Chiefs aren't done fishing â€” or dangling, in the case of Albert
APR 27, 2013 12:22a ET
"Well, right now, he's a Kansas City Chief," coach Andy Reid said when asked Friday about Branden Albert, who insists he's either going to play left tackle or take his ball and go home. "That's what he is … as we speak right now.
"(We) kept the options open, not only for us, but for him, so he can see where the value is, and so on. We'll see how things work out as we continue on."
That's an awful lot of qualifiers in one go, even for Reid. So the official word after Day 2 of the NFL Draft was that while the oft-speculated swap of Albert-to- Miami-for-second-rounders came and went without actually happening, the possibility of Albert being swapped for something else of use is possibly still on the table, somewhere.
"All along, it's been an ongoing process," general manager John Dorsey allowed. "It will be an ongoing process until the end of the draft takes place."
So, just like everything else on draft weekend, when it comes to levying an honest judgment, we're going to have to get back to you later. The Chiefs had two picks in the third round, and used them to address depth — at tight end, with Cincinnati's Travis Kelce and at running back, in Arkansas' Knile Davis — rather than any immediate, pressing need.
"I've mentioned that we're going to trust the board," Reid said, "and so far, that's what we've done."
Most boards across the blogosphere are fine with Kelce, a former ‘Wildcat' quarterback who's big (6-5) and shifty (4.6 in the 40) with good hops (33 1/3 inches on his vertical; Lamar Odom is reportedly in the 32-inch range). Plus, he reportedly likes to listen to Christmas music before big games in order to relax. And, hey, schematically, he fits. Of new quarterback Alex Smith's 81 career passing touchdowns, 30 of them — or 37 percent — landed to the waiting paws of tight end Vernon Davis. The man in the huddle knows what he likes, and Smith likes big targets in the red zone.
Davis, mind you, is a little trickier to peg. Is he the hoss who ran for more than 1,300 yards as a sophomore at Arkansas, or the one who came back last fall after ankle issues and collected just 377 rushing yards and coughed the ball up eight times? The 227-pounder was a combine champ, running a 40 in the reported 4.35-range and flashing soft hands, a prerequisite of your standard West-Coast-Offense mantra. The man with the headset knows what he likes, and Reid likes tailbacks that can catch the pigskin.
"I think the important thing is, I try to bring in competition," Reid continued. "I think that brings out the best in everybody, and that's what we're attempting to do. John Dorsey believes that, and that's the way we've approached it."
And, really, this is Dorsey's time, Dorsey's weekend. Rounds 2-7 are when NFL execs and evaluators earn their respective keeps. It's what separates the Packers and Steelers and Colts of the world from the Browns and Cardinals. The first round is for show. The big boys know they've got to spin the real gold from the final two days of the straw.
Take Indianapolis, which flipped from 2-14 in the autumn of ‘11 to 11-5 in ‘12 partially on the strength of a franchise signal-caller in Andrew Luck. Less well-documented was the sheer depth of the draft haul they culled last April: The second round brought tight end Coby Fleener (12 games, 281 receiving yards); the third brought tight end Dwayne Allen (16 games, 521 receiving yards) and wideout T.Y. Hilton (15 games, 861 receiving yards); and the fifth brought running back Vick Ballard (16 games, 814 rushing yards).
Between 2000-12, Dorsey was Green Bay's director of college scouting, then director of football operations. The Packers' front office made an absolute killing, built its backbone, with picks from Rounds 2 through 6 between 2009-12 — a group that includes tackle T.J. Lang (Round 2, '09), guard Marshall Newhouse (Round 5, '10), tailback James Starks (Round 6, '10) and receiver/specialist Randall Cobb (Round 2, '11).
If you use Pro-Football-Reference's weighted Career Approximate Value (2013 Aaron Rodgers was a 15; 2013 Matt Cassel was a 2) as a barometer, the Pack acquired 129 career AV points over the past four drafts, or an average of 32.3 per year.
That's a significantly better figure than, say, the Chiefs under the Scott Pioli regime during that same span — they totaled 84 career AV points, or 21 per draft class. Pioli's first crop in 2009 was especially poor, in hindsight, with only 8 career AV points stemming from the four selections from rounds 2-6. Things improved drastically in 2010 (51 AV points), as the middle rounds led to Dexter McCluster, Jon Asamoah, Tony Moeaki and Kendrick Lewis coming aboard, but returns fell off again in 2011 (20 AV points).
"There is always so much focus on the first pick," Chiefs chairman/CEO Clark Hunt noted Friday afternoon. "But the important thing about the draft is that you find some guys down the way that can help you, if not this year, certainly down the road."
Over the previous four seasons, the Packers collected 11.8 victories, on average, and reached the postseason four times. The Chiefs managed 5.8 wins, just one playoff team, and had fans threatening a civic revolt.
Depth matters. Friday matters. Saturday matters. Chemistry matters.
And speaking of the latter, one more Albert question: So where exactly did you leave things with Miami general manager Jeff Ireland?
"That I'd call him back (Saturday) morning," Dorsey replied.
In other words, stay tuned.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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