With the 23rd selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Dee Ford, defensive end out of Auburn. This pick is rather curious given the other needs that the Chiefs had, but one thing that’s not in doubt is that Ford is a very talented pass rusher.
The Chiefs already have Justin Houston and Tamba Hali as bookend pass rushers in their 3-4 defensive scheme, but they apparently felt they needed another player to get after the QB after blowing a 28-point lead against Indianapolis in this year’s playoffs. Ford played defensive end in a 4-3 at Auburn, so he’ll have to make the transition to standing up as a rush OLB and covering in space.
Many figured the Chiefs would target their thin receiving corps or an offensive line that was decimated by free-agent defections, but Andy Reid and Scott Pioli decided to defer the chance to grab help at those spots. Kansas City doesn’t have a 2nd-round pick this year thanks to the Alex Smith trade with San Francisco, which makes this choice even more of a head scratcher. The Chiefs defense was one of the team’s biggest strengths last season, so it comes as a surprise that they eschewed needs on the offensive side of the ball to further add to the defense.
Kansas City’s wide receiver depth chart is not much to write home about, with Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, and not much else. As a result, they’ll now have to wait until the 3rd round, at the earliest, to grab some help for Smith.
While it’s difficult to chastise a team for selecting a player they feel was the best on the board when they selected, certain picks can definitely be more highly scrutinized than others. This pick is certainly one of them. Although I believe Ford will eventually become a nice player for KC, it’s difficult to justify taking a rotational pass-rusher over more pressing needs. As a result, the final grade the Chiefs get for this pick is a C.