Despite the rumors and discussion concerning the offensive or defensive line, Matt Cassel has to be the happiest teammate at this point with the curveball of a selection in the first round with Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin. The Chiefs have a hole at wide receiver, of course, with only Dwayne Bowe serving as any sort of reliable target for Cassel, but Baldwin’s checkered history coupled with holes at key positions make this a surprise choice.
The knock against Baldwin comes in key areas that seem contradictory to the draft mantra of Scott Pioli. After last year where nearly every Chiefs draft choice was a team captain and/or a high character guy, Pioli’s first strike this year is known for violent legal troubles, attitude issues and being a distraction at Pitt in general. Perhaps a team has to acquire enough high character players to handle possible risks like Baldwin, but it does send a mixed message.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to not fall in love with Baldwin’s potential with this tremendous size (6-4, 228) and speed. He averaged nearly 20 yards per catch and has top end speed. The stats are limited for Baldwin with only 5 touchdowns amid 53 catches for 822 yards. In 2009, Baldwin had a much better season with 1,111 yards and 8 touchdowns. The big play potential is clearly there, but the Chiefs need to make sure he stays focused year-round and goes with a program in place.