NT, G, OLB, ILB, DE
Round 1-Dontari Poe/DT
Round 2-Jeff Allen/OT-G
Round 3-Donald Stephenson/OT
Round 4-Devon Wylie/WR
Round 5-DeQuan Menzie/CB
Round 6-Cyrus Gray/RB
Round 7-Jerome Long/DT
Round 7-Junior Hemingway/WR
OLB, G, ILB
This was a huge draft for general manager Scott Pioli. The team is coming off of a very disappointing season in 2011, but the veteran talent evaluator started his retooling of the roster with a very aggressive approach during free agency. But while Pioli filled several needs earlier this year, there was still work to be done.
To help improve the run defense, which gave up 132 yards per game (ranked 26th overall), the Chiefs selected DT Dontari Poe in the first round. Poe will fill an obvious positional need in the middle of the defense, but what really stands out about the interior defensive lineman is his athleticism for a guy of his size (6-3 ½, 345).
Second-round pick Jeff Allen is capable of playing right tackle or guard at the NFL level, but is expected to play inside with the Chiefs. Allen did see time at left tackle in college, but because of his lack of height (under 6-4), he’s unlikely to play there in the NFL. Allen could wind up being the top guard off the bench this season, and down the line he could get a chance to start at LG for veteran Ryan Lilja. While some criticized Allen for inconsistency with run blocking, he’s known as being very solid in pass protection. Allen’s positional versatility could come in handy with the Chiefs going forward.
Third-round pick Donald Stephenson could eventually be the starting left tackle, as soon as year two. And that’s because starting LT Branden Albert is on the final year of his rookie deal. Stephenson, who is capable of playing RT or LT, is known in scouting circles for his strength and size. According to one personnel executive, the offensive lineman might have the most upside of any tackle available for this draft.
Fourth-round pick Devon Wylie was widely recognized as being one of the top slot receivers available for this year’s NFL Draft. Wylie, who is also capable of returning punts, should be able to earn a roster spot at no worse than the fifth spot on the depth chart at wide receiver. The Chiefs have really solid versatility at the slot position now with Wylie, third-year pro Dexter McCluster and veteran Steve Breaston, who’s capable of playing inside or outside.
Fifth-round pick DeQuan Menzie is known in scouting circles for his physical play. And he comes out of a pro style defense at Alabama. However, because he lacks the ideal speed to play cornerback, the defensive back is being moved to safety.
In the sixth round, jack of all trades RB Cyrus Gray should get good chance to earn a roster spot if he has a strong training camp and preseason. Known in scouting circles for high character, Gray is capable of being a third down back at the NFL level and a kickoff returner. It’s questionable, however, whether he could be anything more than that because of his size (5-10, 205). But if he handles just those roles in future seasons, the Chiefs would be getting excellent value out of a sixth-round pick.
The final round produced two players for the Chief. DT Jerome Long is known in scouting circles for being a high-energy player. Despite not being invited to the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year, Long’s game tape in college and performances during a week of practices leading up to a lower level all-star game (Casino Del Sol) warranted a serious late-round look. The final seventh-rounder, WR Junior Hemingway, is unlikely to make the roster this fall due to solid depth at the position.
Overall, Pioli did a really nice job of addressing depth issues at a bunch of positions—just as he did during free agency. If all goes well, the Chiefs should get at least three starters out of this draft over the next few seasons. And there’s no reason to think that this team won’t be seriously competing for the AFC West crown this fall.