The Chiefs went defense again Sunday when they picked Ohio State cornerback Donald Washington, who started much of the 2008 season opposite first-round pick Malcolm Jenkins. However, the two games Washington missed at the beginning of the season may explain why he dropped to the fourth round.
Washington was suspended due to a violation of unnamed team rules. Rumor has it that the suspension was marijuana related. Head coach Todd Haley said the Chiefs looked into the matter.
"We really feel like we did our homework on Donald," he said. "We have very good relationships with the Ohio State staff from the head coach on down to the position coaches, coordinators, so we did a lot of work with them. We had a close relationship with Donald's agent. We had Donald in here for a full day and a half, spent a lot of time with him. So we feel good about where we're at with Donald, and again we're excited to take his tag off the board."
Washington was picked due to his exceptional athleticism (including a 45-inch vertical jump), and his stock rose considerably after his pre-draft workouts.
"Donald Washington is a another potentially three-down player, four-down player, actually, I should say, because we think he should be a very good special teamer," said Haley. "But he's a guy that has a chance to come in and compete in that nickel or sub position early on and compete at corner."
Without a doubt, Washington was the most emotional Chiefs draftee so far this year. He choked up when discussing his draft selection.
"I can't really explain it, because this is a dream come true," he said. "This is something I have been looking for my whole life. I don't know what to say. I am so excited. This is crazy that I have a chance to play in the NFL."
Haley said Washington could be a good fit in Kansas City's nickel defense.
"He's had inside experience playing inside over the slot, which is easy to talk about, but that takes unique guys," he said. "They have to have the skills and they have to have the intelligence to play in there, because that takes somebody that understands what's going on and he's played it. He's shown that he's a confident player inside over the slot, and has the physical ability to do that, so that's good."
The performance of a young defensive backfield was one of the few bright spots for the Chiefs in 2008. If Washington can match the rookie campaigns of Maurice Leggett, Brandon Carr, and Brandon Flowers, Haley and General Manager Scott Pioli will field a deep secondary.
FIFTH ROUND - COLIN BROWN – OT – MISSOURI
For a college football fan, it's always a thrill to see a player you followed on Saturdays get picked by your favorite NFL team. That was the case for Missouri fans when the Chiefs drafted former Tiger Colin Brown in the fifth round.
As exciting as it was for fans of Mizzou and the Chiefs to watch Brown get picked, it was more exciting for Brown himself, who grew up about an hour northeast of Kansas City in Braymer, MO. Living so close to the heart of Chiefs Kingdom, was Brown a fan growing up?
"Yeah, no doubt," he said. "I've been a lifelong Chiefs fan."
Brown was the sixth Tiger drafted this weekend, as the 2009 draft figures to be possibly the biggest for Mizzou ever. Tight end Chase Coffman, defensive tackle Evander Hood, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, safety William Moore and defensive end Sulak Stryker were also drafted this weekend.
Brown and Maclin were two of six Mizzou players drafted Sunday
Jeff Roberson - AP
Brown started for the Tigers at right tackle the last two seasons, and his 6-foot-7, 335-pound frame lends itself to playing tackle in the pros. However, apparently he's capable of playing anywhere up front.
"I think I could do either (guard or tackle)," said Brown. "I played all five of them in college at some point in time. I think, officially I could play anywhere they needed."
Brown's selection gives the Chiefs some much needed depth along the front line, especially at right tackle. Coming into this weekend, one of the Chiefs' biggest needs was at right tackle, and unless the team is creative in free agency or through a trade, Brown will undoubtedly challenge for the starting spot.
This year is the second in a row that the Chiefs have selected a Mizzou Tiger. Wide receiver Will Franklin was selected in the fourth round last year, and he was cut in a controversial move recently. Did Brown ask Franklin about his time as a Chief?
"I actually talked to him a couple weeks back," he said. "I trained over at Will Shields' facility, so I talked to him once or twice about what he thought about it. He said he loved his time there. You know, really enjoyed everything about it. Had nothing but great things to say."
SIXTH ROUND - QUINTEN LAWRENCE – WR – MCNEESE STATE
The Chiefs selected wide receiver Quinten Lawrence out of McNeese State with their sixth-round pick in the 2009 draft. Jackson caught eight balls for 114 yards last season, but was limited to just four games by an ankle injury. He caught 95 passes for 1,810 yards over his career.
Lawrence has tremendous speed, running a 4.38 40-time at the NFL combine. He also bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times, the same as defensive end Tyson Jackson, KC's first-round pick. Lawrence is expected to contribute in the return game with the Chiefs.