I had the top pick in the draft when I was with the Jets in 1996, but we knew all along the player we really wanted.
We released the same formula the Chiefs disclosed to check the signability of the top players. The Chiefs sound like they want a deal done before the draft, which is great, but if all four refuse the proposals presented to them, then the team will draft the guy they wanted all along. If their real first or second choice balks, they will not settle for the third or fourth choice. I suspect that's just a smokescreen.
Instead, they will draft the player they wanted all along and wait until the market settles down, which means their selection will not be signed early. Without a big rookie contract waiting for the top pick -- no matter who it is -- the players and agents don't really hold the top pick in the high regard it once demanded.
The truth sounds more like Kansas City can't get any team to move up and take their spot, even though, in theory, the Chiefs could move down to the fourth spot and still get a player they desire. I suspect the Chiefs will not move down, not have a player signed before the draft and claim they got the guy they wanted all along. The old pressure tactics when the top spot meant a lot more money than the fourth spot could get a player to take a bargain deal at No. 1 rather than potentially wait to the No. 4 spot.
I would guess Eric Fisher, the left tackle from Central Michigan, would love the little extra cash the No. 1 spot would bring, but he might merely be leverage against Luke Joeckel, the left from Texas A&M, at this point in the game. My experience tells me the agents for the top four players are already talking to each other about the Chiefs' strategy to find the 'right' player.
Niners in tremendous position
The San Francisco 49ers are really in the driver's seat with the draft coming up. They have a Super Bowl team practically returning intact. They have a terrific young QB whom they don't even have to negotiate with for another year, and they just traded for Colt McCoy to be the young backup QB.
Granted, they lost S Dashon Goldson and TE Delanie Walker, among others, but I was told they weren't going to keep Goldson anyway. In the meantime, they acquired Anquan Boldin, Glenn Dorsey and Craig Dahl to fortify an already solid roster. Now comes the real power brokers, if they want to build even a better team and have plenty of good picks for the future.
The 49ers have 13 draft picks and have the ability to move up in any round given the firepower they have with four picks in the top 93. They can sell some of the 13 picks, because 13 rookies couldn't make a team like this in 2013. Strategically, trading three or four of these picks usually means a pick back in 2014 a round higher than traded. For example, the Niners could trade pick No. 74 (the 10th pick in the third round) for a second-round pick in 2014.
The perfect plan for the 49ers would be to move up twice in the draft for targeted players using four picks to get two players, select five more players with picks they already have, and trade away four picks for future selections in 2014. The Niners would come out of the 2013 draft with at least two starters, fortified special teams, quality backups and should go in the 2014 draft with at least 12 picks -- five in the top 100. That's how dynasties are built.
Did you ever hear of David Bass?
David Bass played defensive end for Missouri Western over the past four years. He was not recruited to any Division I schools because his high school team was so bad, colleges didn't come calling. He started 50 games at Missouri Western and grew into a 6-foot-4, 262-pound pass rusher who finished with 41 sacks, 56 tackles for a loss (97 plays behind the line of scrimmage) and defended 25 passes as well as five interceptions. He told me all five picks happened when he anticipated a quick throw and jumped up and grabbed it. He is an athlete who ran 4.69 at his pro day. His best numbers in the weight room are a 375-pound bench press, 365-pound power clean and 615-pound full squat.
In my interview with Bass this week, I was impressed with his knowledge of the game, his arsenal of pass-rush moves, his dedication to the weight room and his leadership traits. He's not going to be a first- or second-round pick, but he is going to be someone's lucky pick, and he has a chance to be another example of solid NFL players who came from small schools.
The NFL clubs know about Bass; there's no hiding players now like they did in the "old days." An NFL defensive coach tell me, "Bass is the real deal. He will play in the Sunday afternoon league. We need more guys like him in this draft."