1. Dee Ford, DE Auburn 1. Dee Ford, DE Auburn 1. Dee Ford, DE Auburn

2014 NFL Draft Review: Kansas City Chiefs


Sep 9, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; A Kansas City Chiefs helmet on the field before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Arrowhead Stadium. Atlanta won the game 40-24. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

1. Dee Ford, DE Auburn
3. Phillip Gaines, CB Rice
4. De’Anthony Thomas, RB Oregon
5. Aaron Murray, QB Georgia
6. Zach Fulton, G Tennessee
7. Laurent Duverney-Tardif, OT McGill

The Kansas City Chiefs were one of the most talented teams on paper coming into the draft, so while they did have areas they wanted to address, the team opted to use it an opportunity to bring in talent.  This draft, for me, was a mixed bag.  I loved about half of the picks and I really disliked the other half; the problem is two of the first three picks are stretches for me and I will have to see it work out to believe it.

The Chiefs opted to bring in another pass rusher to bolster their position off of the edge with Dee Ford.  Last year, they went through times where both Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were injured, so they not only went with a cost efficient way to bring in more talent, they also needed some depth at that position.

For me, I never loved Ford on tape much.  He can be a nice quick twitch rusher and he had a terrific week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl where he was virtually unblockable in pass rushing drills.  Ford does not offer much in terms of his overall size and length.  Additionally, he struggles to offer much against the run, which should not be a huge issue at least initially.  There were also some medical concerns found at the combine.  I understand why they went with Ford, but I personally thought DeMarcus Lawrence and Kyle Van  Noy were simply better options if they were set on taking a pass rusher there.

With their second round pick going to San Francisco in the Alex Smith trade, the next pick the Chiefs made was in round three.  This also happened to my favorite pick in Phillip GainesBrandon Flowers is great at one corner spot and they have a tall, long corner in Sean Smith on the other side.  They may like what they have in Marcus Cooper, but after that it gets rough in a hurry.  Chris Owens and DeMarcus Van Dyke are awful and still holding onto roster spots at this point.

Gaines has elite athleticism, good size and he played the corner position as if he was in the NFL.  Many corners will grab in college because the rules allow them to do it until the ball is in the air.  Gaines just played in the opponent’s hip pocket and demonstrated blanket coverage at times.  Now, he needs to get stronger and more physical, but even if he does nothing but play nickel coverage this year, he has the skill set to shut that receiver down and has the tools to become an elite corner in time.  This could prove to be a big time steal down the road.

The next pick was a head scratcher for me, opting to take De’Anthony Thomas out of Oregon.  Yes, he can help out of the backfield as a receiver and do some of the same things that Dexter McCluster did for them.  The difference is McCluster demonstrated incredible toughness at Ole Miss and was substantially bigger.  Thomas may be fast and be able to help as a receiver and on special teams, but it is a huge stretch if anyone expects he can be a player like Darren Sproles.  Some might argue that DAT is a weapon, but especially in round 4, he is more of a toy.

I liked the pick and the fit for Aaron Murray in round 5.  The Chiefs have Chase Daniel behind Alex Smith and Murray is along similar lines.  Both are short but can put a good amount of zip on the ball and throw the ball really well outside the hashes.  With Andy Reid’s track record developing quarterbacks, Murray has the potential to be a long term backup and possibly become a starter.  If he were a few inches taller, Murray is probably a first round pick.  This may mean the end of the Tyler Bray experiment though, much to the chagrin of many Chiefs fans.

The Chiefs finished up the draft with a pair of project offensive linemen.  Zach Fulton is simply enormous as a developmental guard.  He has the size and strength to do the job, but needs a lot of technical work and improvement with his quickness.  Meanwhile, the Canadian born Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has the size and quickness to play tackle, but is arguably less polished than Fulton.  If they can turn either one into a contributor in a few years, it will be a nice success, but their second or third string line in preseason games will be huge.  While they have tended to have had success developing mid round linemen as opposed to late round projects, they have found quality linemen without necessarily having to get them with premium selections.

Certainly, it is expected that there will be some criticism that the Chiefs did not really do much to attack the offense and needing firepower, especially at wide receiver.  I think the Chiefs feel like De’Anthony Thomas is attacking that position, even if he is technically coming in as a former running back.  It remains to be seen if that will be enough, but the Chiefs stayed true to who they are; having one of the strongest, if not the strongest, defense in the league and being able to run the football and get big plays out of Jamaal Charles.

I love the picks of Gaines and Murray for this team, but I am definitely skeptical about the picks of Ford and Thomas.  The good news is with Ford and Thomas, they should be put in positions to contribute early and potentially give the team a boost from their respective spots and in fairness to Ford, he is in a fantastic situation to succeed.  In the grand scheme, I just don’t think this draft put the Chiefs much closer to a Super Bowl than they were last year.