Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's the Draft, Stupid

Tomahawks must get it right!!

The Chiefs have drafted themselves into a corner. New GM Scott Pioli has such a reputation for finding gems in the annual auction that the height of the expectations is only dwarfed by his salary.

Fans are thinking and talking openly about “doing a Miami”. Remember that the Dophins, coming off a disastrous season in 07, signed their top draft choice, OT Jake Long and went on to a winning season.

Fans seem to forget that the NFL draft is a real crap shoot. From the top 250 college players taken most will not be on a roster at the end of the season. Pioli is making the right noises when he explains the success of Tom Brady (a sixth round choice by the Patriots) by reminding us that Tom is the hardest worker he has ever seen – except, perhaps, the new QB incumbent of the Chiefs, Matt Cassel – a seventh round Pats choice. What he's saying is that it is mostly hit and miss and raw talent is handy, but the ability to improve and work hard are probably more important.

So, what will be the Chiefs strategy?

Most expect the Chiefs to be stuck with the number three pick. No matter how hard Pioli tries to unload it, it's going to be difficult. High picks cost so much money nobody really wants them, so it is imperative that Pioli gets it right. Many people are expecting him to go for OLB Aaron Curry. Some think that he might go for Virginia OT, Eugene Monroe. Both look like safe picks on paper. After all the off season activity in bolstering the most feeble line-backing corps in Chiefs history, you might expect Monroe to be the choice. I still think it will be Curry.

With no pick in the second round, it's imperative that the top pick is a player who contributes right now and is a potential Pro-bowler.

As the draft unwinds predictions become too far-fetched to predict. Every team has their draft strategy and mostly this involved selecting the top player on their chart who is still available when the clock starts. Every team says they do this, but in reality they don't.

Take the Chiefs QB status for example. Matt Stafford of Georgia is the top QB and top overall player in this crop of potential first rounders. Even if he is still on the board when the Chiefs pick at three they will not take him. There are no guarantees, especially with QB's. The Chiefs need help at LB and OT. The will take the top pick left at one of those positions even if Stafford is still there.

It's only when you get to rounds three and four (Chiefs have no second round pick) that you might go for the top player left on your board, regardless of position. Teams are made in the draft. Or not made. The Lions (predicted to take Stafford) are perennial early pickers. They almost always get it wrong. The temptation to play safe and go for Curry or Monroe first might be too great to resist. If so, the Chiefs are in real headache country. They would still pass on Stafford and go for the next best OT or DE. So much for taking the top-rated player.

The only sure thing is the speculation is nearly over. Now it's money talks and bull**** walks.

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