Chiefs #1: OLB Dee Ford

With the Kansas City Chiefs on the clock, everyone thought they'd take one of the top wide receivers left on the board. But instead, they threw a wrinkle and selected one of the better pass rushers available. By selecting Auburn defensive end, Dee Ford, they made it clear their defense had to be fixed if they had any intentions on getting back into the playoffs.

When you look at the Kansas City Chiefs defense a year ago they started the season on pace to set a record in NFL sacks. But injuries to pass rushers, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, derailed the defense as the competition they faced significantly improved.

In 2014, the Chiefs will have a serviceable pass rusher they can add to their defense. But ultimately by selecting Ford, it does give the team a successor to Hali, who has two years left on his mega rich contract. This draft move suggests Hali won't be with Kansas City in 2015 or 2016. And if reports are accurate Hali reported to off season workouts some twenty pounds over his playing weight, he might not be with the Chiefs in 2014.

That issue aside, passing on USC Wide Receiver, Marqise Lee (despite his knee issue), was a big risk by Head Coach, Andy Reid and General Manager, John Dorsey, this move is not without strong substantial merit. The Chiefs defense needs significant upgrades on the playmaker side.

With Ford, who probably was an early second round pick heading into the draft a month ago, he was determined to be a first round pick. As recently as Wednesday, he told reporters his pass rushing skills exceeded those of Jadeveon Clowney, who went to the Houston Texans with the first overall pick.

That's a strong statement to make for a young man who already displays an incredible amount of humility for such a young prospect. That said Ford is perfectly suited to make the switch from defensive end at the college level to outside linebacker with the Chiefs. The good news is that Ford is a pure pass rusher and a player who isn't fazed by the pressure of the game. He had eight sacks for the Tigers last year and played some of his best football in big games at Auburn.

When asked about selecting Lee with their first round pick, Reid talked about not having enough good pass rushers on his team. He more than anyone else in the organization must have lost more than a few nights sleep after his defense squandered a four touchdown lead in the third quarter against the Colts in the Wild Card round last January

Still Ford comes to the Chiefs with some risk attached. He's battled injuries and he is a one-dimensional player. He's not strong against the run but does that fact make this pick somewhat questionable? Maybe but the same flaws exist for Hali, who still struggles against the run. Yet he's made a few pro bowls in a Chiefs uniform.

Even further for those looking for that silver lining with this pick, the same was said about Houston a few years ago when the same questions were raised about his game. In three years since he joined the Chiefs out of the University of Georgia, Houston has turned into the teams best all around linebacker. If Ford can stay healthy, he'll provide an interesting opportunity for the Chiefs defense to rotate three pass rushers in and out of each series.

That's something the Chiefs defense has sorely lacked in recent years and that certainly played a factor as to why he was drafted in the first round by Kansas City this year.

Even if you're on the fence with the Chiefs first round selection, it's far too early to predict if it's a good pick or not. But you have to love the fact, Ford ended his first press conference with the local media by stating he wanted to be a Kansas City Chief for life.

With this selection it's clear one of my biggest concerns for the Chiefs heading into this draft might have been their willingness to upgrade the offense first without adding enough new pieces to their suspect defense.

By adding one of the top edge rushers in this draft, its clear Kansas City intended to shore up its defense first and adding Ford was a good, sound and safe football move.


WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Did the Chiefs make the right pick with Dee Ford?


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