Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

04 Mar 2013

Chiefs Give Themselves Options for Top Pick with Moves

A big day for Kansas City: They franchised left tackle Branden Albert and re-signed both prodigal son/wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and punter Dustin Colquitt. Bowe was 56th in DVOA among wide receivers this year, but it's just another in a long line of years where Bowe has advanced stats that look unimpressive compared to other No. 1 receivers but far surpass the rest of his Kansas City teammates. Colquitt led the NFL in our gross punting value metric this season. Albert may be moving over to right tackle if the Chiefs, as many expect, take Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel with the first overall pick.

Edit: Pro Football Talk is now reporting that Eric Winston will be released. This would seem to confirm that Joeckel (or Eric Fisher) is still a very credible option at No. 1 overall.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 04 Mar 2013

33 comments, Last at 08 Mar 2013, 6:33pm by Sifter


by theslothook :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 7:21pm

With this move, the chiefs really ought to trade down because non of the top picks fit the chiefs needs directly.

Not sure its wise to draft a tackle first overall when you already have a pretty good left tackle on your roster(even if he is to be moved over to right tackle).

Star has health problems

Floyd seems like a 4-3 guy

Chiefs are set at pass rush with hali and houston

Milliner would feel like a reach here.

Not sure what they end up doing, probably erring on risk aversion and going for joeckel but that would be a mistake imo.

by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 8:28pm

Chiefs already have Eric Winston at RT. If they were to take Joeckel, he could play LG for a year and then move to LT if Albert leaves in free agency next offseason. Not ideal, but might make more sense than paying Albert $9.83 M to play guard for one year (after he's said that he won't play guard) and then leave.

by Guido Merkens :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 9:23pm

But who would want to trade up? There is no "must-have" guy at the top of this draft. And at every position where it seems like there might be a franchise player (LT, pass rusher) there are at least two guys, which reduces the extent to which any one guy is a must-have.

by theslothook :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 9:36pm

That's a really good point. If they absolutely can't trade out, I think you go off best available, which might be floyd and just draft him. If this were really on need, they would go with milliner.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 5:10pm

It's also worth remembering that missing with the #1 pick isn't the backbreaker it used to be. #1 is still a place where you'd like to get a franchise savior, but if it's a down year and the best available player is a solid-but-unspectacular offensive lineman, it's not going to kill the team.

by Dragon Pie (not verified) :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 3:08am

If it's REALLY like that, I think they should be willing to just seriously lose on a trade getting, say, a third rounder in order to move back five spots. I'm sure somebody is interested enough in somebody at the top of the draft to give them something far below market value in a typical year.

by CBPodge :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 5:31am

I agree with you. But I do think that Joeckel might be enough better than Fisher or Lane Johnson for a team to think abotu trading up. Not sure who'd do it though? Cards, Chargers if they think all three OTs will be gone before them, maybe Lions if the price is right?

by JonFrum :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 8:44pm

I can't imagine tagging a left tackle and then drafting one with the #1 pick in the same season.

by Dean :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 9:11am

I can. It's Andy Reid.

by Rich A (not verified) :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 10:05pm

Could the Chiefs just not use the first pick and then pick at whatever spot they want?

I know it gives a right to pick first but there's a clock for a reason right.

And if the Chiefs do this and then pick say 5th, what salary slot does each of those first 5 players get, their supposed slot or their actual?

by Osuali (not verified) :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 10:47pm

Happened to the Vikings 10 yrs. ago at #7, got skipped to 10. Never will happen by choice, just the PR hit Vikings took was big.

by Rich A (not verified) :: Thu, 03/07/2013 - 7:26pm

I'm a Patriots fan and I'm pretty sure Belichick does whatever he wants when it comes to how he runs the team and doesn't report back to the fans. He's really intentional about shaping the messages that do come out, which is part of the kool-aid that is the Patriots. That's where the whole "in Bill we trust" comes from. He wins and that covers other decisions. He's really the only coach given the leeway to do things like 4th&2 or intentional safety's when trailing.

by Jerry :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 4:24am

As much fun as fans seem to have speculating about this kind of move every year, I think the league would take a dim view of a team passing deliberately. Not only would it prolong the draft, but it would become the kind of circus the NFL doesn't want. All it would take is the commissioner declaring the pick forfeited to make sure it never happened again.

by Independent George :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 10:41am

Then why don't they do that now? Or, if not forfeited, push them back until after the rest of the round has concluded - so that instead of picking at #1, you you get to pick at #32 & 33. As it is, dropping back one space is hardly any penalty at all. As you said - every year, we always talk about intentionally dropping a few slots. I have to assume it's established that way intentionally.

by Jerry :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 9:25pm

Right now, the rare occasions where teams have run out of time have been (or at least seemed to be) legitimate cases of deliberating too long rather than premeditated attempts to slide back, so losing one position is adequate punishment. (Most of the draft rules probably date back to the days when owners drafted from Street & Smith's and communications weren't necessarily instantaneous.) You can imagine the outcry if a couple seconds cost a team its high pick now.

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 11:12am

A team skipping its pick actually speeds up the draft as the next team(s) try to get in a pick as quick as they can lest the team that didn't get its pick in on time want the same player. When a team uses its entire time, in essense there are now two teams on the clock until the team with the earlier draft slot selects its pick.

by RickD :: Wed, 03/06/2013 - 3:02pm

Exactly. It's not just the next team that gets into a race mode. Any team after that that can pick and knows exactly who they want has the incentive to move quickly to make sure the Vikings don't take the guy they want.

