Kansas City Chiefs Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Philip Gaines, CB, Rice – Round 3
It was hard for me to find picks that I liked for the Chiefs, and that’s why they received the award for the worst draft class in my 2014 NFL Draft Awards. That being said, I think Gaines is the selection who is most likely to develop into a solid starter. Sources with other teams told WalterFootball.com that they felt Gaines was a reach in the third round, but he at least has the physical skill set of a starting NFL cornerback.

The 6-foot, 193-pounder ran extremely fast at the Combine and also has good length. He can play zone or man coverage, plus displayed some ball skills during his collegiate career. Gaines was a two-time First-Team All-Conference pick. He will need some development, but he has upside to turn into a quality NFL starter.

Most Likely To Bust

Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn – Round 1
This was an easy choice. Ford is a one-trick pony who was a big reach. Sources from multiples teams have told WalterFootball.com that they didn’t grade Ford as a first-round pick. They had him as a late second-rounder on their boards, but felt a team could reach for him in Round 1. The Chiefs were that franchise.

Ford could get some sacks here and there as a pro, but he may never be a starter because he’s undersized and weak against the run. A top-25 pick shouldn’t be used on a situational player. Plus, Ford will only rotate into the game, yet the Chiefs can’t justify giving him snaps instead of proven pass-rushers like Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. While Hali is aging, Ford is going to get exploited as teams will run straight at him and generate some blocking mismatches.

Walt also heard from sources that there were staff members with the Chiefs who were unhappy with the pick. That illustrates how flawed a pick Ford really is. I think Ford has some serious bust potential.

Potential Boom Pick

De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon – Round 4
This was a difficult selection, but Thomas does have some special qualities that could make him a boom pick. Everybody knows that he has electric speed to potentially score on any touch. Thomas could be an impact player as a punt and kick returner while seeing some touches on offense. The Chiefs will have to manage his work load to keep him healthy, but he could end up reminding Kansas City fans of the Tamarick Vanover days.

Future Depth Player

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia – Round 5
Sources with other teams feel that Murray was inflated by some in the media who said he would be the best quarterback to come out of this draft class. Sources gave Murray a third-day grade and believed he had a ceiling for the NFL. Their view of Murray is that he could develop into a quality backup quarterback and spot starter. They don’t think that Murray will turn into a starter in the NFL.

However, Murray being a quality backup quarterback isn’t bad value for a fifth-round pick. Murray is intelligent and has enough physical tools to be a competent No. 2 as a pro.

Walt’s 2014 NFL Draft Grades:

23. Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn: D Grade
Ugh. The Chiefs have not been drafting well in this new regime. Their class last year was Eric Fisher (who struggled), Travis Kelce, Knile Davis and Nico Johnson. They dealt this year’s second for mediocre Alex Smith. And now they’re taking a second-round prospect who fills a minimal need. Things are not looking very bright in Kansas City.

There’s no doubt that Ford is a reach. The Chiefs could have moved down and still picked him. Ford also won’t start anytime soon with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston in front of him. This is the worst pick of the first round thus far, but at least it’s not on a Millen level.

87. Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice: A- Grade
There’s talk that the Chiefs could trade Brandon Flowers, so it makes sense that they spent a mid-round selection on a cornerback. Phillip Gaines didn’t get any national attention because he played at Rice, but he was terrific, albeit against inferior competition. He’s also very athletic, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he emerged as a solid starter down the road.

124. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon: C+ Grade
Wow. This is a couple of rounds earlier than De’Anthony Thomas was expected to go, but the Oregon play-maker should be a good weapon for Alex Smith. Kansas City’s quarterback can’t throw deep, so he’ll need another target to dump the ball off to. Thomas also serves as a needed backup for Jamaal Charles, a need created by Knile Davis’ injury.

163. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia: A Grade
Nice. Alex Smith cannot lead the Chiefs deep into the playoffs, but perhaps Aaron Murray will be able to. Murray would have gone much earlier had he not torn his ACL, so Kansas City is getting a steal and perhaps its future starting quarterback. This is an awesome pick in the fifth round.

193. Zach Fulton, G, Tennessee: B Grade
It’s a shock that the Chiefs waited this long for a guard, as I was told that the position was under consideration in the first round. Zach Fulton fits the range though, so no complaints.

200. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OT/G, McGill: A- Grade
There was some buzz about Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and some even thought he could go as high as the fourth round. The Canadian could eventually compete for the right tackle job.

2014 NFL Draft Team Grade: C- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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