The Kansas City Chiefs are heading into May 8th’s NFL Draft with an abnormal amount of holes to fill for an 11-5 team after standing pat throughout free agency, and allowing the majority of their marquee free agents to pass by untouched. John Dorsey showed his true colors this offseason, solidifying himself as a “build through the draft” GM. But, with Kansas City possessing only six picks, Dorsey & Andy Reid’s eye for talent will truly be tested.
Many experts who have been around for their fair share of draft classes claim that this draft’s talent pool is as deep as any they’ve seen. In other words, the 2014 NFL Draft Class has plenty to offer.
The Chiefs can go in a number of directions with their first pick, with starting spots up for grabs on both offense and defense. It’s time to break down each and every one of Kansas City’s first round options. The following are the defensive prospects the Chiefs should take a look at.
Justin Gilbert, CB (Oklahoma State)
Selecting a cornerback in the first round of the draft when there isn’t necessarily a need at that position, would definitely open some eyes. But, if the player the Chiefs love isn’t available and Justin Gilbert slips to no. 23 overall, Kansas City landing arguably the drafts most talented CB is a realistic possibility.
At 6’0, 202 lbs, Gilbert possesses one of the most polished skill sets in this class. The former OSU Cowboy is a hard-nosed playmaker with a long frame, who possesses arguably the best ball skills in the draft. Gilbert’s combination of size, length and quick feet allow him to match up well vs. all forms of WR’s, making him very attractive to teams looking for versatility and reliability at cornerback.
Gilbert’s game changing ability doesn’t end on defense, either. As a kick returner at Oklahoma State, Gilbert returned six kickoff’s for touchdowns over a 51-game span.
Justin Gilbert has the potential to be one of the best defensive backs in the game if given time to grow and develop, and in Kansas City, behind Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith, he can do just that. The likelihood of the Chiefs selecting Gilbert this May is very low, but if the stars align, it wouldn’t be the worst pick Kansas City could make.
Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, FS (Alabama)
The majority of draft pundits suspect that Kansas City select an offensive player in the first round of the draft, but if John Dorsey’s scouring the market for an upgrade within secondary, he should look no further than Alabama’s Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix.
Last season, the Chiefs defense experienced a steep drop off in production due to the lack of a playmaking free safety to man the back end of the defense. Neither Kendrick Lewis nor Quinten Demps were capable of doing so, and although Husain Abdullah and Sanders Commings offer upside, adding another free safety through the draft figures to be the right path to take.
Clinton-Dix possesses the range and natural instincts that’ll allow him to make an immediate impact to a defense, and his long frame is attractive to teams looking for a playmaking DB. Lining up vs. the pass-happy offenses of the AFC with Clinton-Dix playing center field is a definite upgrade over last season.
The possibility of Clinton-Dix getting taken off the board before Kansas City is on the clock is a fairly likely, though. Other FS targets that fit Kansas City’s criteria are NIU’s Jimmy Ward, FSU’s Terrence Brooks and USC’s Dion Bailey.