or fourth receiver for Kansas City: a valuable asset given head coach Todd Haley's history of using multiple receiver sets.
Salas and Baldwin would likely push Chambers and Copper off the team, giving Kansas City a full roster of young, hungry receivers with more than a little talent between them.
After watching the film on this player, I couldn't be more eager to see Kansas City draft him.
Jerrell Powe, NT, Ole Miss
Projected Round: Fourth
The Chiefs are in need of more depth at the nose tackle position, which has become more and more of an in-demand commodity as teams increasingly favor the 3-4 defense.
Having missed out other nose tackle prospects such as Phil Taylor (first round, Browns), Kenrick Ellis (third round, Jets), and Sione Fua (third round, Panthers), the Chiefs have one of two decent prospects remaining: Jerrell Powe from Ole Miss, or Ian Williams from Notre Dame.
Williams could be a possibility later in the draft, but Powe is the one Kansas City should be targeting.
A solid body who can clog the middle and absorb double-teams, Powe could quickly step into the rotation with Ron Edwards and provide depth at one of Kansas City's weakest positions.
With the Jets and Panthers both picking nose tackles at the end of the third round, though, Kansas City might need to choose between Salas and Powe as teams might start a run on nose tackles for fear of missing out.
Tim Barnes, C, Missouri
Projected Round: Fifth
The addition of Rodney Hudson does a lot to improve the Chiefs' interior offensive line talent. Hudson will likely play center, eventually replacing incumbent starter Casey Wiegmann in the lineup.
Barnes, while unlikely to find himself immediately in a starting role, would add considerable depth to the offensive line.
Taller and heavier than Hudson, Barnes would more likely shift over to guard where he would play second string at right guard, behind 2010 free agent pickup Ryan Lilja.
A sharp, intelligent player, Barnes would could also work in a pinch as a reserve center.
Tyler Sash, S, Iowa
Projected Round: Fifth
Safety isn't necessarily a need position for Kansas City, particularly when it comes to a strong safety following last year's fifth overall pick Eric Berry.
Additionally, safeties in the 2011 Draft come with an elevated value due to the lack of quality upper tier talent.
That being said, Tyler Sash is a "blood and guts" type of player that would be a solid addition to the Chiefs defense. While not necessarily the most physically talented player, Sash had a knack for being in the right place at the right time in college.
He did well shooting the gaps in run support, has good vision in deep zone, and is an aggressive player looking to make contact.
In short, just the type of player you want in dime packages, and especially on special teams as a gunner on punts and kickoffs.
Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa
Projected Round: Fifth-Sixth
While on the subject of Iowa players, another average-talent, high-effort player is quarterback Ricky Stanzi. While certainly not blessed with the strongest arm or quickest feet, Stanzi is a solid, intelligent man behind center who can step in for your starter and not lose the game.
A student of the game, Stanzi is more than capable of overcoming his shortcomings and being a valuable reserve quarterback in the league. As defenders seem to get bigger and faster each year, this is becoming more important for teams as starting quarterbacks are having an increasingly difficult time staying on the field.
What's more, Stanzi is the type of player that teammates can respect and look up to. His team-first mentality and positive attitude will inspire confidence in a team when he steps into the huddle, rather than add to the uncertainty that follows losing a starting quarterback.
Picking up Stanzi should be a high priority for Kansas City. He'll be a known commodity, given the close relationship between Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz.
The addition of a solid journeyman quarterback in free agency paired with Stanzi as a developmental player and Cassel starting will lock in a successful quarterback lineup for years.
Steven Friday, OLB, Virginia Tech
Projected Round: Sixth
One of the oldest players in this year's draft, Steven Friday would likely be a higher draft pick if he were a couple years younger.
Despite the fact that Friday will be 25 at the start of the 2011 season, Kansas City would do well to give Friday a shot developing as Tamba Hali's backup at outside linebacker.
Having played defensive end for Virginia Tech, Friday has the size more appropriate for a 3-4 pass rushing linebacker at 6'4", 250 pounds.
A quick, aggressive player who does well in space and has solid tackling skills, Friday would work decently as a reserve pass rusher as well as in special teams support.
Colin McCarthy, ILB, Miami
Projected Round: Sixth
Not a player originally on my board, Colin McCarthy jumps onto the board due to the lack of action in this year's draft at inside linebacker.
North Carolina's Quan Sturdivant would likewise be on this list, though Sturdivant is more likely to go in the fifth round, where Kansas City's would be better spent elsewhere.
That brings us to McCarthy. Another player with strong leadership skills and work ethic, McCarthy is a solid second-effort player who can add depth to the Chiefs' inside linebacker corps and provide a solid tackler on special teams.
McCarthy excels in traffic and is tenacious when it comes to bringing the ball carrier down.
Mario Harvey, ILB, Marshall
Projected Round: Sixth-Seventh
My favorite pick for the Chiefs' last selection in this year's draft, Kansas City will finish strong if they can snag Mario Harvey in the seventh round.
Originally projected as high as the fifth round, Harvey could find himself waiting until the end of the third day before being picked due to the lack of action on inside linebackers.
Measuring just under 6', Harvey will get passed over by other teams worried about his performance in coverage, particularly in a Cover 2 defense.
That's where other teams will miss out, though, as Harvey sports a good backpedal, possesses solid instincts for the ball, and has no issue taking on larger players to make the tackle.
Harvey also is considered to have excellent intangibles. He has a consistent motor, keeps after the play, and has the type of work ethic coaches love to see in their players.
Harvey would make an instant impact on special teams, and could start challenging for time alongside Derrick Johnson sooner rather than later.