A Bulaga-Free Mock

Most mock drafts have pegged Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga as Scott Pioli’s selection at No. 5 in the NFL Draft later this month.  Today we get to see a very different scenario unfold, one where a player once destined to go first overall falls to the Chiefs.

5. Kansas City Chiefs, Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

How could Suh last until the fifth pick?  No way, nohow — in the words of Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend.  Glenn Dorsey slid to the very same slot three years ago for the exact same reason.  Many NFL GMs do not value defending the run as much as they do rushing or protecting the passer, and despite Suh’s 12 sacks, his greatest strength is stacking the line, not penetrating it.

Matt Cassel is the 15th-highest-paid quarterback in the league, and he could easily prove to be better under the direction of Charlie Weis, but right or wrong, GM Scott Pioli’s career in Kansas City will likely be defined by his decision to hitch his wagon to Cassel.  And in order for Cassel to perform up to his ability, he needs much better protection than he had a year ago.

Expect the Chiefs to seriously entertain offers to deal down, with the Seahawks potentially not out of the quarterback market, and the Chiefs standing to be a beneficiary of the work their new offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis, did with Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame.  Remember, the Chiefs are sitting in the same five-spot that another Belichick prodigy, Eric Mangini, held a year ago before trading out.  If Pioli has to stay put, however, the premium placed on defensive linemen can be expected to prevail again.  Despite finishing the season playing close to 290 pounds and being more ideally suited for a “40” front, as Dorsey is, Suh would be too talented to pass up.

If Suh slips by the Lions, this could be a very real scenario.  Even if Tampa Bay decides to take Suh instead of Gerald McCoy, the Redskins aren’t likely to invest that kind of money on the defensive line unless they can find a way to unload Albert Haynesworth.

Speaking of money, would Clark Hunt have an issue with Pioli spending that kind of big cash on each of the three positions up front?  I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but I’m not the one signing the checks.  I could see Hunt being hesitant, especially considering the learning curve for defensive linemen.

Pioli has spoken about his freedom to made decisions more than once, so Hunt probably wouldn’t stand in the way of any selection but it’s something to keep in mind if McCoy or Suh fall to the Chiefs.

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