On the eve of the 2012 NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs still have not come to terms with veteran wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. He’s still not accepted a one-year $9.4 million offer according to Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star. Does this situation affect the draft posture of Chiefs’ general manager Scott Pioli?
My guess is that the uncertainty surrounding Bowe will have only a modest impact on draft strategy, perhaps with the ability to swing a pick if players at different positions have comparable grades, but with the potential of Jonathan Baldwin and the presence of Steve Breaston, the situation wouldn’t be desperate without Bowe, just less than idea. But the flip side of that is even with a full deck of Bowe, Baldwin and Breaston, you can make a credible argument for fitting another quality receiver into the offense.
It doesn’t look like Kansas City would use their first-round pick, and unless Justin Blackmon tumbles into their lap at #11 I don’t think they should. But here are three wide receivers that ESPN’s Scouts Inc. rates as second-round choices that would make tempting targets…
Kendall Wright (Baylor): Wright ran a poor 40 time at the combine in Indianapolis, and so scouts have thrown out years of watching him play football and downgraded him on that basis. Even though it’s for all the wrong reasons, Wright is now at where he belongs. He was once rated a Top 20 prospect, but that’s a stretch for someone who’s a pure finesse receiver, able to move extremely well laterally and make plays after the catch, but with problems getting open against physical corners and needing polish in his route running. But the high second round? Now he sounds like a value choice.
Reuben Randle (LSU): Scouts love his ball skills and his ability to play against physical corners. His raw speed isn’t dynamic, but nor is it a weakness. Like Wright, he needs work on his route-running skills, as scouts feel he takes a few too many steps getting into the pattern.
Alshon Jeffrey (South Carolina): I like Jeffrey more than presumed first-round pick Michael Floyd of Notre Dame. Jeffrey produced in an offense that was wracked by quarterback instability, has good ball skills and the size to be a good NFL receiver. His footwork may drop him into the second round—scouts want to see him use fewer steps off the ball and also to use his body to better leverage his way open against press coverage.
The common theme among all three receivers is the need for increased polish in their ability to run routes. That’s something you can work on with a rookie and it’s not an unreasonable problem for a second-round pick to have. I’d have no problem if Pioli calls the name of any of these three with the draft’s 43rd pick.
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