Chiefs Grab Smith In 5th

Prior to the start of this weekend's NFL Draft the Chiefs were committed to add another running back. With Larry Johnson headed for unrestricted free agency after the 2007 season, the organization felt they needed to try and find a diamond in the rough.

They may have done that when they selected Louisville's Kolby Smith in the fifth round. Smith found plenty of opportunities with the Cardinals last year, showing he can carry the load.

It came at the expense of the team's starter, Michael Bush, who ironically was taken by the Oakland Raiders at the top of the fourth round on Sunday.

Smith brings a hard-charging style that is perfectly suited for the Chiefs running game. He is outstanding at running between the tackles and has a nose for the end zone. In four seasons in a limited role, Smith rushed for 1,781 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on the ground. He added 54 catches and two receiving touchdowns.

He's a little small for the position, but he has experience playing fullback from his first two seasons at Louisville. He'll have to put on at least 20 pounds to do that in the NFL. Right now the Chiefs are committed to the tandem of Kris Wilson and Boomer Grigsby.

Smith believes if the Chiefs give him a chance, he has the goods to deliver in whatever role they want him to play.

"First and foremost I need to show them that I am an unselfish player and to go out there and just do all that they ask of me," said Kolby. "Being drafted is a great honor. Now I have to show them that I have the courage and will to do anything that they ask of me, whether it is play on special teams or at running back."

Head coach Herm Edwards said the drafting of Smith gives the offense a new wrinkle.

"You can put him in as a true tailback with Larry Johnson and Michael Bennett," said Edwards. "He's very good coming out of the backfield and very good in pass protection. He's someone who if we line up three wide receivers, we can still run the ball. He's a kid who has played some fullback and if you add a powerful receiver in [Dwayne Bowe] who can also block, that's a big problem for defenses. Now you're going into a nickel package where you are appearing you want to the throw but you can run the ball down hill or anywhere you want to."

The Chiefs now have a player with the versatility to be a jack-of-all trades, similar to Todd McNair in the early 90's. That means a change in offensive philosophies, and if Smith develops we could see a true two-back set that gives the Chiefs another offensive option, rather than a single-back set, featuring only Johnson, on third downs.

PRE-DRAFT EVALUATIONS
Positives - Well built, athletic ball carrier with solid upside. Runs with good lean, follows blocks and finds the lanes. Quick through the hole, displays the speed and agility to cut the corner or makes defenders miss yardage off initial contact and falls forward when tackled. Solid receiver who nicely adjusts to the errant throw running full speed. Picks up blocking assignments and jolts in pass protection.

Negatives - Does not run with top balance instincts. Has never stood out in any single aspect of his game.

Analysis - Possessing outstanding size/speed numbers, Smith is an average football player who has yet to constantly translate his athletic skills onto the field. Must consistently play at a high level to have any chance of making at the next level.

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