by Adam Fournier, Ourlads’ Intern
After a two win 2012 season, the Chiefs have rebounded well with two straight winning seasons including one playoff appearance. A lot of this has to do with the arrival of Andy Reid and Alex Smith, but they have also gotten help from some very good young players from the past five drafts. Although they have drafted some very good players in recent years, the majority of the Chiefs’ draft picks have failed to make a big impact.
The three best players the Chiefs have drafted over the last five seasons are Pro Bowl defensive trio Eric Berry, Justin Houston, and Dontari Poe. Berry came in with huge expectations as one of the best safeties in college football in recent years and has certainly lived up to the hype. He has been one of the best safeties in the NFL since coming into the league in 2010 and has been elected to three Pro Bowls. Sadly Berry’s NFL career was put on hold as he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma during the season. He has recently been cleared to practice, making way for his return in 2015. Houston has emerged as probably the best of the three even though he was a later draft pick. He has made the Pro Bowl the last three seasons and is considered one of the best defensive players in the NFL for the 2015 season. Houston will be a part of the Chiefs’ defense for many years to come as he recently re-signed with the Chiefs for one of largest defensive contracts in NFL history. The youngest of the three, Dontari Poe, is not a bad player himself. Poe has become one of best young defensive lineman in the NFL and has made the last two Pro Bowls. Poe will be anchoring the Chiefs defensive line for the 2015 season. Also deserving recognition for their time in Kansas City are Dexter McCluster and Rodney Hudson. McCluster was a 2nd round pick in the 2010 draft and was a great utility player for Kansas City. He was a solid contributor at running back, receiver, and returner for four years before departing for Tennessee. Hudson was one of the better centers in the NFL in the past two years starting 31 games. He was rewarded for his play with a huge contract from Oakland in the 2015 off-season.
With the exception of the aforementioned players, the rest of the Chiefs’ draft picks have not been very effective. The biggest bust was 2011 1st rounder Jon Baldwin. Baldwin made some contributions at receiver for two years but never did enough to live up to his first round status. He is currently out of the NFL after playing only three seasons. Two more recent flops are former Alabama teammates DeQuan Menzie and Nico Johnson as the Chiefs gave up on both after only one season. The most unfortunate failure so far for the Chiefs is 2013 number one overall pick Eric Fisher. When a player is picked number one overall, he is expected to be a big time player when he comes to the league; and Fisher has been far from it. The jury is still out on him as he still has time to turn it around. There are some other players that the jury is still out on that will be looking to make an impact in 2015. Travis Kelce, Eric Kush, Philip Gaines, and De’Anthony Thomas have all been drafted in the last two seasons and are projected to start in 2015. Knile Davis and Dee Ford are expected to contribute as reserves as well. The Chiefs will be looking for all these players to step up in 2015.