The NFL is the king of marketing. It makes its NFL Draft a major happening in the world of sports.
Fans all get drawn in – it allows them the opportunity to pretend they are a general manager of their favorite NFL franchise. When the NFL announced the 2014 schedule last week, ESPN spent two hours breaking down the schedule for each team and which teams had the most difficult schedules and which teams had the weakest.
The exhibition season does not start for five more months but the NFL marketing machine has everyone fired up and ready. Mock drafts have been all over the airwaves and Internet for months.
Therefore this week we all think we have the inside line on who should pick who and for what reasons. My analysis is that it is all a crapshoot. If you hit it big Lady Luck has gone your way. For every high draft choice there is a free agent who ends up with a better NFL career.
Some organizations really are better than others in their understanding of which players have the best chance to fit into the organization. The movie “Draft Day” broke the hype down and showed the importance of due diligence in researching every small detail of each player of interest to a team.
Some teams seem to continually miss on players at certain positions. Our hometown team, the Kansas City Chiefs, have really struggled in drafting wide receivers, defensive lineman and as we all know, we are still looking for a quarterback who can actually play in the NFL.
The strength of the Chiefs in previous drafts has been with offensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs. The team will be limited to six picks this year, without a second-round pick because of the Alex Smith trade.
Losing two second-round picks for Smith should pan out for the franchise. Smith is a very solid NFL quarterback who fits the offensive style of Andy Reid. I do believe the franchise is in a do-or-die situation with their first pick because of the squeeze of little salary cap space.
The Chiefs need another weapon at wide receiver. This draft is filled with top flight NFL ready wide-outs. Picking No. 23 in the draft will probably eliminate at least four or five of the top receiving prospects, but the Chiefs should be able to get a quality first-year starter at No. 23.
Most of the mock drafts look like possible choices might be Marqise Lee from USC, Brandin Cooks from Oregon State or Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State. Lee can really stretch the field, while Benjamin is another big receiver like Dwayne Bowe. My choice would be Brandin Cooks because he could be the inside slot receiver the Chiefs need to attack the middle of the field in the West Coast offense.
I would be also be open to getting a true tight end who can also help with the interior passing game. Travis Kelce, last year’s third-round pick, was supposed to be the guy but injuries wrecked that idea and Anthony Fasano was hurt a lot of the time last year too.
That goes back to the luck factor when talking about draft choices. The next five choices can go in many areas and the team may go with the philosophy to just take the best athlete available.
The team really needs more help in the secondary, both at corner and free safety. You can never have enough defensive backs in the NFL. Just look at the second half of last year’s playoff game against the Colts. When Brandon Flowers was injured the Colts made the secondary look like a junior high 7-on-7 game in which they scored at will. The guys drafted last year, like Sanders Commings, must be able to step up and provide help, but the Chiefs need to draft at least two more defensive backs.
The other two positions of concern are offensive guard and another quality defensive tackle/end in the 3-4 scheme.
A final universal concern for the Chiefs organization is it ever going to draft a quarterback that the organization can develop and count on in the future?! This has always been an Achilles’ heel for the franchise.
John Dorsey is very capable of handling the draft without the help of anyone else in Chiefs Kingdom. It is the speculation that makes the NFL draft so much fun for the average fan. We all act like we are in the War Room getting ready to phone in the next All-Pro and franchise changer. In the end, the draft day choices really do not affect the excitement of the opening kickoff for fans across the country.
• In some way I will be glad when the draft is over so we can stop hearing about which team is going to draft Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney. We are all tired of the same noise about these two guys.
• Alcides Escobar is the best glove shortstop in the big leagues. Bank it!
• The NBA playoffs seem to awaken the players. They finally appear to have the desire to play defense and work hard on the boards. A lot of these guys coast until April.
• MU’s quarterback, Maty Mauk, is going to light up the SEC this year. The guy can play. Missouri also still has a stable of quality receivers to throw to.
• How about all the crazy shifts in MLB games this year? A guy like George Brett would hit .500 the way he handled the bat. If some guys could bunt they could hit a .100 points higher. I am amazed guys like Earl Weaver and Tommy Lasorda were so successful without the aid of computers.
• My quote of the week comes from the NFL’s all-time winningest coach Don Shula: “How can you prove you’re the best unless you have competition?”
Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 5-6 p.m. every Thursday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org