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Maybe Jackson was worth the third pick?

By: Kent Babb Kansas City Star

We’ve had some time now to consider the Chiefs’ bold act of drafting former LSU defensive lineman Tyson Jackson with the No. 3 overall pick. And I keep hearing and reading the same things: Was that a reach?

Here’s my quick opinion and one I’ve shared a few times in public over the past nine days: It’s only a reach if you trust the mock drafts as gospel. There’s no doubt Aaron Curry was linked with the Chiefs for months, and he seems to possess the tools to become an instant superstar, if not a perfect fit for the Chiefs. Kansas City could’ve still passed on Curry and upgraded its offensive line for upward of the next decade, and it’s a good bet that no one would’ve muttered one belch of criticism as a result.

But Jackson, he was so far down the board on these mock drafts, it might have made the Chiefs look desperate, misinformed and stubborn. The only one of those adjectives I’d agree with is desperate, as Kansas City was desperate — and needed to be — to upgrade its defense and particularly its defensive line. No, Jackson isn’t an automatic upgrade over last year’s pass-rushing letdown, but that didn’t appear to be the Chiefs’ point in drafting him.

At his most basic offering, Jackson allows the Chiefs to run the defense they want to run. They wanted to move to the 3-4, and Jackson’s selection makes it possible. Without Jackson, the Chiefs’ 3-4 defensive line probably would’ve looked, from left to right, something like Turk McBride, Tank Tyler and Glenn Dorsey — all three learning the 3-4 after a year in hardcore 4-3 mode. Now, they’re able to insert a natural 3-4 end and make the corresponding shifts.

Imagine saving and saving for the car of your dreams and finding only that rare Corvette in a junkyard somewhere. It’s not in great shape, maybe some deep dents and rust spots here and there, but it has potential with the right care and work, time of course being a factor. But it has no steering wheel, and repairing that is something that probably should be at the top of the priority list. There’s a wheel in the display case at the cash register, and it is more than you’d like to pay. But it’s at least available, and you know that if you don’t buy that wheel now, you’ll be staring at a broken-down car for at least the next year. Splurging for it, though, lets you move toward more cosmetic upgrades, such as a new paint job and refurbishing the seats — things that aren’t critical to the machine working but instead are pieces of the puzzle that certainly aren’t as essential as the steering wheel.

Tyson Jackson is a costly upgrade. But he at least allows the Chiefs to steer themselves toward a better direction. Yes, some other draft picks might have made a little more sense, but it’s nice for a chance to see the Chiefs have a clear plan and stick with it.

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