Archive for Sunday, April 25, 2004

Chiefs’ top pick a big one

K.C. selects 344-pound defensive tackle Siavii

April 25, 2004


— The Kansas City Chiefs' biggest player just became No. 2.

Junior Siavii (see-uh-VEE), a hulking 344-pound defensive tackle from Oregon, was the first choice in Saturday's NFL draft of a Chiefs' team noticeably lacking in heft and muscle.

"There's one thing he has that you can't coach, and that's size," said coach Dick Vermeil. "We don't have anybody who's that big."

The Chiefs took Siavii with the fifth pick in the second round, which they acquired from Detroit in a last-minute trade that sent their first-round pick -- No. 30 overall -- to the Lions. The Chiefs also got Detroit's pick in the fourth round, plus a fifth-round selection in 2005.

With their second pick later in round two, the team that features five-time Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez took Kris Wilson, a tight end from Pittsburgh. Keyaron Fox, a 6-2, 227-pound linebacker from Georgia Tech, was Kansas City's choice in the third round

"Don't think of him as just a tight end," Vermeil said of the 6-1, 248-pound Wilson. "He'll play tight end. But he can be in the backfield and go to tight end and have actually a third receiver in the game, but not end up with a nickel defense."

Wilson, who caught 44 passes for 643 yards and nine touchdowns, also will be slotted for special teams.

Chiefs' president Carl Peterson described Siavii, who started 11 games at right defensive tackle for Oregon, as "an aggressive, physical, sometimes mean player."

The native of Pago Pago, American Samoa, does not seem to lack confidence.

"I would say it would be bad luck for the offenses to try to hold me one-on-one," he said. "It's bad luck for any O-lineman to be one-on-one with me. If it's a run, they better run around. Run the other way. Don't run my way. Leave my gap alone."

One major need the Chiefs identified going into the draft -- wide receiver -- was not addressed at all.

Vermeil was careful to say he does not expect Siavii to start his rookie year. But the Chiefs will be disappointed if he cannot make an immediate impact on a miserable defense that ranked 29th overall last year during a 13-3 campaign.

During his senior year at Oregon, he had what Kansas City personnel chief Lynn Stiles described as one of the most impressive plays he saw all year.

"Against Stanford, he took (the offensive guard) off the line of scrimmage and threw him at the quarterback. I thought that was pretty good," Stiles said. "He doesn't even have an idea of how good he probably can be."

Siavii's journey to the NFL has included three years at two junior colleges and a year of sitting out before he became eligible in 2002 at Oregon, where he was a part-time starter.

Peterson said Siavii was the player the Chiefs would have taken at No. 30 even without making the deal with Detroit.

"Without any question, we can say this is one large man," said Peterson. "The reason to move back, No. 1, is to acquire additional choices. We're picking at the end of each round, and we'd like to get a couple of more choices if we can. And we were able to do that -- a high fourth- round and a fifth-round pick in '05."

Siavii was the fifth defensive tackle taken overall in a draft that's supposed to be deep at the position.

"He has good agility," Vermeil said. "He's very raw. He'll be the kind of guy that his second year here should really, really start being able to totally utilize his physical athletic ability and size and power.

"We all know we have to stop the run better than we've been doing. I think a big man like this will definitely make that kind of positive contribution."

He easily outweighs anybody else on the roster.

"He's not fat," Vermeil said. "He is not a fat man. This guy has not fluctuated in body weight. This is what he is.

"To think he's going to come in here and startle everybody right off the bat, I don't think so. But I think he has tremendous upside. When you're picking the 30th pick, more often than not you're not picking a Pro Bowl player.

Could he start right away?

"Don't be surprised if it happens," Siavii said.

Wilson said he was a longtime fan of Gonzalez.

"I can't explain how excited I am right now," he said. "(Gonzalez) is a guy I look up to and look forward to working with."

There is no reason for Gonzalez to worry because the Chiefs took a tight end, said a smiling Peterson.

"We love Tony," he said. "This is just an opportunity for a player we thought could enhance not only the offense but the entire football team."

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