Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kansas City Chiefs 2011 NFL Draft Analysis

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...

Grade: B+

3rd Round (#1): Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
Houston showed up on my list of potential first rounders for the Chiefs, so you know they got good value here (or I'm just a dumbass). Houston could start for the Chiefs from day one (Andy Studebaker as his main competition) because of his familiarity with the position (Georgia ran the 3-4 last year). The 1st team All-SEC performer posted 11 sacks last year (9 coming against SEC teams) on his way to becoming a finalist for the Nagurski and Butkus Awards. Juiceton could give the Chiefs the pass rushing threat they sorely need opposite Tambahawk.

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?)

Grade: A

3rd Round (#2): Allen Bailey, DE, Miami
A new part of the Chiefs rotation at Defensive Line. Bailey sits at 280 pounds right now, which is a little undersized for a 3-4 Defensive End, but stands similar in stature to my favorite current Chief, Wallace Gilberry. He was a 1st team All-ACC performer in 2009 and a 2nd teamer in 2010, while putting up 7 sacks both years. While Defensive End wasn't a huge need for the Chiefs, you can never have enough good Defensive Linemen.

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!).

Grade: B

4th Round: Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado
The third day (4th round) is when you start to throw positions of need aside and draft whoever is high on your board. Brown stands tall (at 6'1) and tested (opposite Jimmy Smith at Colorado - drafted in the 1st round), which sounds like Brandon Carr's description here with the Chiefs. Like defensive linemen, you can never have enough good Cornerbacks given today's NFL. Brown was honorable mention All-Big 12 the past two seasons, but perhaps more importantly for the Chiefs, starred on Special Teams his first two years with the Buffs, leading the team in "special teams points" both years. He's also very durable, having only missed 20 total defensive plays the last two seasons.

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.

Grade: B-

5th Round (#1): Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa
90% of the mock drafts I read were right. Not sure if it was Scott Pioli's relationship with Kirk Ferentz, or the disintegration of Crodie Broyle's tenure in Kansas City, but they all had KC snagging Stanzi sooner or later. I love this pick. Stanzi draws a lot of comparisons to Tom Brady with his pocket awareness and mobility. He went 26-9 as a starter at Iowa and led them to an Orange Bowl victory in 2009 before losing a bevy of close games in 2010. However, his stats in 2010 (25/6 TD/INT) dwarf his '09 numbers (17/15). Hopefully, this ends whatever was left of Crodie, guaranteeing atleast one area of improvement for the Chiefs from 2010 to 2011.

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.

Grade: A

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....

Grade: C-

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.

Grade: A+

7th Round: Shane Bannon, FB, Yale
I got almost no information on this dude except....

Fun Fact: Check out this head of hair...

Grade: B

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.

His dirkness


The_DQ said...

I am in love with the Justin Houston pick. A complete steal. He is going to make an awesome tandem with Hali. They are gonna be complete nightmares for quarterbacks.

Not in love with the Gabe Miller pick. Bad bad bad pick. What a waste. I was actually hoping for depth at the safety position myself. Remember when Kendrick Lewis got hurt and mcgraw was hurt...we were exposed. We need better depth there.

Not you, but there are so many people claiming we made a bad pick with Jon Baldwin. Too big of a risk. They apparently did not watch the chiefs last season. Preferably the second half of the season. Where we were forced to throw to Tucker and how we signed some receiver that i dont even remember his name to come in during the playoffs....yeah. So, all those who dis this pick are complete morons. I will take this so called "diva."

Shane Bannon...Eric Bannon? Hulk? Maybe. Nonetheless this kid has an awesome awesome attitude with great enthusiasm. Having him in the locker room will be awesome. Enthusiasm translates on the field. I think he is a great 7th round pick.

That is all.

DBZ said...

The Chiefs draft this year felt kind of surreal without us taking a TE in the 3rd or 7th round (or both) for the first time since 2006. I liked it a lot.

I liked this draft for us a lot. I think it helped that there weren't that many positions I felt they needed to get better at and they seemed to address them all, except maybe safety depth as the commenter above me said. I know it's easy to get excited about drafts and think everyone will work out, but hopefully we have another real good WR option, one of the DE/LBs will work out, and a starting center. If we got better depth in the defensive backfield or at QB that is quite alright with me too.

Dirk, how about an article looking at the past 5 or past 10 drafts and which ones turned out the best (behind 2008 of course)?

Anonymous said...

Let me start off by saying the comment about Jon Gruden's preteen Swedish boy haircut made me chuckle. I wonder why the NT slid so far. Also how much does he weigh?

Dr. Zaveous

His Dirkness said...

It's comments like that that let me know why I got in this business Dr. Zaveous. We should all be able to chuckle at Gruden's benevolence.

I believe he weighs in the 330 lb department. Them's some big ol' beef curtains.

Like the suggestion DBZ....I'll see if my agent concurs.

his dirkness