Insiders Draft Review: Parker Could Be A Sleeper

Chiefs wanted to find a burner in the draft and they might have accomplished one of their primary off-season goals by selecting speedster Samie Parker from Oregon in the fourth round.

Hopeful that some quality receiver might slip to them at No. 30, but hardly stunned when one didn't, the Chiefs were able to address an even more pressing concern on defense with the first-round drafting of wide body defensive tackle Junior Siavii of Oregon.

Looking for a massive body like Siavii's 340-pounder to dam up the leaky rush defense that was the NFL's third-worst last year, Kansas City targeted Siavii near the top of a group of gap-plugging tackles who might be available late in the first or early in the second round.

They were even able to trade down six picks -- getting an '04 fourth-round pick and a fifth-rounder in '05 from Detroit -- and still find Siavii available after Tommie Harris, Vince Wilfork, Marcus Tubbs and Igor Olshansky were gone.

"The one thing you can't coach is size," said coach Dick Vermeil. "We don't have anybody his size on our roster."

"We all know we have to stop the run better than we've been doing," Vermeil added. "A big man like this will definitely make a positive contribution."

The Chiefs thought they had addressed their gaping void at defensive tackle two years ago with the first-round drafting of Ryan Sims. But Sims, after reporting late and getting hurt early in his 2002 rookie season, has yet to show the nasty demeanor usually required of a nose or three technique defender.

Siavii may not have that problem.

"I call him the Tidal Wave," said Lynn Stiles, the Chiefs' vice president of player personnel. "Anywhere he wants to go, he goes.

"The first time I saw him, he literally picked up the Stanford offensive guard blocking him and threw him at the quarterback. That was a pretty good start.

"I think the guy's got something to prove," added Stiles, mindful that Siavii played at two junior colleges before settling in for two seasons at Oregon. "He's got some real nastiness about him. And, he's got a lot of upside."

After a promising start, the rest of the Kansas City draft was largely uneventful, especially after the Chiefs decided that a second-round pick was too high a price to spend on Iowa kicker Nick Kaeding -- a prospect they might have traded up to get in the third.

In what appeared to be a reach to everyone but the Chiefs, Kansas City spent a second-round pick on Pittsburgh tight end Kris Wilson, who they project as an H-back candidate. Concerned about the wear-and-tear on 32-year-old Pro Bowl fullback Tony Richardson, and worried that they might not adequately replace him if Richardson went down, the Chiefs reached for a player with backfield blocking potential and the ability to split a seam as a receiver.

One of their more intriguing picks was receiver Sammie Parker, also of Oregon, in the third round. Parker brings sprinter speed to the football field and could give the Chiefs the quick-twitch vertical stretcher they've been seeking for three years under Vermeil.

BEST PICK:
Siavii should fill a defensive tackle void that's plagued the Chiefs since the last productive days of Dan Saleaumua; ironically, also of Samoan descent, as is Siavii. The Chiefs have been looking for a run stopper since then and have gone through a succession that runs the gamut from Joe Phillips to Chester McGlockton and now to Ryan Sims. A hard-to-move player like Siavii may be their best prospect yet.

COULD SURPRISE:
Parker seems to be more than a track sprinter trying to run past people on the football field. "We know he can run," Vermeil said of an athlete who finished third (twice) in the NCAA Indoor 60 meters. "Whether he can transfer that to the NFL remains to be seen. It's not going to take us long to find out."

A closer look at the Chiefs' picks:

Round 2/36 -- Junior Siavii, DT, 6-4, 344, Oregon
Getting a big body to play three technique defense was a priority of new defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham. Siavii is a guy the Chiefs targeted weeks ago as a hard-to-move body who could hold his own at the point of attack and either make a play himself or free up teammates to do so.

Round 2/61 -- Kris Wilson, TE, 6-1, 248, Pittsburgh
Won't threaten Tony Gonzalez's tight end job, but will be used as an H-back, possibly taking some load off 32-year-old fullback Tony Richardson. Can line up as a blocker in the backfield or shift to a slot receiver position where he has the ability to run up-the-seam patterns against zone defenses.

Round 3/93 -- Keyaron Fox, LB, 6-2, 227, Georgia Tech
A mobile athlete with some cover skills gives him a shot at an outside linebacker spot.

Round 4/105 -- Sammie Parker, WR, 5-10, 179, Oregon
Track speedster can do more than run fast on a straight line in his shorts. Thin but tougher than he looks, he could be the burner the Chiefs have been searching for throughout Vermeil's previous three seasons in KC.

Round 4/125 -- Jared Allen, DE/long snapper, 6-6, 265, Idaho State
Led NCAA Division 1-AA defenders in sacks (17.5) as a senior. Rangy, mobile player was disruptive all over the field on the smaller-school level.

Round 5/162 -- Traded to Philadelphia for G John Welbourn
He should eventually become the Chiefs starting right tackle in 2004 despite the fact the Chiefs signed Chris Bober earlier this off-season. Though he played guard the last four seasons in Philadelphia, Welbourn has the body and size to take over for the departed John Tait.

Round 6/189 -- Jens McIntyre, WR, 5-11, 203, Auburn
Former high school teammate of Seahawks receiver Darrell Jackson caught 41 balls for Auburn in addition to playing on every special team.

Round 7/221 -- Kevin Sampson, OT, 6-4, 312, Syracuse
Large wing-span makes him a prospect, albeit a sleeper.

CHIEFS NOTES & DOLLARS:
The Chiefs immediately began to lower the expectations placed on Junior Siavii, the first player taken (36 overall), by talking about how in a year or two he could become an impact player. But Siavii was having none of that when it came his turn to talk to the Kansas City media. "It's going to be a battle for the offense if they want to try to hold me one-on-one," Siavii vowed in a call with Kansas City reporters. "If it's a run, they'd better run around. Don't come my way; leave my gap alone. I'll come in and we'll see what I've got."

Kansas City really liked, but ultimately elected to bypass a chance to draft kicker Nate Kaeding of Iowa in the second round.

Concerned about the advancing age and declining distance of 43-year-old kicker Morten Andersen, the Chiefs would have traded up to take a shot at Kaeding in the third round. But when he was on the board at their 61st pick in the second, the Chiefs decided that was just too high a price to pay for a kicker, even though Vermeil and Carl Peterson had drafted Tony Franklin in the third round for Philadelphia in 1979.

Kaeding disappeared four picks later, going to San Diego at No. 65.

Lynn Stiles, the Chiefs vice president of player personnel, has a nickname for top draft pick Siavii. "I call him the Tidal Wave," Stiles said. "Anywhere he wants to go, he goes."

Siavii is said to have something of a nasty disposition, especially on the field. He learned quickly that such a mood is just fine with new Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.

"He's a hard-core guy," Siavii said of the fiery Cunningham. "He's old school; I opened up to him. He didn't look too happy the first time I met him, but after I had a meeting with him, he showed me his good side."

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"We went into this saying we wanted someone who projected to be a starter. Well, I was real smart and projected (Texas') Roy Williams to be a starter, but somebody drafted him (at No. 13). I thought (Michael) Clayton would be a starter, and somebody got him, too (at No. 15). When you're picking at 30, those kinds of guys aren't there." Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil, on his team's failure to land a big-name wide receiver in the draft.


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