Wow! Before the NFL Draft, I like to line up names that match up with the Chiefs' needs and selection spots, and then squawk about how they're a perfect fit. Then the Draft starts, and they choose people I've mostly never heard of at positions they hardly need, all while ignoring my phone calls, emails, and sky message flyovers. So I regather myself, try to put myself in their shoes and assess just what they were thinking. This year was different though. I mentioned 5 of the Chiefs' 9 draft picks in my pre-Draft writeup. Everything seemed to come together for them at the right time. The pieces fit perfectly into place. It felt similar to when I wrap up one of my world famous Draft classes on Madden where every pick makes sense (leading to one of my many Super Bowls). The Chiefs addressed each of my top 4 needs, and 6 of my overall 9 positions of need (honestly, the other 3 were just filler). Compare that to last year, when 6 of my top 8 needs were not directly addressed in the Draft.
It's almost scary how much I like this Chiefs draft class (as you'll soon find out with my grade-nasties). Combined with an excellent finish to the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the sports world now has me in fear of The Bundy Curse. But I think this could be one of the great classes, and not just when looking around the NFL this year, but when looking at the Chiefs' all time history. Combine that with the great classes of 2008 and 2010, and the Chiefs' future is looking brighter than Jon Gruden's preteen Swedish haircut. If Matt Cassel continues to progress, these classes have the makings for the foundation of an NFL powerhouse. However, I'm just glad to finally get my hands back into some football. And if you weren't excited about the 2011 NFL season (which will happen) because of the lack of Free Agency, the time to do so is now. So lets get to the picks and see why this class has me excited in more ways than one....
1st Round: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
I dismissed Johnny Baldwin (can I call you Johnny Baldwin?) at first because of his perceived similarities to Dwayne Bowe. What I meant by that is that neither Baldwin or Bowe have tremendous speed, and I was concerned that defenses would be able to stack the box, bogging down what the Chiefs want to do on offense (run the ball, intermediate passing). However, after taking a closer look at Baldwin, he gives the Chiefs exactly what they need, which is a downfield threat. Built with a 6'4 frame and terrific go-up-n-gets-it skills, Baldwin should prevent the defense from stacking too many in the box. There are some character concerns, but I trust that Pioli (In Pioli we trust!) checked into every potential concern with him. Combine that with the fact that Haley knows how to develop receivers, and Baldwin could be exactly what the Chiefs need opposite D-Pro-Bowe.
Fun Fact: Baldwin attended the same high school as former Pitt Panthas Mike Ditka and Darrelle Revis.
Grade (combined with the extra pick gained from the trade down): A-
2nd Round: Rodney Hudson, C, Florida St.
Hudson should be the Chiefs Center for the next 12-15 years. While Casey Wiegmann provided a good stop-gap solution at Center last year, reports say he's 50/50 about returning for the 2011 season. Rudy Niswanger has starting experience at Center, but is really better as a Guard (and as a backup). Hudson started 47 career games at Guard at Florida St, but does have experience at Center before and was projected as one by almost Draft expert. He was a 3-time member of 1st team All-ACC, the 2-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Year, a unanimous All-American in 2010, and was considered the top center of the 2011 NFL Draft (despite the Raiders defying that conventional wisdom - whodathunk?). Hudson was whistled for 4 penalties throughout his entire career, and only allowed 1 sack in his last 2 years at Florida St.
Fun Fact: Hudson took part in one of the best things in sports when a defensive player jumps offsides and the entire Florida St. offensive line won't move to showcase the defensive infraction. Seen here...
3rd Round (#1): Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
Fun Fact: Houston failed his drug test at the NFL Combine (how can you fail the test at the Combine? You know the exact date, and you know you're going to get tested. Does this guy even have an agent?)
3rd Round (#2): Allen Bailey, DE, Miami
Fun Fact: Bailey grew up in a town, Hog Hammock, of roughly 80 people on isolated Sapelo Island approximately 15 miles off the coast of Georgia (Oh, maybe he knows Justin!).
4th Round: Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado
Fun Fact: Brown ran for 412 yards and 5 TD's in a high school game, breaking Terrell Suggs' (yup) previously held Arizona state record. And they lost the game.
5th Round (#1): Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa
Fun Fact: The Arizona Cardinals phoned Stanzi with the intention of making him the 136th pick in the NFL Draft. Unfortunately for them, the Chiefs owned the pick before and gobbled him up.
5th Round (#2): Gabe Miller, OLB, Oregon St.
Was the biggest reach of the Draft according to most Draft boards scattered throughout the information superhighway. Miller is most likely a project having only played 2 years of defense with the Beavs, beginning as a Tight End. Plenty of reasons to dislike this pick, however there's one really good reason to like it....
Fun Fact: Gabe started "No Shave November" for OL, TE, and QB's at Oregon St. eventually leading to an ESPN Gameday feature. Seen here....
6th Round: Jerrell Powe, NT, Ole Miss
The Chiefs finally have somebody phat enough to play Nose Tackle! Ron Edwards was masquerading as one the past two years (and doing a pretty good job of it), but the time has come for the real thing. The Chiefs got great value on this pick, with one CBS analyst mocking the Chiefs to pick Powe in the 2nd round. I have no idea how he lasted until the 6th round with so many teams needing a Nose Tackle in today's NFL, although this might play a bit of a factor...
Fun Fact: Powe literally cannot read according to his Mom. I find this endearing and think it makes him a very sympathetic dude that I will be rooting for extra hard.
7th Round: Shane Bannon, FB, Yale
I got almost no information on this dude except....
Fun Fact: Check out this head of hair...
Overall GPA: 3.3 (B+) However, not everybody does so well in this NFL Draft, therefore I'm grading the Chiefs on a curve, which rounds this Draft class up to a rock solid A.