Um, I mean "whatever team missed the deadline." Might not be the Vikings.


by Dice :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 11:37pm

But with the new contracts, picking #1 overall is no longer a horrible thing. Its much more valuable, as contracts are more manageable, and more easily traded. Even in a year like this, its not a burden. Their pick might not be 'worth' a #1 overall from 2 or 3 seasons ago, but now a mediocre or bad pick won't cripple the team with his contract.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 5:14pm

I should have read through the entire comments before posting essentially the same thought you had already posted.

by bubqr :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 12:52am

Everyone wants to trade down this year. Everyone agrees that there s not a huge gap between picking 1st and 10/15. Compare that to last year...

The only hope for Chiefs is someone falls in love with Floyd or Geno and wants to jump in front of the Raiders/Jaguars/Eagles. But I wouldn't put that probability as very high, even though I'm a lot more optimistic regarding Geno's prospects than most people

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 11:34am

It's almost impossible to tell what QBs are going to do well outside of the tiny number of superstars that come along maybe once a decade or so. You can go sight unseen and say "he probably isn't going to be a great pro" and be correct most of the time. But some of the concerns over Smith seem a bit overblown to me, given we're talking about the same league where Blaine Gabbert ended up a top 10 pick. (And while the Jags may have reached at #10, somebody was going to take Gabbert fairly high in that draft because consensus seemed to be he was worth a shot.) At least Smith was able to play really well in college, unlike Gabbert. I don't know about trading up, but I'll be surprised if he doesn't go quickly.

by JayBee (not verified) :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 2:35am

They're gearing up for two scenarios in my opinion. Either trade out because someone falls in love with Geno Smith/Joeckel/Barkley(sigh) or take Geno themselves and let him groom under the tutelage of Reid.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 12:36pm

Remember that, until Albert signs it, The Chiefs can pull that franchise tender ala the Seahawks and Hill.

Also the deal for Smith is not official until March 12. They could back out of that. Though that would royally piss off the Niners FO.

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 3:50pm

I hope the Chiefs pull out of the deal. Not because I care either way. I just want to see Harbaugh's reaction. (Although I think if SF is getting the KC #2 pick, I think the Chiefs are overpaying.)

by bernie (not verified) :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 7:47pm

I think the 9ers are stupid to let Smith go. With Kaepernick's playing style, there's a good chance he misses a few games per year with injury. A guy of Smiths caliber as a backup would be a very nice thing to have, especially since Smith and Kaepernick combined have a reaosnably low cap number.

by theslothook :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 8:32pm

Except keeping Smith on the roster is not a long run solution, given the fact that eventually, you'll have to extend both Kap and Smith and that would make no sense from a cap standpoint. Plus, I don't think you should ever go into a season expecting your starter to be hurt.

by AB (not verified) :: Wed, 03/06/2013 - 8:31am

There's an interesting argument to be had there. We know starters do get hurt, so prima facie it makes sense to plan for that (as you would at any other position).

But is the case that the gap between a good starting QB and the best available backups is so big that there is really no point investing money in one of the better backups in the league. I.e. accept that if your starter misses significant time, you will not make the playoffs (unless your lower-round project does a Brady or Cassell), and instead invest the money elsewhere?

I don't know the answer to that question. But I think it might differ where you have a "running" starter like Kaepernick, Wilson or Vick who you might reasonably expect to miss one or two games with bruised ribs or the like. As against a pocket passer who is perhaps more likely either to play 16 games, or be out for the season.

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 03/06/2013 - 10:05am

On the other hand, you should plan for your starter to get hurt every year.

by Dean :: Wed, 03/06/2013 - 1:06pm

In a "typical" year, 3/4 of opening day starters will not start all 16 games.

by theslothook :: Wed, 03/06/2013 - 3:02pm

Is that true for Qbs though? It could be, but I actually don't know.

Going off last year, these were the teams that actually started new qbs because their incumbents got hurt:

1) Eagles
2) Redskins
3) Bears
4) 49ers
5) Cardinals
6) Chiefs
7) Raiders
8) Steelers
9) Titans
10) Jaguars

I think that was it. The dolphins benched Matt Moore and I think Ponder made it all 16 games but missed the playoff game.

by Dean :: Wed, 03/06/2013 - 4:49pm

The 3/4 figure includes QBs who don't start all 16 game regardless of reason.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 03/07/2013 - 10:42pm

Nevertheless, Alex Smith is way too expensive to retain as a backup, even if Kaepernick might miss a couple of games. There are plenty of Lions fans who think Shaun Hill costs too much as a backup at around $2.5 million.

by Sifter :: Fri, 03/08/2013 - 6:33pm

Now Eric Winston is cut and Tyson Jackson has been restructed, confirming the premise of this Extra Point. Chiefs can certainly easily take the OT at #1 and play him at RT - seems the most likely at this point. Or they could take the best D-lineman available since they have less money sunk into that position now. eg. If Star's health works out he could still be #1. He could play both DE or NT in the 3-4, and that would give the Chiefs a nice bonus backup plan if Dontari Poe doesn't figure it out at NT.