Chiefs' draft rather vanilla

By Steve Sell
May 12, 2014

I’ve scoured the various reactions to the Kansas City Chiefs’ draft from the “alleged experts” and the consensus is they fell right in the middle.

The Chiefs’ grade card consists mostly of B-minuses and C-pluses, with longtime guru Mel Kiper Jr. among those giving them a B-minus.

 Good, not great. Not exactly the kind of draft that’s going to send fans scurrying for season tickets.

When I heard the Chiefs took Auburn pass rushing specialist Dee Ford with their first-round pick, I was somewhat disappointed. The primary needs, in my opinion, were wide receiver first, then secondary help.

Ford is a ‘tweener,’ a guy not really big enough to play defensive end and probably not fast enough to play outside linebacker on a consistent basis. The Kansas City brass sees him as the next Tamba Hali, who has played both positions as well. Ford supposedly is a high-character, high-motor player who will have to start in 2015 since either Hali or Justin Houston figures to be gone after this year due to salary cap issues.

The Chiefs didn’t have a second-round pick, gone in the Alex Smith trade, so their third-round choice was cornerback Phillip Gaines of Rice. He has great speed, which is something the Chiefs sorely lack. Whether he can cover is another story, but after watching id="mce_marker"0 million man Brandon Flowers and lanky Sean Smith get burned repeatedly in the playoffs, a move had to be made here. According to reports, though, he could have some problems with weed as he flunked a couple of drug tests, which the Chiefs have acknowledged but believe he’s past that.

The Chiefs’ fourth pick could be the most intriguing. Oregon burner De’Anthony Thomas may have been one of the fastest players in the draft and he’ll instantly bolster the return game as he’s basically replacing the departed Dexter McCluster. I really liked Thomas when he played for the Ducks, as he’s a tough kid who can run inside despite being so small. This could be the most valued pick they made. I can envision coach Andy Reid lining him up all over the field and creating mismatches.

The boom-or-bust pick could be Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray in Round 5. Murray tore his ACL last season, but should be ready to go in the fall. He’ll probably spend most of the year on the bench, but this should serve as a wake-up call to Chase Daniel. The knee problem probably cost Murray from being a third-rounder. If healthy, I think the Chiefs got a steal.

Kansas City spent its final two picks on offensive linemen Zach Fulton of Tennessee and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of McGill, a Canadian. Both were chosen in the sixth round and it’s probably a stretch to think either has a chance to start anytime soon, much less make the team.

All in all, it was a vanilla draft. The Chiefs actually could have spiced things up in the first round since Johnny Manziel was available, but they smartly resisted the temptation of placating the fans, who no doubt got all tingly when he was still on the board. 

I believe this draft will be dictated by Ford’s impact in his first year and what Thomas can bring to the return game. The big hope is that Gaines shows enough that the Chiefs can cut Flowers after next season and save a wad of cash. Murray and the two linemen figure to add next to nothing.

I am not as kind as the others. I see this as a “C” draft with the potential of the grade dropping if Ford is a bust.


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