With the eleventh pick in the 2012 BGN Community Mock Draft, TheRealMcCoy selects...
David DeCastro: OG, Stanford
Let's start with a little background on the 2011 Chiefs and their season. To sum up their season in a word that us Eagles fans would find familiar: disappointing. In the pre-season and at the beginning of the season, many thought that the Kansas City Chiefs were the team in the AFC West that could pull away the division title with ease (which would be their second title in a row). Coming off of a record of 10-6 record, the playoffs were the only logical expectation for this team. However, the injury bug really hit the Chiefs hard and early, with many of their top shelf players becoming inactive over the course of a month. The biggest names: running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry, and 2011 first round pick WR Jonathan Baldwin. Later on in the season, the Chiefs lost their starting quarterback, Matt Cassel, and had to replace him with Kyle Orton. As a result, the Chiefs ended with a 7-9 season record, fourth place in the AFC West.
With this all being said, the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs do have a lot to look forward to. They're essentially getting all of their major stars back from injury. The Chiefs have one of the best linebacker groups in the league, highlighted by Pro Bowlers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson. Their star wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe, is re-signed and happy to be playing alongside Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin. The Chiefs signed Stanford Routt, essentially preemptively replacing a hole that the loss of Brandon Carr would have created. The Chiefs lost Le'Ron McClain this offseason, but signed Peyton Hillis to fill in as a short yard bruiser. The Chiefs signed OT Eric Winston to come in and help their receding offensive line. So far, free agency has been fairly kind to the Chiefs, as personnel who have left the team have been filled in pretty quickly.
More after the jump...
Now, looking at the current Chiefs roster from a neutral perspective, the best way to describe it is...it's pretty lopsided. There are a good number of positions on this team that are just full of talent, namely the WR, RB, LB, and most of the secondary positions. However, there are also a good number of positions that are bone dry of talent, even on the starting level. The Chiefs, in the past few years, have really swung and missed on DL talent. They've drafted: Allen Bailey, Tyson Jackson, Alex Magee, Glen Dorsey, and Tank Tyler in the first three rounds since 2007. As of 2012, Jackson and Dorsey are starters, Bailey is a second stringer, and Magee and Tyler aren't even on the depth chart. Jackson has been a mix of mediocre and moderate talent, while Dorsey has been mostly defined as a disappointment. Their NT, Kelly Gregg, is 35 years old and has not confirmed that he'll be back for the 2012 NFL season. He's been serviceable, but if he retires, that's a big hole. Another area of need is the interior OL unit. The Chiefs have serviceable tackles in Branden Albert and recently signed Eric Winston, but their interior is a huge question mark. The only notable name is the 30 year old Ryan Lilja, who did not start all 16 games last year and does present some injury concerns. The center, Casey Wiegmann, is 38 years old and has produced mediocre performances, while the RG, Jon Asamoah, was a rookie who stepped in and also produced mediocre results. There is also almost zero depth behind these three players, so it's a very dry position. Other than these two positions, quarterback remains a good sized question mark, with Cassel coming off of injury and Orton leaving for the Cowboys via free agency.
So, now that we've discussed the situation with the Chiefs, we're going to head straight into draft night. The Chiefs are on the clock. Who will they pick? In my opinion, there are only two names the Chiefs should be looking at to write down as the 11th pick in the draft: DT/NT Dontari Poe out of Memphis or OG David DeCastro out of Stanford. As stated before, the state of the Chiefs' DLine is in a state of weakness. The fate of next year hinges on Gregg's retirement decision, essentially. With Poe, the Chiefs have the potential to place a (literally) huge NT prospect to clog up their interior gaps in replacement of Gregg. He's the official Workout Warrior of 2012 and would provide some more athleticism to a DL roster that is potentially deep, but with limited talent. However, with DeCastro, the Chiefs would immediately shore up what is probably their most shallow position on the team with an offensive guard that's being compared to Carl Nicks and other high quality guards. So, which one is the right choice? It comes down to this: what is the biggest need of the Chiefs, and which player provides the best value at their position at the #11 pick? It's definitely a close one, but after some serious deliberation, the conclusion should be David DeCastro.
