Should The Chiefs Trade Down Again?

A strong case can be made for the idea that Chiefs GM Carl Peterson should be actively working the phones in hopes of working out a deal with a team or combination of teams to move down from the 20th selection in the first round of next Saturday's NFL draft. And not just a few spots, either. All the way out of the first round and into the second.

Of course, Peterson would prefer to entertain offers from teams who are looking to move up rather than initiate any talks. That strengthens his bargaining position. But if he hasn't already received any realistic offers with only a week remaining before the big day, I would be surprised if he wasn't putting out some feelers and letting it be known that the 20th pick could be had for fair value.

No NFL team wants to tip their hand, but try as they might, it is hard for teams to hide what their needs are. It is based on common sense assumptions, which may or may not be accurate. Al Davis once drafted Todd Marinovich in the first round, proving that insanity it impossible to predict.

I don't think Chad Jackson of Florida or Santonio Holmes of Ohio State will be available for the Chiefs with the 20th overall pick. That leaves the board devoid of elite wide receivers.

If that's the case, the Chiefs personnel team needs a contingency plan. With this draft being so deep in pass-rushing defensive ends and cornerbacks, it makes sense to trade down and select a defensive end or cornerback of similar value. There is not much drop-off in talent between the player the Chiefs would likely pick at 20 and the one they could get at 34 or 35 overall.

Ideally, the Chiefs would then acquire additional second and third or second and fourth round picks from any trades, and select two more players in the first four rounds. That's two extra players they wouldn't have acquired had they stayed with the 20th pick in the first round.

Make sense?

It does if you agree that there is a huge drop-off in talent among wide receivers after Jackson and Holmes are off the board, and very little drop-off at defensive end and cornerback after the big-names at those positions are gone. At that point there is an influx of players who grade-out very similarly at the Chiefs positions of need.

The Chiefs would also avoid paying first-round money, so they can then afford the bonuses and salaries of the two additional players (one of which would hopefully be quarterback Charlie Whitehurst or quarterback Brodie Croyle). This scenario also replaces the fourth round pick the Chiefs gave to the New York Jets for Herm Edwards.

We have to assume the idea has occurred to Peterson, who has a history of trading down in the draft. In 2004, the Peterson-led draft team traded down just six places, sending their first round pick (30th overall) to Detroit for a second (36th overall), fourth (105th), and fifth (in 2005). In 2003, the Chiefs traded down 11 spots from the 16th overall pick to the 27th, where they took running back Larry Johnson. They acquired additional third and sixth round picks and still acquired one of the best running backs in recent history.

As I look back over Peterson's tenure in Kansas City, an argument can be made that his most consistently successful draft achievement is negotiating trade-downs. I don't mean to infer any negative connotation with that statement. I have followed the Chiefs for thirty-seven years and my belief is that Peterson is the best thing that has happened to Kansas City Sports since the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV.

Peterson has a well-deserved reputation in the league as a tough and effective negotiator. So far this decade, the Chiefs dealt their top pick three times and have only used their given first-round pick twice, selecting linebacker Derrick Johnson last year and wide receiver Sylvester Morris in 2000. If history is any judge, the Chiefs should trade down again this year, especially considering their luck with picks from the second through fourth rounds.

If either of the two elite wide receivers are still on the board, I think the Chiefs' best move would be to draft one of them with the 20th overall pick. If not, I say to the Chiefs GM: pick up that phone and do that thing that you do so well.

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