Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 4/30/12
Going into the NFL draft, the Chiefs had one huge need nose tackle. Well, you could make the case they had two glaring needs. If you're like me, you're not a big believer in Matt Cassel. But at least at quarterback, the Chiefs had actual bodies on the depth chart. At nose tackle, on the other hand, the Chiefs had just Jerrell Powe, who played all of seven snaps in 2011. Therefore, it shouldn't have surprised anyone that Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli eagerly plucked Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe with the 11th overall pick. Yet the Poe pick not only surprised Chiefs fans, it seemed to anger many of them who booed at the team's drafty party. Poe, a 346-pounder with amazing athletic ability, apparently was considered too much of a reach for those Chiefs fans. I couldn't disagree more. I loved the pick, with the gut feeling that Romeo Crennel will be able to coach Poe up and make him an immovable force in the middle of the Chiefs' line next season. Poe didn't produce big sack numbers in college, but that really won't be his job at the next level anyway. Poe will be there to occupy at least two offensive lineman, which should create openings for rushers Tambi Hali, Justin Houston and Derrick Johnson. The Poe pick by itself is enough give the Chiefs' draft a "B" grade in my mind. Pioli and Crennel filled out the draft by addressing needs on both lines, in the secondary and, to some extent, at wide receiver. All in all, the Chiefs may have answered some questions about depth on their roster, and they also may have added some game-breakers. That's plenty enough to give them an overall "B" grade. Here's a look at the picks: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis: An extremely athletic player for his size, who will no doubt draw plenty of double-teams in the pros. True, Poe's lack of production in college suggests he could be a bit of a project, but Crennel is the ideal teacher. And the bar isn't set too high on recent Chiefs' selections to the defensive line. Poe won't have to do too much to outperform guys like Ryan Sims, Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, who are just a few of the Chiefs' defensive-line picks in recent years. Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois: A hard worker who is versatile. Allen can play guard as well as tackle, and should provide depth to a Chiefs' offensive line that appears set. Smart pick. Donald Stephenson, OT, Oklahoma: Tall (6-feet-6) with a long reach, Stephenson is another gifted athlete, like Poe, who may be more on the project side. He's raw but has a huge upside. Fortunately, the Chiefs have time to be patient with him. Devon Wylie, WR, Fresno State: Love this pick. This kid can fly, and while he's short (5-9), he's not small. He's a solid 187-pounder with some strength in his legs and some shiftiness to his running. He can help return kicks for the Chiefs as well as play the slot. You can't have too many game-breakers. DeQuan Menzie, CB, Alabama: Won't wow anyone with his athletic ability. His time in the 40 (4.74) is not good, but he is a strong, physical player who is probably best suited for safety. Coming from Alabama, he knows a thing or two about winning football. Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M: Curious pick here with all the depth the Chiefs have at running back and with the greater need at wideout and at quarterback. But, I will say, Gray is another potential game-breaker. He has home-run speed and he does have some shake and bake to his hips. He returned two kickoffs for scores in college and should start out being a valuable special-teams player. Jerome Long, DT, San Diego State: About what you'd expect for a sixth-round pick, Long flashed some pass-rushing ability for the Aztecs. He has some quickness but the big question is whether that will show up at the NFL level. At 6 feet 5, 290, he may want to drop some weight and move to defensive end. Junior Hemingway, WR, Michigan: A nice pick this late. Hemingway isn't a blazer (4.53) but he is strong and can fight for possession over the middle. Definitely has an NFL body 6 feet 1, 225. Some have even suggested Hemingway would be better suited as a tailback for third-down duty. Should find a home somewhere in the Chiefs' offense down the road.
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