- John Clayton, NFL senior writer
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According to numerous experts, the Kansas City Chiefs had the best draft. Now, they have to pay for those players.
The Chiefs received the highest rookie pool numbers by the NFL, a source said on Wednesday. With 12 draft choices -- two first-rounders taken in the top 15 -- the Chiefs have a rookie pool of $8,221,790, tops in the league. Not only do they have two first-rounders to sign, but they have a second and three thirds.
Even though agents and teams get around the rookie pool with contract escalators, post first-year option bonuses and one-time incentives, the rookie pool was created to somehow slot the signings of draft choices by the position they were selected. Each selection in the draft is given a value, which is a predetermined cap number. All rookies, including undrafted rookies, have to fit within the assigned rookie pool.
The Atlanta Falcons ended up with the second highest total at $7,918,670. They had four selections among the first 68 picks, including two first-rounders. They had six picks in the first 98.
The Miami Dolphins signed Michigan tackle Jake Long to a five-year, $57.75 million deal that had a $3 million cap number. That contract left $3.538,400 for the other eight draft choices, which include two seconds and a third.
The lowest total went to the Cleveland Browns, who had only five choices, none in the first three rounds. Their rookie pool is only $1.789,980 million.
With the fifth overall pick, the Chiefs took LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, who some had proclaimed the best player in the 2008 draft.
The Chiefs followed that up by taking Virginia offensive lineman Branden Albert of Virginia with the 15th overall selection. They likely will plug him in at tackle.
The Chiefs received the largest rookie pool to pay draft choices.