Ed. Note: Every evening from now until July 26 – the day every Chiefs player is expected to report for training camp – we will countdown and discuss some of the more important questions for the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs.
John Dorsey knows how to draft.
Oh, and in 2005 the he picked some guy name Aaron Rodgers. Whoever that is.
Dorsey lives and breaths the NFL draft and it shows with his history of selecting excellent talents year after year. The Chiefs should be in good hands long-term with Dorsey running the draft operation.
Still, this doesn’t change the fact that every player selected by Dorsey in April’s draft are just as likely to be busts as they are booms in this stage of the game. But it isn’t going to stop us – or at least me – from setting expectations on them for the 2013 season. Because if the Chiefs are going to make the leap from worst-to-first then they are going to need a good level of production from this rookie class.
Eric Fisher comes in with the burden of being the number one overall draft pick, which means not only are expectations going to be exceptionally high on him this season but they are going to be high for the rest of his career. Not too long after he was drafted we evaluated what other highly drafted offensive tackles did in their careers. In short, the results where that Fisher has to become a multi-Pro-Bowl player in order to avoid any sort of negative label as a draft pick.
This doesn’t mean Fisher needs to be a Pro-Bowler right out of the gate, but he does need to be flirting with it. Last season the Chiefs had Eric Winston manning the right end of the offensive line and, while he was very good in the run game, he was a disaster in the passing game. His inability to prevent pressure on the quarterback – he allowed six sacks last season to lead the team – made an already terrible quarterback situation even worse.
What the Chiefs need from Fisher is strong pass blocking while maintaining something close to what Winston offered in the run game. Starting his career at right tackle should help him come close to reaching those goals as he will not be facing the opponents best pass rusher week after week. To put it another way, he won’t be lining up against Von Miller once Denver comes to town.
KC will also be using a lot multiple tight end sets, which should help Fisher progress more easily into the NFL. With the added bodies on the line against the run, it should help Fisher focus on fewer defenders and give him a little higher margin for error.
Ultimately, what Kansas City needs is for him to be strong enough in the passing game so that the tight ends lined up next to him don’t always have to stay in to block. The more receivers the Chiefs can flood the secondary with, the better it will be for the Chiefs offense. KC won’t be able to do that as much, or ever, if Fisher cannot hold his own against elite NFL pass rushes.
Travis Kelce is the biggest wild card on the offensive side of the ball if not the whole team for the Chiefs.
At Cincinnati Kelce was known for both his ability to be a tenacious blocker in the run game and a playmaker in the passing game. Spend some time on YouTube and you’ll walk away impressed by his energy level, hands, and intensity. He’s not an elite athlete in the way Jimmy Graham is but he has enough athleticism along will great size to make big plays in the passing game.
Kansas City did little to upgrade their receivers in the offseason, and their two best options after Dwayne Bowe – Jonathan Baldwin and Donnie Avery – each have massive red flags. If the Chiefs are going to find a third weapon to go with Bowe and Jamaal Charles it is going to have to come out of the tight end group. Kelce can be that guy.
While he can be the weapon the Chiefs need on offense, to expect it from him in his rookie season isn’t fair. But the Chiefs do need him to have something of an advanced start to his career. Given Kelce was the Chiefs second overall pick and he was drafted with what is normally considered to be a second round pick, the expectations of him should be that of a second round pick.
Kelce’s game is often compared to Rob Gronkowski because of their similar size, athletic ability, and ability to both block and catch the ball. In Gronk’s rookie year he averaged 2.6 catches and 34.1 yards per game to finish the year with 42 catches and 546 yards. But his biggest impact, aside from being a strong blocker, was being valuable weapon in the redzone. While teams ganged up on Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the redzone, Gronkowski became a reliable second level option in the redzone by catching 10 touchdowns. Of Gronk’s 10 touchdowns, seven came within 10 yards of the goal-line and nine came in the redzone.
Kelce needs to be that redzone threat to go with Bowe, Charles, and Tony Moeaki while being a reliable blocker for the Chiefs this season.
Probably the most controversial pick of the Chiefs’ draft this spring, Knile Davis is expected to fill the role of back-up to Jamaal Charles this season. Baring an injury or a continuation of his fumbling problems he should end up being that guy.
The tools are massive. He’s 227 pounds of pure muscle, benching 225 pounds 31 times at the NFL combine. He is also an incredibly fast north-south runner who was clocked at 4.37 in 40-yard dash also at the combine. In his last full season in 2010, he rushed 204 times for 1,322 yards (6.5 ypc) and 13 touchdowns in the SEC.
What the Chiefs need is 100 good carries out of him. This means protecting the ball, picking up first downs on short-yardage plays, and making a big run or two. Saving Charles from those touches while also not being a tremendous drop off in production would both benefit the Chiefs and fulfill the role he was drafted to fill.
Nico Johnson is a physical beast against the run game, and that should be the expectation for him this season.
There is a lot of development that needs to happen if he is going to be a three-down linebacker but that is not really something the Chiefs need him to be now. Johnson’s strength is to disrupt the run game, and if he can do that while opening up lanes for Derrick Johnson in the middle of the field then he will have fulfilled his role beautifully.
Depth at safety has been an issue for the Chiefs and Commings is expected to be the depth the Chiefs need.
Simply: The Chiefs need him to not be Sabby Piscitelli.
More should be expected of him in the future, however.
ERIC KUSH, BRADEN WILSON, MIKE CATAPANO
Expecting much from sixth and seventh rounders would be silly. Anything they provide in the realm of production should be considered the bonus. There is a chance Wilson could land the starting fullback job – a role he’d fill well – and that Catapano could be a pass rushing specialist late in the season. But, again, expecting those things would not be wise.
I will say if Kush ends up playing as either a guard or center then things have gone terribly wrong.