While the first day of the NFL’s scouting combine may be complete, the work of general managers, coaches, and scouts is not. Now comes the grueling task of not only analyzing the numbers compiled from today’s workouts, but using those numbers to determine who fits their scheme, needs, and preferences. It’s all a task that takes time, effort, and dedication that, in the end, leads to successful draft picks and improvement of the franchise. For the Kansas City Chiefs, they are a team on the brink of Super Bowl contention. Their Divisional Round loss to the Patriots is still a sore spot for myself and other Chiefs fans alike, but it also shined a light on their weaknesses. Fortunately, the Chiefs have an excellent general manager in John Dorsey and a good team of scouts that will help him and Reid make the selections that will best help the team improve in 2016.
The left side and interior of the Chiefs offensive line (LT Eric fisher, LG Ben Grubbs, C Mitch Morse) is under contract, and both Fisher and Morse had solid seasons in 2015, but the right side is full of questions. Tackles Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson are free agents, and swing tackle Jah Reid is better suited at guard. With all that, there’s some question as to what the Chiefs may do to solve these problems. Today offered some clarity to those concerns. Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin had an excellent day, running a solid 5.0 in the 40 while bench pressing 225 pounds 25 times. He looked strong and displayed good footwork. Another tackle I’ve been following is Ohio State’s Taylor Decker, and he too shined (20 reps, 5.23 40 time). The position I fell in love with, however, were the guards and centers, particularly Stanford’s Joshua Garnett and Missouri’s Evan Boehm. I haven’t watched much tape on either, but after their showing today, I didn’t feel like I missing all that much. Garnett showed incredible athleticism and footwork a tackle would envy. His 30 reps on the bench press proves he has a strong upper body, and I believe he would be a perfect addition to the Chiefs offensive line. Boehm, who played with current Morse at Mizzou, also performed well with a 5.33 40 and 24 reps of 225. Morse played adequately last season as a rookie, but can you ever have enough Missouri Tigers? (Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin are two others). Boehm was a starter from the day he stepped on campus at Mizzou, and he has also played tackle. We all know Reid likes versatility.
While the Chiefs are set for a while at running back, John Dorsey still watched their workouts, and you should’ve too. Derrick Henry, Alabama running back and Heisman Trophy winner, had a monster day. He ran 4.5 in the 40 (which at 247 pounds is admirable) and jumped 37 inches in vertical. Thirty-seven inches, as a 247-pound running back. Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliot had a fine day himself, running a 4.47 40 and jumped 32.5 inches. He excelled in the pass catching drills, whereas Henry looked stiff, which will only boost Elliot’s value as a three down back in an age of the depreciation of the running back position. The back I’m interested in most when looking at the Chiefs roster for holes to fill, is Alabama’s Kenyan Drake. He ran a 4.45 40, and while he’ll do little running in Kansas City, I’m more impressed with his return skills (26.6 average, TD in ’15). With no word on the health of De’Anthony Thomas, the Chiefs may want to find their next return man.
The Scouting Combine continues today, and it’ll be quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends taking the field. Potential targets for the Chiefs, and the guys I’ll be watching, are the Ohio State receiver duo Michael Thomas and Braxton Miller, Pittsburgh WR Josh Boyd, Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott, and South Carolina WR Pharoah Cooper.
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