With a couple of young coaches, an unpredictable General Manager and a crazy owner, the AFC West presents some of the biggest question marks as we prepare for the NFL Draft later this month. ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson has been previewing the division’s draft possibilities over the past month and this week he takes a look at the draft approach of Chiefs GM Scott Pioli last season and how it might change his second time around.
While with New England, Pioli and gang were known for trading picks when necessary and for making value picks. Pioli’s first draft in Kansas City was difficult to gauge. The team so far hasn’t received much value from its picks. Most alarming is that the team reached for defensive end Tyson Jackson with the No. 3 overall pick. The Chiefs drafted Jackson to fill a need. While there is nothing wrong with that strategy, there was no way Jackson, a 3-4 defensive end, would have been a top-10 pick had Kansas City passed on him. Overall, Pioli was more conservative in the draft last year than anticipated. He has, however, been more aggressive in pursuing free agents during the offseason so maybe he will take the same approach during the draft.
On the surface it’s very easy to criticize Scott Pioli’s first draft, though it’s unfair to grade any class for at least three seasons.
Hard to say they haven’t gotten much value when their final selection (and last of the entire draft) was one of the better kickers in the entire National Football League.
Jackson was certainly viewed as a reach by most (including me) but if it’s the guy you want then it’s not a reach. And considering the steep learning curve that defensive linemen have their first couple of seasons, Jackson made huge strides down the stretch. He never put up mind blowing numbers, but he isn’t going to do that at his peak in this defense.
The rest of the picks have yet to contribute and their progress (or lack of) next season will give us a much clearer picture of the final grade that should be attached to Pioli’s first draft class.