By TJ Carpenter
INDIANAPOLIS - The pressure has been on the Chiefs new regime since the day it was hired. Andy Reid and John Dorsey have been adamant the philosophy of best available player will be followed to the letter of its intent in Kansas City.
Even if it means not drafting a quarterback number one overall.
But while Dorsey will not confirm anything about which player he believes is currently the best among the current draft class, that doesn’t mean he and his staff aren’t doing their due diligence when it comes to the quarterback position.
I believe the Chiefs thinking after watching the quarterbacks throw on Sunday is that Geno Smith out of West Virginia is their primary target at this point. His interview went extremely well and the Chiefs really liked what they saw in workouts and throwing drills at the combine. He’s a two-for-two guy at the combine.
The same cannot be said for quarterbacks Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse and Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas. While there is no indication either quarterback was lackluster during the interview process, the Chiefs were not thrilled with Wilson nor Nassib during throwing drills on Sunday. In particular, Nassib may have thrown his way out of contention for a spot on the Chief’s roster far before he set foot in Indianapolis. The knock on Nassib at this point is he’s a “system quarterback,” which while it may speak volumes about his former coach at Syracuse turned first year Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone, it does little to ensure NFL scouts Nassib can grasp an NFL offense or make the throws necessary to compete at the NFL level. The Chiefs were also impressed with Arizona’s Matt Scott during passing drills on Sunday.
While USC’s Matt Barkley did not throw at the combine he did interview with numerous teams at the combine including the Chiefs. Not only was Barkley impressive from the podium in front of the media, he was impressive in interviews. All indications point toward the Chiefs being very impressed with Barkley and his natural charisma. The Chiefs, along with most of the NFL, are looking forward to watching Barkley throw at his pro day on March 27th when he will be 100% recovered from a shoulder injury he sustained during his senior year.
In addition to the players under intense scrutiny here at the draft, Dorsey, a first-year general manager in his own right, is under his own degree of scrutiny as well. Dorsey has not been the most eloquent when addressing the media publicly, but has the confidence of those who have worked with him for a long time in the national football league. After speaking with multiple personnel people around the NFL at the combine and several who have had a relationship with Dorsey for many years around the NFL, his reputation among insiders and decision-makers alike is as sterling as a reputation could possibly be. In fact, the mere suggestion that fans or media in Kansas City would question John Dorsey’s abilities as a GM prompted Chris Mortensen of ESPN to offense, stating, “He’s one of the best talent evaluator’s in the NFL.”
Yet, if the Chiefs’ evaluation of the quarterback position falls in line with that of the national media, the decision will likely draw the ire of fans and media alike in Kansas City. Luke Joeckel is not the only offensive tackle contending for the number one overall pick, as stated by Mike Mayock during a media session Sunday afternoon, Joeckel and Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan have, “pulled even,” and it has been that way since the Senior Bowl according to Mayock.
As defensive end and the pass rush is also a lush position in this year’s draft, the Chiefs have also been projected to consider several linebackers and defensive linemen in this year’s draft. Jarvis Jones out of Georgia has been taken off of many draft boards because of a case of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spine he had been diagnosed with before college. The Chiefs have not been in contact with Jones so far at the combine. Also, Utah Defensive Tackle, Star Lotulelei during medical exams was diagnosed with a heart condition that could push him out of contention for the number one overall pick and even out of the first round depending on the severity of the condition. Lotulelei will not work out at the combine.
In conclusion, here is a list of players to watch in the draft you may not have thought about on the Chiefs roster yet: Arthur Brown - Kansas State, Matt Scott - Arizona, Sheldon Richardson - Mizzou , Knile Davis - Arkansas , Tavon Austin - West Virginia, Onterio McCalebb - Auburn, TJ Moe - Mizzou, Eric Fisher - Central Michigan, Demontre Moore - Texas A&M, Terrance Williams - Baylor, Marquise Goodwin - Texas
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