Before former Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli was fired by owner Clark Hunt, he was obviously already immersed in the possibilities facing him in April’s draft. For quite some time Pioli knew the Chiefs would have a high pick to work with and was ready to finalize his preliminary draft board when he was let go.
SI’s Peter King asked Pioli to analyze the record 73 underclass players in the draft, though he warned it’s far too early in the process to decide much considering juniors and red shirt sophomores only recently declared. How are underclassmen rated so quickly?
“I’ll give you an example,” he told King. “I went to Tallahassee this year to scout Florida State prospects. Four other Chiefs’ scouts were on campus as well during the year. We all watched tape, and we watched practice. When it comes to defensive end Bjoern Werner, for instance, we obviously saw him stand out on tape and in person. So it’s not difficult to understand why he’s so highly regarded by NFL teams: Watching Florida State, Werner’s production jumps out at you.”
Pioli also says that despite the largest quantity of underclassmen in the draft pool, we shouldn’t expect it to turn out the best quality.
Here are the top 10 underclassmen right now, according to Pioli.
1. Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M
2. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
3. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
4. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
5. Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
6. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
7. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
8. Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
9. Alec Ogletree, MLB, Georgia
10. Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State
You can get all of Pioli’s thoughts on the top 10 from King’s column. You can hear more from the general manager on the NBC Sports Network at the Super Bowl.
I know he’s not all that popular in Kansas City right now, but this is a fantastic look into the NFL Draft process from a front office perspective.