KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs drafted someone from Hog Hammock and someone from Yale.
They took a guy who used to make his living frying chicken and a guy who worked in a jail.
Most of all, says Scott Pioli, they went a long way in the 2011 draft toward improving their team, both near-term and long.
“We believe we accomplished something that we’ve talked about consistently when we first started here,” said the Chiefs‘ third-year general manager. “We became a bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, tougher football team through this draft.”
With their first three picks over the first two days, the Chiefs focused laser-like on their three most pressing needs _ offensive line, wide receiver and outside linebacker.
With five selections in the final rounds on Saturday, depth and long-term projection seemed the dominant themes.
Jalil Brown, a 6-2, 204-pound cornerback and three-year starter at Colorado, was chosen in round four. Starters Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr are both young, ascending players and Flowers is considered one of the top young defensive backs in the league. But the Chiefs‘ depth at that crucial position is suspect.
A quarterback, always a popular choice among fans, was the decision with the first of two fifth-round selections. Ricky Stanzi of Iowa could replace Brodie Croyle as Matt Cassel’s backup. He threw for 3,004 yards and 25 touchdowns last year and had only six interceptions.
“We know Matt’s our starting quarterback but behind that, we don’t know what the situation is going to be,” Pioli said. “Philosophically, I like the idea of trying to get a quarterback every year. In my previous stops we’ve had some success with mid- and late-round quarterbacks that have developed. Ricky has a lot of things that we like as a staff and want to try to develop.”
Gabe Miller, a 257-pound linebacker from Oregon State, went to the Chiefs with their second pick in the fifth round. With their sixth-round choice, the Chiefs took Jerrell Powe, a huge defensive tackle whose weight fluctuates from about 320 pounds to around 345. He will be a prime candidate at noseguard, a position many fans hoped would be addressed earlier in the draft.
The third player from Mississippi the Chiefs have drafted in three years, Powe supported himself in 2005 working in a local jail.
“He’s a big guy who’s slimmed down to 328 pounds here recently,” said Pioli. “We’ll play him at the nose and he’ll be competing.”
Finally, with their choice in round seven, the Chiefs took a true “sleeper” in Yale fullback Shane Bannon. The 6-2, 245-pounder did not have any carries this past season and did not show up on anybody’s radar until just a few weeks ago.
He did catch 13 passes for 122 yards and sees himself as a blocking back in the NFL. He will also graduate in May with a degree in political science.
“No one knew about him because he didn’t have an agent,” said Pioli. “Once he had an agent, we did some research on him. Everyone on our offensive coaching staff took a look at him. Where people are picked doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how they’re going to perform in the National Football League.”