Kansas City Chiefs Draft Grades

Jon Baldwin Has All the Talent in the World, but why was he so inconsistent and was he the right pick for the Chiefs in the first round? Picture source: Ogdraft.com

The Chiefs front office has had some impressive drafts the past few years and the men in charge have done a nice job of building a solid roster, but it is not without holes. Did this draft continue the trend of improving the roster or was it a big flop?

1st round pick: Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

Jon Baldwin is a massive wide receiver with great size hands and natural ability. The problem with Jon Baldwin is that he lacks the production of a first round wide receiver, and he needs refinement in his route running. Jon Baldwin never had 60 catches or more than 8 touchdowns in any one season. With how good that Panthers running game has been, and how big Baldwin is, one might assume he’d be able to rack up the TD numbers in the red-zone but that’s not the case.  In the end though teams had to decide whether or not Baldwin’s lack of production was more to do with the offensive system and Quarterback play of the Panthers or something more.

Philosophy: A

The Chiefs desperately needed another wide receiver to take pressure off of Dwayne Bowe. On top of that, I’m never against a team trading down and still getting the player they want.  Wide Receivers also offer good positional value as many of the top wide receivers in the league are first or second round picks.

Player Value:


I think I’m a bit of a tough grader and to me a “C” is average value. Was Baldwin’s value exceptional? No, he’s not great value at 26, but he’s not bad value. This is better than average value because the Chiefs were able to trade down and then grab Baldwin. A pretty solid pick, and he was not going to last until their second round pick, but this feels to me like much more of a need pick than a Best player available pick. I know Baldwin has good upside, but I’m worried about this pick a bit.

2nd round pick: Rodney Hudson, C, Florida State University

Hudson is a player I mocked to the Chiefs in arrowheadaddicts Ultimate Chiefs Mock Draft. I was dissapointed with how little love the pick got. Hudson plays a position of big need for the Chiefs and is good value in the middle of the second round. Hudson is not the largest center in the world (and that’s his biggest knock…not big enough/not strong enough to handle big N.F.L. defensive tackles/nose tackles), but he was a very good player at Florida State University.

Philosophy: A

I’m not one of those guys who thinks it’s dumb to take running backs early in the draft, I am however, hesitant to take interior offensive linemen in the first round of the draft unless they have a realistic chance of playing tackle. However, in the second it makes a lot of sense to take an interior offensive linemen. A good interior offensive linemen can play 10-15 years in the league and not at a first round price.

Player Value


Hudson was a fringe first round player (on some boards, not mine), but good value in the latter part of the second round and he also fills a need. I think the pick I would have consider making there is grabbing Mikel LeShoure.

Round 3: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia

Houston was a player that was mocked often to the latter part of the first round and has high as 2oth overall to the Buccaneers in many mock drafts and consider a lock for the second round, but seemingly because of some “extra curricular activity” Houston feel all the way to the third round.



Grabbing a pass rusher to play opposite of Hali and to replace Vrabel was a necessity. It didnt’ have to be in the draft, but it did have to be done during the off-season.

Player Value:


Great, great value. This is not a reflection, or indication of anything, but there is nothing I couldn’t care about less than a college kid smoking marijuana. That doesn’t really mean anything. Sure it’s not ideal, but I think that will have very little effect on anyone’s (not named Ricky Williams) career. What a great pick. How many players were true better values here? Martez Wilson? Few, if any players would have been a better pick here.

Round 3 pick: Allen Bailey, DL, The U

Bailey is more of a physical specimen than he is a great football player. But on the cool side, he grew up in a very small town “In the bayou” and eats crazy animals in his hometown. Bailey was mocked often into the second round.



I really agree with the thought process of what the Chiefs were doing. They were getting good values at positions of needs. Can’t argue much with that.

Player Value


The Second round would have been a reach to me, but the end of the third round is plus value for a guy who has Bailey’s upside, and a guy who plays in the trenches.  Plus value. Good pick.