David DeCastro, a guard who has spent the past few years protecting the #1 prospect in the NFL draft (Andrew Luck), would be an absolutely perfect fit for this Chiefs team. He's a big guy at right around 6'5 in height and 316 pounds. He's never missed one game since his first year of eligibility (that means 39 straight games). He comes from a pro style offense used in Stanford, meaning he's NFL ready and understands his assignments on an NFL level. He's also one of the toughest offensive line prospects in this year's class. While not a mean bruiser, he's more of a prideful player, and uses his combative mentality to push hard for all four quarters. He's described as a "blue collar" kind of player who also brings some quality of leadership with him. His arm length is a bit short for a potential tackle prospect in the future, but the Chiefs will need him at guard, so this is not an issue. He managed to bench 34 times at the combine, which was second best in the guard class. Just going by his intangibles, he is a strong, big man with great character traits and a sense for leadership.
Looking at his play style, scouts see DeCastro as one of the best run blocking guards to come out of the draft in at least the last decade. He specializes in both power run and zone blocking schemes, has sound fundamentals causing his assignment to almost always be completed, and enough speed to get to the second level of LB's. The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best running backs in the league in Jamaal Charles and a good power back in Peyton Hillis. While he's seen as the best run blocker in the draft, DeCastro is no slouch at pass protection either. He can set his feet very quick, and his sliding motions are fluid and strong. He could use more strength to take on bull rushes and power rushers from interior defensive lines, but many view that kind of strength as potential for growth in the NFL, where top strength trainers can work with him to increase his overall raw power. New Chiefs offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's 2012 strategy is "to attack" with balanced playing, using a lot of no huddle sets and quick play calling. If they want to be successful by using aggressive plays, they're going to need offensive linemen who are quick on their feet and can get that initial push immediately. That's exactly the kind of player David DeCastro is. He's a tough guy who can anchor an offensive line that could potentially block for one of the best RB tandems in the league and a quarterback who has a multitude of talented options surrounding him.
To conclude, the Chiefs are still one of the more promising teams in the NFL. Injury really took the team back a step last year, and as a result, their holes became gaping as the year progressed. With Romeo Crennel at the head of the Chiefs, the Chiefs are aiming to restructure to become an aggressive force in the AFC West. David DeCastro could help solidify one of the core aspects of the success of a new offense, and could provide years of interior stability for the Kansas City Chiefs. Dontari Poe is definitely an interesting prospect, but there are some decent NT selections in the second and third rounds (Alameda Ta'amu and Josh Chapman) that could provide as much of a big presence as Poe. Also, I don't think Poe is a good value at the 11th pick. Some people predict that's he's going to be a Top 10 talent, but what bothers me the most is Poe's inconsistency and the reports of his work ethic. I'm not too sure if the Chiefs want to draft yet another defensive lineman in the first round of their draft if there are so many question marks about him. I feel, on the other hand, that DeCastro at the 11th pick feels right. It's not the highest pick a guard has gone recently (that would be Chris Naeole of the 1997 Bears, who went 10th overall), but for many, the 11th overall pick on a guard will seem too high no matter what. However, when you have one of the most sound and capable guard prospects in a while right at your fingertips, and a wide array of teams around you that could use him (including Arizona at 13 and Dallas at 14), this seems like it's good value for the pick. The Chiefs pick up an immediate starting guard in the NFL and a player who has Pro Bowl potential in an area that is the most shallow, oldest, and weakest on the team: this works perfectly.
Next on the clock will be Talon Talent with the Seattle Seahawks.
Previous Picks: #1 Andrew Luck, #2 Robert Griffin III, #3 Morris Claiborne, #4 Trent Richardson, #5 Matt Kalil, #6 Justin Blackmon, #7 Melvin Ingram, #8 Ryan Tannehill #9 Michael Floyd #10 Dre Kirkpatrick