The Kansas City Chiefs kicked off the 2013 NFL Draft by selecting offensive tackle Eric Fisher, a bit of a surprise given that many considered Luke Joeckel to be the pick for many weeks/months leading into the draft. That changed a couple of days before the draft started, when Fisher won out. This was the first draft for Chiefs GM John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid together, so it was a very significant one.
This is a talented team with a chance at a wild card spot in 2013 if they can get a big season out of Alex Smith, and here’s a look at the talent they added in the 2013 draft:
1. First Round, 1st overall: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
When all was said and done, the Chiefs viewed the former CMU offensive tackle as the best player in the draft. He can play right or left tackle, and with Branden Albert still on the Chiefs’ roster after the draft, there is a decent chance his career will start out on the right side. A big upset win over Iowa early in the season got CMU in the national spotlight, and Fisher just took off from there. He had established himself as a first round pick throughout the season, and as a top 10 pick at the Senior Bowl. He continued to climb up draft boards all the way to the top spot as the draft approached, and I think he’s a great addition for the Chiefs’ offensive line. Andy Reid likes to build in the trenches, so this pick makes a ton of sense.
2. Third Round, 63rd overall: Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
Just a massive tight end who has the ability to stretch a defense as well. Averaged over 15 yards per reception this past season at Cincinnati, and at 6’6″ 260 pounds, he has a lot of upside. Kansas City had to deal with a variety of injuries last year, not the least of which was Tony Moeaki who could pair with Kelce to give this team a very dangerous duo at the TE position. I think this is a solid fit for Kansas City, getting a guy who can come in and be an in-line TE with excellent pass catching ability. I had him graded as a late 2nd round pick, so getting him here is good value too. Overall, a solid pick for KC.
3. Third Round, 96th overall: Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas
This is a big risk, potentially big reward pick for the Chiefs. Had you told me two years ago that the Chiefs would get Knile Davis in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, I would have told you you were crazy. I was linking this guy’s name to the likes of Adrian Peterson and Darren McFadden coming out of college. If you don’t quite realize how special this kid is, just know that he came to Arkansas with the plan of playing three years and leaving for the NFL coming out of high school. It wasn’t a wait and see approach, it was a guarantee.
That plan didn’t work out so well. Davis was a superstar as a sophomore, rushing for 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He also caught 19 passes that year. Then, the downhill slide began. He was injured in 2011 and missed the entire season, and came back in 2012 ready to go for one more season before he headed off to the NFL. The only problem is, it was another injury riddled season and he finished with terrible production. He ran the ball just 112 times but finished with under 350 yards and only two rushing touchdowns. He was not his former self.
The Chiefs are taking a risk here. Davis could be a huge steal, or he could turn out to be just another missed pick. He has a lot to prove, and hopefully a bit of a chip on his shoulder as he enters the NFL. If he can return to 2010 form, this is a steal.
4. Fourth Round, 99th overall: Nico Johnson, LB, Alabama
Solid pick here in the fourth round. I had Johnson rated a bit lower than this, but at this point, that doesn’t really matter much. The Chiefs got a guy who can come in right away and rotate for them at inside linebacker, and they got him at a good spot. There was a lot of hype surrounding Johnson going into the season, but he’s not a hype kind of player, if that makes sense. He is a solid inside linebacker who is a bit limited in terms of his overall ability, but he does a lot of things really well. The Chiefs had a hole at inside linebacker to be filled with the tragic passing of Jovan Belcher, and Johnson can step in and play as a rookie thanks to his starting experience at Alabama.
5. Fifth Round, 134th overall: Sanders Commings, DB, Georgia
Commings is a big, fast defensive back at 6’0″ 213 pounds running a 4.41 40 yard dash at the Scouting Combine. Here is my pre-season report on Commings: Commings has a character concern attached to him. While he is a big, physical corner capable of delivering big hits on the field, unfortunately he also will serve a two-game suspension for hitting his girlfriend off the field. In my opinion, hitting a woman should result in a much longer suspension, maybe even a whole season, but that’s an ethics matter. In terms of football, Commings is very talented and he should be one of the top corners on the market come time for the 2013 NFL Draft, but his stock will fall because of potential character concerns. He was fourth on the team last year with 55 tackles and also had four tackles for loss, an interception, and 11 passes broken up. Obviously has a great combination of size and speed, and his size allows him to be physical with receivers. If he can keep his nose out of trouble, he should be a mid-round pick with intriguing size, speed, and upside.
This guy is a playmaker with really intriguing size/speed, so this is a good spot for the Chiefs to take a risk on a guy who has been in some trouble. I don’t know exactly how the legal process played out for Commings last year, but I do know that in 12 games for the Bulldogs he was productive with 51 tackles and three interceptions. He is listed as a corner, but the Chiefs had a big need at safety and I think he can help out there with Eric Berry. Good risk/reward pick in this round.
6. Sixth Round, 170th overall: Eric Kush, C, California (PA)
I didn’t have Kush ranked among my top 350 prospects, but that’s due large in part to the fact that he was so under the radar before the draft, he wasn’t really on my radar. Upon watching what is available of him out there, it’s very clear to me that this is a guy who is extremely competitive, and I love his quickness and power. The Chiefs dug deep with their scouting to make this pick, and I think they have a nice backup center here in Kush, who can also play some guard if need be. The Chiefs have a good, young offensive line, so Kush was selected to be a primary backup.
7. Sixth Round, 204th overall: Braden Wilson, FB, Kansas State
Wilson showed at the Kansas State pro day that he has some nice athletic ability and good overall strength. The fullback position is a lost art anymore, but the 6’4″ 251 pound Wilson has the athletic capability to play some H-back or tight end if the Chiefs want him to. With some of the other talent on their roster, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them try to stick this guy on their practice squad.
8. Seventh Round, 207th overall: Mike Catapano, DE, Princeton
Interestingly enough, I had this guy rated pretty close to the pick right before him for the Chiefs, fullback/h-back Braden Wilson. Catapano is another under-the-radar player who showed at the Princeton pro day that he is an athletic freak at 6’4″ 271 pounds. He ran a 4.75 and threw up 33 bench press reps, also posting a 37.5″ vertical jump and a 9’8″ broad jump. He finished his senior season with 12 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss, and based on the pre-draft attention he was receiving from teams like the Bengals and Eagles, it’s no question the Chiefs got a great value with their final pick. This is a guy who will come in and work his tail off to earn a roster spot, and with Kansas City, I think you could see him with his hand in the dirt or standing up as a rush LB with his athletic ability.
The headliner of this draft is obviously Eric Fisher, who you can pencil in to be a starter from day one at right or left tackle. I think the Chiefs took some calculated risks with the rest of their picks, and added a lot of boom or bust guys. This could be a draft class remembered for its incredible depth, or it could be the draft that only netted the Chiefs Eric Fisher.