Touchdown Tuesdays- Rookie Reactions AFC West Edition

When the 2016 NFL Draft concluded on May 2, 2016, our draft expert DraftDaddyV highlighted many of the strengths and weaknesses of countless draft eligible players that entered the waters of the professional football league. If you followed his blog at http://draftdaddyv.tumblr.com/  you clearly were informed of his opinion about the players the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers selected.  He analyzed specifically who came away as  winners and who would eventually pan out as losers in the years to come in the highly competitive AFC West Division. Just five years ago the division was a joke. But in that short time frame,  it’s quickly turned into the wild west.

The AFC West in my humble opinion is up for grabs. While the Denver Broncos did walk away as the AFC West Championships( (for the fifth straight year) in 2015 en route to their Super Bowl 50 Championship run, their season greatly depended on the play below. The division rested on solely one play, a Jamaal Charles  fumble with less than 90 seconds to go in the fourth quarter in their Week Two matchup against the Broncos. Denver’s nickel corner Bradley Roby scooped up a Brandon Marshall’s forced fumble and scored to secure one of many victories for the Mile High City.
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Kansas City

This week I am centering the focus of our research primarily on the AFC West. Tonight, I am specifically profiling the Kansas City Chiefs and the moves they made this offseason to see if they are any closer to being Super Bowl contenders or pretenders. In my humble opinion there is no denying that the Chiefs are contenders in not only the AFC West pennant race, but also as a dark horse contender for a shot at the AFC crown. Based upon the blueprint provided by Denver, I think they have many of the pieces in place to have a Super Bowl run of their own. What is holding this team and continues to remains their main problem is the fact that Alex Smith is their signal caller. To put it nicely,  this team will go just as far as former overall number one pick quarterback will take them. Sure he can win you games, but he is as plain as vanilla ice cream. From an outside perspective,  I think that Smith truly has talent, but he’s not someone who inspires confidence that he can win the big games when they matter the most. He’s predictable to say20130205_124735_alexsmith_300 the least and just two years ago he failed to throw a single touchdown to a wide receiver in the span of all 16 games throughout the season. This was an NFL first and in quarterback driven league, Smith is not a stock most Fortune 500 companies would invest in. He’s not a Manning, Brees, or Brady. Heck I do not even think he’s a Joe Flacco. He’s a hindrance to developing Reid’s West Coast offensive system and waters down the playbook with his lack of fundamental playmaking ability. I like Alex Smith, but I am by no means in love with him. This is the one position holding back the true potential of this team.

Even with their limitations at the quarterback position, General Manager John Dorsey and Head Coach Andy Reid have created a deep roster loaded with  talent that is as rich Kansas City’s world famous BBQ sauce. The duo of these two men since 2012 have recaptured the magic that has coursed through Arrowhead Stadium throughout its history. The Chiefs are relevant again, and that’s a good thing for the NFL considering that one of its most historic franchises is winning games again. I honestly feel that it is just a manner of a time before Big Red gets all the piecesgiphy1 assembled for a legitimate title run, its first since Lenny Dawson led the Chiefs to the championship game since Super Bowl IV. They understand the value of investing in a quarterback and I am thoroughly convinced this team was all in on the idea of anointing then Memphis Quarterback Paxton Lynch as the heir apparent. Obviously the Broncos moved up in the first round via a trade with the Seattle Seahawks in order to pry Lynch away from Kansas City. Reid of all people knows the value of quarterbacks and I think Lynch was his selection at 28. While he moved out, it wasn’t a nightmare situation for the Chiefs and they rebounded greatly with solid picks. It was their ideal situation, considering that the entirety of the 2016 NFL Draft didn’t exactly fall in Kansas City’s favor. With great management spearheaded be these two aforementioned men, the Chiefs draft got extreme value with each selection. This rookie class from to bottom has players who can come and have an immediate impact.That is not a knee-jerk reaction. It’s a bold statement painted in big bold sharpie letter etched in Kansas City Red.

