Draft Scenario #2
1) St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
In serious need of a quarterback, the Rams make Bradford their man.
2) Detroit Lions - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
After upgrading their defensive line in free agency, the Lions make the surprising decision to pass on one of the top defensive tackles and focus on protecting last year's #1 pick instead.
3) Tampa Bay Bucs – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
The Bucs are overjoyed to see Suh fall to their spot and waste no time turning in their card.
4) Washington Redskins – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Donovan McNabb has eliminated their need for a quarterback, and the draft's top tackle is off to Detroit. So the Redskins – who reportedly offered safety LaRon Landry to the Eagles as part of the McNabb trade – surprise everyone by taking Berry, who they have as the top remaining player on their board.
The addition of Berry allows them to keep dangling Landry in trade talks, or to move him back to the strong safety spot where he began his career.
5) Kansas City Chiefs - ?
In this scenario, the top two available players would be Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy and Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen. From there, we'd get into the second-tier of players under consideration, most of whom were discussed in the first edition.
If the draft actually shook out like this, having both McCoy and Clausen available would probably give the Chiefs a pretty good shot at trading back. As always, though, we're going to assume the Chiefs are stuck at #5 and have to pick someone at that spot.
Let's briefly touch once more on Clausen and the quarterback issue. As I went over last time, Matt Cassel has done nothing at this point to suggest that he'll be the team's long-term answer. Likewise, though, the Chiefs have done nothing to suggest that they'll hedge their bet on him.
When discussing this topic, it's important to keep in mind that, for all intents and purposes, we can treat Cassel like he's playing on the final year of his contract. Because unless Clark Hunt feels like ponying up a $7.5 million roster bonus to someone who hasn't come close to earning it, Cassel's status beyond 2010 is far from certain.
If the Chiefs' depth chart at quarterback remains the same and Cassel turns in another sub-par season, it would be nothing short of a disaster. If he gets cut to avoid payment on the roster bonus, the entire offense would have to start over at square one with a new quarterback.
First, though, the team would actually have to find a quarterback -- and how confident would you be in Pioli's ability to find one after he whiffed so badly on Cassel?
On the other hand, imagine if Cassel struggles and – rather than starting over from scratch – the team has a backup plan. A quarterback with first-round, top-ten talent who knows the system like the back of his hand, has years of familiarity with the offensive coordinator, and has already been practicing with the team while he sat for a year to get his bearings. Not a bad "Plan B", is it?
Ultimately, I think it boils down to this: which problem would you rather be faced with? Wasting millions of dollars and a high-second round pick on a quarterback, and having nothing to show for it just two years later? Or having a high-priced first-round QB and a starter who showed significant improvement, and having to decide which one of them you're going to trade?
I'd take the second problem every day of the week. But to this point, it seems like the Chiefs prefer the first option. In fact, they like it so much they appear to be careening right towards it -- while sitting behind the wheel of an out-of-control Toyota without wearing their seatbelts.
So as we ask "What Would Pioli Do?", the answer doesn't seem to involve taking a quarterback. Thus, we take Clausen off the list.
Now the focus shifts to McCoy. While Suh had the better college career, we shouldn't ignore that there are analysts who feel McCoy is the better prospect. In fact, there are analysts who actually think McCoy is the best player in the draft.
There's been a fair amount of talk over the last few months about the possibility of McCoy or Suh playing nose tackle in a 3-4, with lots of comparisons to Dallas' Jay Ratliff getting thrown around.
But in a specific discussion about the Chiefs, we can dismiss all that talk. The team wouldn't draft either tackle to play the nose. They don't run the same style of 3-4 that Dallas does.
Romeo Crennel's defenses in New England and Cleveland ran the two-gap 3-4, where each lineman is responsible for the gaps on either side of him. The nose tackles were large space-eaters like Vince Wilfork, Shaun Rogers, and Ted Washington.
On the other hand, Dallas uses a one-gap system. In that defense, they can use a smaller tackle like Ratliff, because his job isn't to take up blockers – it's to penetrate upfield. They are two completely different styles that require two completely different types of players.
And don't think for a second that the Chiefs would change their scheme to accommodate a new draft pick. This is the same crew that came to Kansas City and immediately switched to a defense that negated the talents of Glenn Dorsey, their top blue-chip prospect.
Looking specifically at McCoy, his height and weight are nearly identical to Tyson Jackson's. We don't talk about Jackson as a potential answer at nose tackle and there would be no reason to talk about McCoy in that regard either. If he came to Kansas City, he'd be lining up at defensive end.
For that reason, it's awfully easy to dismiss the idea of the team having a serious interest in McCoy. They're already paying top-five money to both Jackson and Dorsey, after all, and only two defensive ends can start. Would they really draft another end and force two highly paid draft picks to rotate with each other? It seems pretty unlikely.
After considering what we know about Pioli, though, I've come to think that it might actually be possible.
I know there's talk that McCoy might not transition well into a 3-4, but personally, I don't get that sense at all. McCoy lined up on the edge at times while at Oklahoma, perhaps most notably against Florida in the 2008 national championship game, and he looked like a guy more than capable of holding his own at the DE position.
We definitely know Pioli likes that area of the roster – between the Patriots and Chiefs, he's been involved in drafting a first-round defensive lineman in four of the last nine years. We also know first-hand that he values linemen enough to reach on them. If he's willing to reach, can we really expect him to pass if one of the top linemen in the draft falls right into his lap?
I think a player like McCoy dropping to the Chiefs might be too much for Pioli to resist. Not only would he be drafting someone at his favorite position, McCoy would carry the extra value of a top-ranked player falling a bit farther than people expected.
But the key to this entire scenario is Dorsey. We all know that playing defensive end in a 3-4 isn't his ideal position. If the Chiefs have had any discussions this offseason about trading Dorsey, then they probably have a pretty good idea of what the market for him is.
If they know they can send Dorsey somewhere and get a good pick in return, that might be the catalyst to pulling the trigger on McCoy.
So let's go ahead and make up a potential trade. The Detroit Lions have often been discussed as a potential trade partner for Dorsey due to the connection both sides have with Gunther Cunningham. Gunther is said to be a big fan of Dorsey, though you wouldn't know it by how badly Gun misused him as a rookie.
Don't forget, in our scenario here, the Lions drafted Okung with the #2 pick. That means they passed on both Suh and McCoy, so being able to land Okung and still get a defensive tackle might be pretty appealing to them.
If the Chiefs could trade Dorsey to Detroit for the second pick of the second round, that might be awfully hard to turn down. But let's make it tougher – what if Detroit only offered their pick at the top of the third round? Would it still be worth it?
Again, it all goes back to what kind of trade discussions the Chiefs have had. They should have some idea of Dorsey's trade value by now, be it with Detroit or any other team. If the return isn't there, then this entire scenario goes out the window, McCoy is taken off the table, and the draft discussion shifts towards the players we discussed last time.
Just to be clear, I'm not endorsing the idea of trading Dorsey. I think it would be a mistake. But if the team knows they can get a good pick for him, I just don't think Pioli could resist if a player like McCoy was available.
5) Kansas City Chiefs – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Tuesday we'll be back before the draft with one final scenario.
What Would Pioli Do? – V2
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