Round 4 pick: Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado

Brown was overshadowed by the uber talented Jimmy Smith at Colorado, but is a legitimate quality N.F.L. prospect.

I don’t do philosophy after the third round. Teams should just pick players they think can make and stick on an N.F.L. roster because the majority of 4th and later round picks won’t be on rosters in a few years.

Player Value: I always like taking talented cornerbacks in the draft. You can’t have too many good cornerbacks, but Brown wasn’t really high on my board and I thought there was much better value. I know the Chiefs think Thomas Jones can still play, but they had a good opportunity to grab a Thomas Jones clone in Delonte Carter out of The ‘Cuse. Or Tandon Doss who was a good 2nd round WR prospect (the Chiefs don’t have a ton at Wide receiver and could have used more than just Baldwin). I also preferred Davon House to Brown by a wide margin.

C- (Below average value)

Round 5 pick Ricky Stanai, QB, Iowa

Stanzi was one of the top 8 quarterbacks in the draft, and a player everyone thought would go as high as the third round. Stanzi falls just short of the 26/27/60 rule (26 minimum on the wonderlic, 27 starts, and 60 percent completion rate) by a few passes in his first year.

Player value: A-

Quarterbacks are always over-drafted, but in the Chiefs case they actually got very good value with this pick.

Round 5 pick: Gabe Miller, OLB, Oregon State

I didn’t know Oregon State had any defensive players that could make it into the N.F.L. (lame joke).

Player Value D

There was about literally 40 players I would have chosen over Miller there. I’ve harped on this a few times, but there were good running backs available at this point, and many other good players. I don’t think Miller would have been drafted by anyone else in the 5th round. Bad value imho.

Round 6 pick: Jerrell Powe, NT, Ole Miss

Powe was cool enough to take time out of his schedule to interview with NFLmocks so this pick gets an A+.

Seriously though this picks Grade is an A-, and not just because he interviewed with us, but because it was exceptional value. I thought he could go as high as the second round early in the process and he plays a position of need for the Chiefs. He’ll eat up some space and is a natural fit as Nose Tackle, which is better than what the Chiefs have right now (not saying Ron Edwards is bad, but is he a natural nose tackle? Probably not). Powe could one day mature into a starter.

Round 7 pick: Shane  Bannon Fullback/H-back Yale

Grade C

Bannon is a versatile player who played a bunch of different positions for Yale last year. He has very good size for a full back at 6’2 265, but he doesn’t have good measurables (4.85 40 yard dash and only 14 reps on the bench press). I also think there were much better players available, but it’s a  fine choice in round 7. (Who gets worked up about 7th round picks?)


This Draft didn’t get as much love from analyst as other drafts, but I thought it was a pretty solid draft. I really was uninspired and unimpressed with the Chargers draft so the Chiefs gained ground on them in my opinion. There were some very good picks in this draft like Justin Houston and Jerrell Power. There were also some I didn’t love like Gabe Miller and Jalil Brown. What the Chiefs were able to do impressively is fill needs while getting  pretty good value which is always nice. I’m more about value than I am about needs. Like I say often leading up to the draft and whenever I talk about the draft, teams don’t really know what their needs will be by the end of the season. There are too many injuries in the N.F.L. and free agency changes rosters a lot each year. Players, especially after the first two rounds, don’t usually contribute anything major until a few years down the road…who knows what the needs will be then? Hard to predict. That’s why when I grade drafts I focus on the value first, and will vary the grade based on how well a team address percieved needs.

Chiefs Overall Draft Grade B+. I do weigh the first two picks more than the rest and I didn’t love the first two picks. I thought they were solid picks, but unspectacular value, not that there is anything wrong with that. The Chiefs had a much better than average draft and had a good approach, I just preferred different a few different players. All in all, good job Chiefs.

