In the second day of the NFL draft, players fall to certain teams and various general managers and coaching staffs are trying to find guys that fit into their schemes. What may be good for one team is a wasted pick for another. The Kansas City Chiefs addressed several needs in day two and found a wide receiver, defensive back depth, a special teams standout and perhaps an offensive lineman of the future.
The first day of the NFL Draft the Chiefs managed to secure three players who will impact this season's team. Patrick Surtain is a shut down corner and will immediately elevate the confidence of the defensive unit. Derrick Johnson likely will start at left outside linebacker, if not in the season opener, by midseason. And punter Dustin Colquitt's resume leads many to believe the Chiefs drafted their punter for the next ten years. Day one was a coup in regards to starting positions filled, and the Chiefs looked toward day two draftees as a chance to find a diamond or two in the rough.
Wide receiver was a definite need for Kansas City entering the weekend. Selecting Colquitt with their 3rd round compensatory pick, the Chiefs ensured stability at position maintained by multiple punters the last few seasons. But it left the Chiefs realizing wide receiver was a likely direction with the first selection in the second day of the draft. And Florida State's wide out Craphonso Thorpe was the clear choice.
Thorpe's big game experience and speed (4.34/40) should find the field for the Chiefs as a rookie. Don't expect Thorpe to crack the starting line-up early in the season, as he will likely take a similar route as Samie Parker encountered a year ago. But he will get some playing time and could challenge for the slot receiver position. He's best trait is his quickness. He has the ability to avoid the jam at the line of scrimmage and catches the ball with his hands not his chest.
Some scouts think the Chiefs reached when they drafted linebacker James "Boomer" Grigsby in the 5th round, but the Chiefs got a competitive guy who loves to play football. Grigsby is a workhorse off the field and just simply made plays while at Illinois State. Though from a smaller school, Grigsby sounds very confident and has the collegiate statistics to back it up. Expect Grigsby to play immediately on special teams. He is reminiscent of Zach Thomas coming out of college. He's a smaller linebacker in stature (6-0/240) but he is a tenacious guy with potential and if he can learn to shed off blocks by 325-pound NFL linemen; Kansas City's reach might have been worth it.
Even with Surtain's signing; Kansas City needed to address depth at cornerback. Alphonso Hodge fit the bill in the 5th round. He has great speed (4.39/40) but lacks ideal ball recognition skills. He ended his collegiate career without a single interception. But his speed and ability to blanket cover receivers should provide an opportunity for playing time. He will definitely play special teams, but must prove his potential to the staff for an active roster spot. He has the physical tools to be successful and he can sufficiently support the run. But to make this roster, he must translate that to a solid mental game to make the team.
The final four selections, in rounds 6 and 7, are project players. Both offensive linemen, Will Svitek (6-6/301) and Jeremy Parquet (6-7/323) are unlikely to see the field in their first season. Svitek is a former defensive end and could end up a guard or tackle in the NFL. His mobility is excellent and could eventually fit into the Chiefs offense scheme. Parquet excelled at Southern Mississippi as a tackle, but he needs work on his mental approach to the game. He like Svitek could develop into a solid tackle or move inside to guard. Regardless, Kansas City's offensive line coaches, Mike Solari and Irv Eatman, are among the league's best and they'll have their work cut our for them in developing these rookies.
Defensive end Khari Long (6-4/257) and quarterback James Kilian (6-4/215) are destined to the practice squad. Long is quick to the quarterback and could eventually project as an outside linebacker or a pass rushing specialist. But he lacks the power moves to get beyond the line of scrimmage and generally relies solely on his speed. He is probably best suited as a linebacker. Kilian's completion ratio at Tulsa was below 60% and he threw more interceptions than touchdowns throughout his five-year career Tulsa. It'll be tough for Kilian to make the team as the Chiefs' already are carrying four quarterbacks on the roster.