Picks

1st Round- None

Round 2, Pick No. 37: Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State

Analysis- I firmly believe the Chiefs were considering taking Paxton Lynch with the 28th pick. The wide relievers mocked by most draft gurus were long gone by this point. QB is the one position that I feel holds back the potential with this team. Alex Smith is great, but he is Alex Smith. I know they like Aaron Murray, but I think they could’ve snagged a QB for the future if Paxton continued to fall and if the Broncos did not trade up. With Poe possibly leaving next season, DT is a major position of need. Like the story that was run  by ESPN’s Adam Teicher, Jones gives KC much needed insurance. Like Poe, he’s a big body that can stuff the run. With Poe potentially leaving in a year due to contract situations, this can be a solid replacement who with long term development may become even better than Poe.He will not be a starter with Allen Bailey, Jay Howard, and Poe commanding the defensive line, but he will see time. He’s too talented. He was the best player on the board at 37.

Round 3, Pick No. 59: KeiVarae Russell, CB, Notre Dame

Analysis- Corner was another position of need I felt the Chiefs needed to address. With Russell, they got a great quality corner who can play right away. While he will be likely backing up Marcus Peters and Phillip Gaines he will have a role as the team’s nickel back. To have great success, teams are going to need three quality corners. The Chiefs snagged that with their selection of Russell, a three year starter for the Irish. Plug and play the tape against USC.

Round 4, Pick No. 105: Parker Ehinger, G, Cincinnati

Analysis-  This selection was made primarily for depth. Ehinger played right tackle in college and should transition to guard. See him being a solid swing tackle until he snags a starting position next year. Solid pick.

Round 4, Pick No. 106: Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota

Analysis- With the loss of Sean Smith earlier this offseason, there was no greater position of need then corner. He was the second corner the Chiefs snagged. He should see playing time in as a spare cornerback or nickel situations. Likely see him as solid special team ace until camp unfolds. Hard to say where he fits in this defense right now.     

Round 4, Pick No. 126: Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida

Analysis- Big receiver with bigger problems. Had numerous red flags from character concerns to drug abuse. Was in rehab his Freshman year at Florida, but has been fine since. I am a huge believer in second chances. He will play with his 6-foot-1 inch frame. Like him in the redzone. Climb the elevator big man!

Round 5, Pick No. 162: Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford

Analysis- Great College QB with a clunky and chunky throwing motion. Who knows what KC is doing with this pick. They drafted Georgia QB Aaron Muarry a few years ago in the fifth round and from what I can gather, they like the kid. Another development QB.

Round 5, Pick No. 165: Tyreek Hill, WR, West Alabama

Analysis- Has domestic violence problems. Punched out his pregnant girlfriend a year ago and that landed him three years of probation. This incident got him kicked off the Oklahoma State University roster two years ago. He’s a returner. I would not have drafted him.

Round 6, Pick No. 178: D.J. White, CB, Georgia Tech

Analysis- Must of saw something they liked. Don’t see him making the final roster though. Hopefully they can keep on the practice team.

Round 6, Pick No. 203: Dadi Nicolas, DE, Virginia Tech

Analysis-  Nicolas is about 235 pounds, so he’s far too light to play defensive end and he’ll even have to add some weight to become an effective outside linebacker. He has some skills as a pass rusher but it’s a stretch to think the Chiefs will benefit from those skills anytime soon. He looks like he’s a practice squad candidate at best as a rookie.

 

Grade

Trading out of the first round did not ruin Kansas City’s Draft Grade. Dorsey got return compensation of a second round pick, two fourth round picks, along with a six. Solid trade. Dorsey added defensive depth where he needed while selecting a development quarterback. Dorsey traded twice in the draft and added another  three picks which he turned into the selections of corners.  I think this roster only got deeper with talented players like Jones. Dorsey has the ability to plan ahead and looked at this draft to fill holes that would eventually come about in one maybe two years time. I gave this draft class an A grade reaction. This roster truly has potential to to lay claim to the AFC West Crown and I think this rookie class can play a role accomplishing this feat. I love the class and think the Chiefs are primed for long term success after two very successful back to back drafts.

 

Verdict- Contender

 

 

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