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Insider Blog: Competition and Versatility

Posted Apr 23, 2010

Each of Kansas City's five picks share the same core traits

When it was all said and done, the Chiefs did a little bit of everything in the draft’s second-day. The end result saw Kansas City finish Friday night owning the rights to five of the first 93 players that came off the board.

The fifth came as a bit of a surprise as many of the Chiefs faithful had probably gone on their way with Friday night plans, following the Chiefs selection of Illinois G Jon Asamoah with the 68th overall selection. Kansas City wasn’t scheduled to pick again until Saturday morning and only three tradable picks remained in day two’s draft coverage before the Chiefs round a way back on the clock.

Pioli pulled the trigger on a trade up to the 93rd overall selection to choose Iowa TE Tony Moeaki at the end of the third round. Whenever a team moves up in the draft, it’s to go and select a targeted player. Moeaki was that player on this occasion and it essentially cost Pioli only his weakest fifth-round pick to do so (the Texans and Chiefs swapped third and fourth round picks to complete the trade).

“(Moeaki) was a player we were talking about earlier,” Pioli said. “We didn’t know what the sweet spot was going to be to try to pick him up and he was a player that as we were sitting there and as you run out of picks at the end of the day, you’re kind of looking at the board saying ‘Ok, we’re going to be picking the next day. Who are the players in play for who we’ll want at that point in time when we start the next day?’

“We were sitting there and the opportunity came where we felt like giving up that late of a fifth-round pick, our last fifth-round pick to be able to move up into this round and get a player that we really felt would have really been the guy, one of the couple guys that we’d have been disappointed if we lost before it was our turn to pick,” Pioli continued.

Although his college numbers aren’t eye-popping (76 catches for 953 yards during a five-year career which featured a medical redshirt), Moeaki packs potential as he was the nation’s top-ranked tight end coming out of high school in 2004. He’s also viewed as a player who can split outside and play in a two-point stance as well as settle into a role as an h-back at the pro level.

With a wide receiver, tight end, guard and cornerback selected over the course of the second day, Pioli added a number of new pieces to the 2010 puzzle. However, the theme surrounding those four choices all carried a similar message.

Before the final two picks of the day had been submitted, the common themes around Kansas City’s selections seemed to revolve around speed and athleticism. Both Ole Miss WR Dexter McCluster and Alabama CB Javier Arenas represent smaller players with big-time speed, anticipatory skills and play-making ability. Speed kills and the Chiefs have lacked overall team speed for several seasons.

“I think we need to improve our team speed,” Pioli said. “When we first got here, watching ourselves on tape in preseason games and in regular season games, something we thought we saw as a difference with the other teams we were playing was team speed – overall team speed.”

After adding the two SEC standouts to the roster, Kansas City sat with three picks over two days (Eric Berry, McCluster and Arenas) that all excel in space. In the third-round, it was time to add some beef and create competition yet stay on common course.

“The big thing is, we are trying to improve the competition on this football team,” Pioli said. “That makes everyone better.”

Nothing in that regard was more obvious on the second day than the selection of Illinois OL Jon Asamoah at the top of the third round. Already having signed two unrestricted free agents (Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann) to help boaster the interior offensive line and returning two starters (Brian Waters and Rudy Niswanger) from the interior a year ago, Pioli still decided to use a high pick on the position.

Specific to Asamoah, who started 37 games at guard while at Illinois, the Chiefs are getting a player who has the ability to man all three positions along the interior of the offensive line if asked to do so.

“Versatility is very important,” Pioli said. “It speaks to a couple different things. It has to do with athletic ability obviously, but I think it also has to do with intelligence.

“Jon started at guard for three years, but he has also played quite a bit of center in practice – we know that about him,” Pioli continued. “Versatility is a very important part because it does a number of things: it allows you to save roster spots not only on the 53-man but it also allows you to make better decisions on game-day as you prepare your 45-man game-day roster.”

All five of Kansas City’s 2010 draft picks offer some sort of versatility…

1) Berry seems to be able to play anywhere in the defensive backfield

2) McCluster’s flexibility as a collegiate wildcat/running back/wide receiver/return specialist is well documented

3) Arenas can return kicks as well as man coverage positions in the defensive backfield

4) Asamoah can potentially play three positions in the trenches

5) Moeake has the ability to split out wide or play h-back (hybrid fullback/tight end)

“A guy that can play a couple different positions allows you to have more flexibility or have other players up for that time,” Pioli said.

Competition and Versatility: will the theme continue with the Chiefs final two picks of 2010?

On slate for Saturday the Chiefs currently have two picks, both in the fifth round. Barring more trade activity Kansas City is scheduled to pick fifth (136th overall) and 11th (142nd overall) in round five.

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