Exploring Every Team Need the Kansas City Chiefs Must Address in 2012 NFL Draft
Fans are excited with what Scott Pioli has done with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason.
The signings of Brady Quinn, Peyton Hillis, Kevin Boss and Eric Winston on offense and Stanford Routt on defense have Chiefs fans already looking forward to the draft, waiting anxiously to see who else Pioli will bring to Kansas City.
Pioli's ability to evaluate talent in New England is what landed him a job as a general manager for the Chiefs. With all of the new talent Pioli has recruited through free agency, Chiefs fans are hopeful that Pioli will follow through with a strong draft.
Kansas City could have a season similar to the one in 2010, in which they won 10 games in a stealthy manner. The Chiefs stunned many teams and the media with their impressive season. Pioli has a chance to give his franchise a big name again, when it is least expected.
In order for that to happen, the Chiefs must address a couple of holes in the draft in order for them to take a strong team to St. Joesph, Mo. come training camp.
We will go in order with the top need first.
With the addition of Winston at right tackle, the Chiefs can complete rebuilding the offensive line by taking the top ranked guard in this year's draft.
David DeCastro played a vital role in helping Andrew Luck succeed with Stanford. Luck played behind a gifted guard in DeCastro, who rarely let defenders slip through and sack Luck.
DeCastro would certainly bring flashbacks of All-Pro guard Will Shields if selected by the Chiefs. The Chiefs' offense will improve as a whole by taking a strong guard in DeCastro.
If the Chiefs forgo the option of taking a guard with the 11th pick, then that means they must be considering nose tackle Dontari Poe.
Poe would give the Chiefs something they have never had since switching to the 3-4 defense in 2009. Neither Ron Edwards nor Kelly Gregg managed to provide a strong push through the middle and invade the offensive backfield and apply pressure on the quarterback.
Kansas City must consider Poe in order to have a strong core of pass-rushers in 2012. The Chiefs know what they have in outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston and inside linebacker Derrick Johnson. If Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson can provide a small push of their own at times and if Poe is playing for the Chiefs, opposing offensive coordinators will often want to put in tailbacks, tight ends and an extra tackle just to pick up a blitz to help their quarterback.
If the Chiefs continue to put pressure from their outside linebackers and get some pressure from Poe in the middle, it will help Kansas City's defense get off the field sooner and let their offense take over.
By the time we arrive at the third round, teams begin to realize that not every player from this point forward available in the draft can start. However, they could help a franchise build some depth.
Last season, the Chiefs were thin at safety after Eric Berry suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 and Jon McGraw was inactive for six games. Unexpectedly, Sabby Piscitelli saw action in all 16 games and saw a lot of playing time while Kendrick Lewis was the only safety who started every game for the Chiefs.
Kansas City must look for a safety in this year's draft to add some depth. The Chiefs must make sure this is also a player who will be ready to take the field if the safeties ahead of him struggle staying healthy.
Going after Antonio Allen from South Carolina might be a smart move in the third round. The draft almost never has a good class of safeties. The earlier a safety is taken, the better. Once the Chiefs address some key needs, going after Allen should be a consideration.
The first move the Chiefs made this offseason through free agency was signing cornerback Stanford Routt after he was released by the Oakland Raiders. This eventually led to the loss of Brandon Carr, who signed with the Cowboys.
Routt is a good corner, but like safety, the Chiefs will need a lot of bodies at the cornerback position.
In a pass-driven league, teams must have a strong core of defensive backs. Keeping Carr with Brandon Flowers and Routt would have given the Chiefs a great foundation. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Pioli will have an opportunity to select a cornerback to build depth in the later rounds of the draft.
At this point, some of you may be wondering why a quarterback has not been mentioned.
There are not many good quarterbacks available. The Chiefs were not successful in retaining Kyle Orton and Peyton Manning had no interest in Kansas City.
The Chiefs are going with Matt Cassel as their starting quarterback in Week 1, if he is healthy. This assumption can be made as the Chiefs signed Brady Quinn, who will most likely back up Cassel since he has not played a game in over two years.
Ricky Stanzi is likely to stay with the team. But Iowa Hawkeye fans need to remain calm and understand that Stanzi is not going to challenge for a starting role. Hawkeye nation has made a presence in Kansas City, but that doesn't make Stanzi worthy of being a starter.
With that said, the Chiefs have a quarterback in Cassel and two young players behind him in Quinn and Stanzi. Unless the Chiefs pull a miracle and land Luck or Robert Griffin III, bringing in another young quarterback won't do the Chiefs any good.
Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star wrote an article on Wednesday that should draw some intriguing reactions. Head coach Romeo Crennel believes that with five free-agent signings, the team has no major holes that need to be filled, allowing them to be very flexible in the draft.
After reading this slideshow, do you believe the Chiefs have any major needs going into the draft? Do you think the Chiefs still have a lot of room to improve?
Perhaps Crennel wants to motivate his troops rather than talk about the weaknesses the team still has. Crennel has been around many smart football coaches and managers and knows whether or not he has a good team before him. Sharing what he believes might not be important to him.
Crennel, Pioli and everyone else on the Chiefs' coaching staff will need to think together this year in the draft. A successful draft could make a big difference and help the Chiefs return to the postseason.