View Full Version : Chiefs Clark Judge: Chiefs having great draft...

04-23-2010, 10:26 PM
Five observations: Chiefs score with McCluster, Arenas (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/story/13284559/five-observations-chiefs-score-with-mccluster-arenas)

NEW YORK -- It took two days for quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy to find homes, but at least it happened -- more evidence that the housing market is, in fact, loosening.

But why do guys rated ahead of Tim Tebow get drafted behind him? Ah, that's why I'm here, folks, with five observations from the second day of the NFL Draft.

Great Scott, we have a winner

A year ago, I didn't get what Kansas City GM Scott Pioli was doing in the draft. He took Ty Jackson with the third overall pick, and it made no sense to me. Then Jackson went out and did -- uh, nothing, and it made less sense. So Pioli returns this year, gets off to a flying start and, suddenly, is the early leader in comeback of the year voting. Getting Eric Berry with the fifth pick was smart, but it wasn't all that difficult to make. Most boards had Berry in the top six, and the Chiefs' best safety, Bernard Pollard, was no longer a Chief. They let him go prior to last season, so there was a need at the position. OK, fine. But Pioli made his mark in the second round, scoring two bull's-eyes with his choices.

First was Dexter McCluster, a game-breaking running back/wide receiver/return specialist who is perfect for a team that needs playmakers. So McCluster is small -- pick your spots. He's Darren Sproles, and you'll love him, Chiefs' fans. Then Pioli has the 50th overall choice and finds Javier Arenas, the best blitzing defensive back in the draft and a marvelous return specialist. All Arenas did was come within 11 yards of setting a national career punt return record, and if the Chiefs' defense can stop anyone, that will come in handy. "He can start from Day 1 I believe," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. "I think that's a great pick. I love what Kansas City has done."

Cleveland rocks

If Drew Brees can do it, why can't Colt McCoy? Cleveland is about to find out. The Brees Experiment lives there, with the Browns taking McCoy with the 85th pick and hoping against hope that McCoy works out as well as Brees. At six feet, Brees was supposed to be too small to play in the NFL, and we see how well that worked out.

"I know," one AFC offensive coordinator told me, "but tell me how many smallish quarterbacks, guys six feet and under, made it in the last two decades."

OK, I can think of two: Brees and Doug Flutie. Of course, McCoy isn't six feet, he's 6-1. So what? He's still considered too small, with some pro scouts questioning his arm strength, too.

"Obviously," said former Baltimore coach Brian Billick, now an analyst with the NFL Network, "he's not the prototypical size, so, naturally the talk is, 'Let's talk about Drew Brees.' Well, let's wait a minute here. Let's be careful. In height comparison, yes, he's like Drew Brees, but let's not just link that. Let's not just link that. I think we saw Jake Plummer shoot up the draft charts [in 2000] when Bill Walsh made the casual comment that he reminded him of Joe Montana. And people were going, 'If Bill Walsh says he's remind me of Joe Montana ...' And all of sudden guys get elevated. Now they're saying give the fans a reference point, and it's, OK, he's a little undersized like Drew Brees. Then it becomes this guy is Drew Brees. You better be careful. There's a little bit of a jump there."

All I know is that when Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are your best options at quarterback you better find a young quarterback to develop. Taking a chance on the winningest quarterback in NCAA history -- in the third round, no less -- makes sense. Now, can he make it work? I don't know. But he at least has a chance with Mike Holmgren in Cleveland. "I think it's a perfect fit for Colt," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "He will be so excited about this pick and excited about going to Cleveland."

Here's why, Philadelphia

There was talk in the first round that Philadelphia would trade up for Texas safety Earl Thomas. Well, that was half right. The Eagles traded up, but not for Thomas. They picked up defensive end Brandon Graham with the 13th choice and waited for their safety in the second -- and Nate Allen, come on down. The Eagles took the South Florida free safety with the second-round pick they gained in the Donovan McNabb deal, and I know what some Eagles' fans are thinking: Why not Taylor Mays? He was on the board when Philadelphia picked, and he blew the lid off his workout numbers.

So why not Mays? Because he's Michael Lewis, and the Eagles had enough of safeties who can't cover the field. They look at Mays more as a linebacker than a safety, someone who can blow up running backs but can cover receivers. They wanted someone who can go sideline to sideline, and Allen -- who had nine interceptions in his career and who rarely was beaten by the long ball -- was the better choice.

Perfect landing for Clausen

I have no idea why Jimmy Clausen fell as far as he did -- he should've gone in the first round but he didn't. He should have gone near the top of the second but he didn't. Instead, Carolina rescued him with the 48th overall pick, and tell me he doesn't go to Carolina determined to prove others wrong. That's what Aaron Rodgers said when he fell to the 24th spot in the 2005 draft, and he lived up to his word. But at least Rodgers was a first-round pick; Clausen was not. Rodgers could sit behind Brett Favre; Clausen sits behind no veteran and may not sit behind anyone. Instead, he'll challenge incumbent Matt Moore, 4-1 last season, and push for the starting job. I would expect no less. But here's why I like him in Carolina: Because there's no pressure to carry the team.

The Panthers run the ball; they don't throw it. So the weight is off Clausen's shoulders, Moore's shoulders or whoever winds up with the job there. I understand that Clausen was disappointed he lasted so long, but it happens. And here it might wind up being the best thing for him. "You're talking about a guy who if he's forced to play," said Billick, "there's not another team that is as committed to running the ball. [Coach John Fox] has the backs to do it. He has the offensive line to do it. He's got big receivers. They're going to be pretty good on defense. If, indeed it turns out that way [that Clausen starts], it could be a perfect scenario. I think it's an ideal place for Jimmy Clausen to land." I'll second that.

Bruce the Not Mighty

I can only imagine the disappointment Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell experienced this week. There were a lot of mock drafts -- including ours on CBSSports.com -- that weeks ago projected him going not only in the first round of the draft but at the eighth spot to the Oakland Raiders. Then this week arrived, and we all bailed out, finally acknowledging that not even the Raiders were bold enough to reach for someone with 17 career starts. So Campbell dropped, and he should have. But he didn't stop dropping. And dropping. And dropping. Check the list of the best available players today. He's there with USC defensive end Everson Griffen, both of whom at one time were projected as first-round draft picks. Please stand by, Bruce, Saturday is your day.