Monday, April 28, 2008

Chiefs Draft Dodgers

A new dawn?

The 2008 NFL Draft is history and the Chiefs hope that they have filled a lot of holes on their roster and dodged the bullet of underachievement.

Certainly in the first round most NFL pundits think the Chiefs were either very lucky or very clever by picking two outstanding young linemen who should make an immediate impact on the team: Defensive Tackle Glenn Dorsey and OT/G Branden Albert. By immediately going a long way to filling the gap left by the departure of Jared Allen the Chiefs answered their critics big-time. There are no guarantees in the NFL but with two top draft picks ready to bolster two of the real problem areas of last season - things look good. Now the front office must make sure these players are signed, sealed and delivered before training camp starts!

The Giants Super Bowl win has firmly focussed coaches minds on defence so it was no surprise when the Chiefs took Brandon Flowers, CB, in the second round. The Chiefs need someone who can step right in and they obviously think he's the man to do it. If so, fantastic, if not they covered themselves by taking another CB in round five, Branden Carr from Grand Valley State. I readily confess to not knowing where Grand Valley State is or what kind of football program they have. Obviously, the Chiefs think they do! If the Chiefs can get another starting CB out of Round Five, they will be beyond ecstatic!

The third round was interesting. Three picks produced a running back, a tight end and a safety. If all three make the final roster, even as special teams and backup players, this suddenly becomes a fantastic year.

With their 4th round pick the Chiefs took Missouri wide receiver Will Franklin. Whether this was just a sop to the local fans and sports writers only time will tell. If you're not a complete cynic you have to think a Fourth Round wide receiver has a chance to make the team and be more than just a special teams player. Remember, Jared Allen was a fourth round pick!

The scouts and coaches really earn their money when you get to rounds six and seven. Chiefs had two picks in each round. In round six they took another lineman, Tackle Barry Richardson and a WR and Kick Returner, Kevin Robinson. You do get NFL players from rounds six an seven – but if you do it regularly, it's a real bonus. If you are one of the scouts who recommended these guys, you've got your fingers crossed!

Finally, in round seven the Chiefs took a DE (more cover for Allen?) Brian Johnston from Gardner-Webb – and who ever heard of Gardner-Webb? A quick search finds that they have provided Jim Maxwell, linebacker of the Bengals and Gabe Wilkins a former GB Packers defensive end, so they are not entirely without pedigree! With their final pick they chose Michael Merritt a tight end from Central Florida.

The bottom line is the draft is the Chiefs chosen route to the promised land. This looks like a good start, but all the draftees are untried at the NFL level. If half of them make the team that's six good young players. If among those six are the replacements in the real problem areas, then we are on the way. If two of the top picks sink without a trace, things look very bleak indeed.

The NFL draft is unique in that it supplies a conveyor belt of exceptional athletes for the professional game, and it (mostly) ensures that the talent is shared out among the 32 pro teams. Regardless of what the fans think it's up to the coaches and the front office to get it right. They have made the call and will have to live with it. Another 4 and 12 season and heads will roll. Young QB not good enough – fans will want to know why they didn't draft one?

Armchair Quarterbacks – get ready to rumble!

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