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Tags: Chiefs Draft Chiefs Draft Grade Jon Baldwin Kansas City Chiefs

  • Sayre Bedinger

    I think there is definitely something wrong with smoking marijuana. First of all, it’s illegal. Second of all, if you are caught doing it in the NFL, you will be suspended. It’s not like he committed armed robbery or anything, but it’s definitely something to monitor. We had a guy like Percy Harvin for instance using marijuana because his migraines were so bad that he couldn’t keep his eyes open because of the pain. Houston is a fantastic pass rusher, as I saw on numerous game replays, but is he going to be ‘that guy’ who gets suspended when the team needs him the most?

    That’s playing devil’s advocate I guess.

    • dane

      also illegal to drink and drive and players get suspended for and there have been many to put their use on the shelf till the end of their career. having weed in his system? big deal. its illegal, oh blah. we all know thats so lame

      the kid will learn that he can smoke all the pot he wants at the end of his career. Period.

      • http://NFLmocks.com Jesse Bartolis

        Dane, I agree. Moral/ethical personal believes aside, while it’s not ideal if a player smokes pot, it ruins very, very few careers and usually has no impact on a players N.F.L. career.

        • Devin

          First off, I am a Chiefs fan and was excited to see the level of talent we landed in the 3rd round.

          If it were a random test for marijuana I’d be with you all – not a big deal as long as it doesn’t become a distraction.

          But this positive test came AT THE COMBINE. He knew it was coming, there were no surprises, and he still smokes right before. I’m less concerned about the physical repercussions of of the drug and more about what this says about his lack of awareness.

          C’mon man.

          • http://NFLmocks.com Jesse Bartolis

            I can see that point, but a lot of guys have done that before, and the Chiefs got a first round talent in the third round, which makes it barely a risk at all. Seriously, most third round picks aren’t expected to be saviors or dominant players, but Houston has the chance to be. Great pick at that point in the draft.

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  • Double D


    A fair review. Couple of follow up questions for you. Where did special teams rate on your scale of team needs and how do you see these draft picks, particulary some of the later round selections, fitting in that department?

    • http://NFLmocks.com Jesse Bartolis

      that’s a good question Double D. I think late round picks are often used to fill special team roles and I think that’s not a bad direction to take. I don’t rate special teams, (other than return man,K/P), high on the list of team needs, except for in a very few cases like the New York Giants and/or San Diego Chargers. Two very talented teams who special teams were so atrocious that it cost them playoff spots. The Giants couldn’t cover kicks, punts, block kick, return kicks, or return punts last year, but they have enough talent throughout their roster that fixing special teams could make a real difference on their season.

      My philosophy is that after the 4th round teams should take players who do one of three things:

      1) Fill a niche (like special teams)
      2) Have Immense upside (fantastic measurables, or very, very raw players)
      3) Were Extremely productive in college

      The majority of late round picks won’t make it very long in the N.F.L. so grabbing special teams players is not oa bad move, but I also thiink that special teams are the easiest roles to fill. A lot of guys can be good hustlers and special teams players.

      The Chiefs didn’t seem to attack special teams though in this draft. Maybe they were thinking Miller would be a good special teams players, but the other guys: Stanzi, Powe, Bannon all seem to be reserve guys or players the Chiefs think can start in the future.

      Just my take.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • Double D

    Thanks. I guess I part ways with you a little bit on the importance of special teams. I say that for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, field position is king in the NFL and special teams is the primary means by which one wins that battle. Secondly, special teams provides a meaningful role for players that you’re wanting to incubate.

    The Chiefs have, for the most part, played poor special teams for several years now and last season was no exception. Football Outsiders ranked them 24th overall last season but also gave them a weighted ranking of 30th by the end of the season. While they started off strong in the first few games last season, Chiefs special teams progressively tanked as the season wore on.

    For the reasons just mentioned, I have to say that I regarded improving the Chiefs’ special teams as a very high priority going into this draft. I am also fairly confident that Scott Pioli felt that way too and to that end, I think he did a pretty good job at addressing that need.

    I agree that Stanzi, Powe, and Hudson (other than as a blocker on punts and field goals maybe) are probably not special teams material but I do think that several of the players selected were selected because Pioli felt, in part, that they could make a positive difference on special teams. I’ll list them off and how they fit.

    Jonathon Baldwin. Yes, I do mean our #1 pick. At 6’5″, with a 42″ vertical, a guy who can get his fingertips 12′ in the air is somebody who gives you a decent shot at blocking low trajectory punts and just about any field goal attempt coming from more than 40 yards out.

    Justin Houston – edge speed means he is a threat to block punts/field goals. Raw speed with LB tackling skills means he can get down field in a hurry and wrap up.

    Allen Bailey & Gabe Miller – see Justin Houston. Additionally, Bailey posted the 3rd highest vertical leap, 36.5″, of any DL at the Combine. Among other things, that makes him another potential threat to block punts and long field goals.

    Jalil Brown – One of the highest rated special teams players in Bufs history, particularly in the tackling department. Nuff said.

    Shane Bannon – the Chiefs have not possessed a true thumper since T Rich & T Rich, if you’ll recall, was a total bad ass on special teams.

    Bottom line, in addition to addressing several high needs on offense and defense, plus adding depth/variety at several key positions, I also feel that Pioli made a pretty nice dent in improving the Chiefs special teams need through this draft.

    • http://NFLmocks.com Jesse Bartolis

      I don’t mean it to sound like I don’t think special teams are important, They are very important.

      But I just don’t think teams should use draft picks for special teams player that are not Kicker, Punter, Return specialists.

      I think guys who can tackle on special teams aren’t nearly as valuable as other players and are much easier to find than other players.

      The Cowboys a couple of years ago dedicated a draft to special teams and none of those players are making an impact for the team, and I believe that’s what happens when you grab players who won’t stick on rosters.

  • G-Man

    Good read, I think Jesse hates on draft picks past round 4 a little too much though.To say something like “Teams should just pick players they think can make and stick on an N.F.L. roster because the majority of 4th and later round picks won’t be on rosters in a few years” that’s just a little harsh imho.At least Ricky and Jerrell squeeked out of the majority of 4th round and later players are trash point of view.I say there’s a reason the NFL draft doesn’t end at the 4th round, if it wasn’t for later rounds the Chiefs wouldn’t have productive players like Donte Hall.(Another 5th round pick by the way)

    • http://NFLmocks.com Jesse Bartolis

      I don’t! I think people make too much of about the draft picks after the 4th round to be honest. Sure those players CAN become important, but when they talk about the NFL average life span only being three years, they’re talking about these late round players who can’t stick to a roster.

      I do think late round picks are importnat, but most starters are not late round picks. You have your Coverage linebackers, or your scat backs, or a 5th Wr/special teams guy.

      They’re all important, but what I’m saying is after the 4th round, forget about needs. Find players who can do SOMETHING well in the N.F.L and grab those guys.

  • James

    Nice article. I agree with most points. I think you were a little harsh on Miller, Brown, and Bannon. Especially since I heard Bannon ran a 4.69 instead of a 4.85. Miller has great upside, and I also think will play TE. And something everyone above was talking about (special teams) is what Pioli said was a big reason he drafted Brown.

    Everyone seems to say Baldwin was a reach, but none of know what all the owners and scouts think, so I honestly can’t say who was and wasn’t a reach. Pioli is one of the best talent evaluators in the game, so if he feels he needed to draft Baldwin at 27 (26?) then that’s probably when Baldwin needed to be drafted. Plus many people agreed that the 2 BIGgest needs were NT and WR, well they got a very good prospect in Baldwin. He could easily be the best receiver in this draft. Think about what Haley has done with WRs. Yeah he could end up rookie of the year…..GO CHIEFS!!!!!