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2012 NFL Draft: Kansas City Chiefs Latest News, Rumors and Storylines

Farzin VousoughianContributor IIIApril 16, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Kansas City Chiefs Latest News, Rumors and Storylines

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    With the 2012 NFL Draft nearly upon us, the Chiefs are looking to retool so they can enter the 2012 season with a team that is ready to contend for the AFC West.

    This offseason, the Chiefs successfully added depth on the offense through free agency. Although head coach Romeo Crennel claims that the team is heading into the draft without any holes on the roster, he's likely just putting up a smoke screen to keep other teams guessing about Kansas City's plans.

    The Chiefs signed several free agents and will be getting back three Pro Bowlers who suffered season-ending injuries at one point last season.

    Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli has a chance to complete the roster with a successful draft, giving the Chiefs a more talented and deeper team than last year.

    The Chiefs have the 11th pick in the draft and have some options, including trading down.

    Pioli may be looking to find at least two starters from this year's draft to help construct the "right 53".

Latest Chiefs Draft News, Rumors and Speculation

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    Some Chiefs fans are surprised to hear that the team has expressed interest in a quarterback.

    Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported that the Chiefs traveled to College Station earlier this month to check out Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. 

    They also looked at quarterback Brock Osweiler in a private workout with Arizona State, according to Terry McCormick of Yahoo! Sports.

    On April 10, the Chiefs hosted 17 prospects for Local Pro Day. Oklahoma left tackle and Blue Springs High School graduate Donald Stephenson impressed the Chiefs the most during the one-day workout.

    On the defensive side, Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe visited with the Chiefs and could be available when the Chiefs are on the clock in the first round if the Carolina Panthers don't take him with the ninth pick.

    In NFL.com's updated mock draft, Charles Casserly and Albert Breer believe the Chiefs will take Boston College inside linebacker Luke Kuechly. Chad Reuter predicts that Stanford guard David DeCastro will go to the Chiefs while Charles Davis thinks Tannheill is headed to Kansas City with the 11th pick.

    Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com both agree that the Chiefs will take a defensive tackle with the 11th pick. However, Rang projects the Chiefs taking LSU's Michael Brockers while Brugler has Poe making his way to Kansas City.

    With the Chiefs selecting 11th there are several possible directions, as opposed to 2009 and 2010, where the Chiefs were in the top five and it was obvious the week of the draft what Pioli would do.

Do the Chiefs Need a Quarterback in the Draft?

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    Since Matt Barkley decided to spend another season at USC, Ryan Tannehill's stock has soared this offseason. Tannehill is considered the best quarterback in this year's draft class after Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

    As for Osweiler, drafting him in the mid-rounds would defeat the purpose of drafting Ricky Stanzi last year.

    The bottom line is that Kansas City should not even bother considering a quarterback in this year's draft, especially since they got Stanzi last year and Brady Quinn this offseason. If they don't feel comfortable with either as a backup, they should look for a veteran in free agency.

    Tannehill is not worth taking with the 11th pick when Kansas City has other more important holes.

Will the Chiefs Take a Nose Tackle with the 11th Pick?

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    Kansas City's defense improved throughout the 2011 season after giving up a league-high 89 points in the first two games of the season. This offseason, Kansas City's defense has only one major hole and that is at nose tackle.

    Since switching to the 3-4 defensive scheme, the Chiefs have not had much luck with nose tackles.

    Crennel wants to find a nose tackle similar to Vince Wilfork, who he worked with as the defensive coordinator for New England.

    If the Chiefs go defense in the first round, Poe might be their best option. He would represent an instant upgrade over previous nose tackles Ron Edwards and Kelly Gregg.

    However even if the Chiefs pass on Poe in the first round, they have a great opportunity to find a nose tackle in the second round.

    Jerel Worthy out of Michigan State, Mike Martin out of Michigan and Devon Still out of Penn State may be there when the Chiefs are on the clock with the 44th pick. All three players have the ability to start and certainly have a great shot to do so if they're drafted by the Chiefs.

Can the Chiefs Land David DeCastro with the 11th Pick?

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    David DeCastro is considered the best guard entering this year's draft. For the Chiefs, he could be the perfect replacement for Brian Waters, who was released last year before training camp got underway.

    The Chiefs have a very reliable guard in Jon Asamoah and having DeCastro replace Ryan Lilja would be a smart move. However, Lilja believes he is ready to bounce back after what he has admitted was a "down year" last season.

    If Tannehill, Poe and DeCastro are all on the board when it is Kansas City's turn to select a player, the top choice should be DeCastro.

    Not only would taking DeCastro complete their offense after a strong offseason for the personnel office, but he could also give the Chiefs the best guard in the league for the next 10 years.

Is Trading Down a Possibility?

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    When the Chiefs had the third pick in the 2009 draft and the fifth pick in the 2010 draft, Pioli decided to take what he felt was the best player available at the time.

    But when Kansas City had the 21st pick going into last year's draft, Pioli pulled off a trade (as some had predicted because of his history with New England). Pioli traded the 21st pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the 26th pick and a chance to select Jonathan Baldwin, who the Chiefs were eyeing all along.

    Since Kansas City won't be drafting in the top five this year, is trading down for the second straight season a possibility?

    Pioli might very well entertain the idea of trading down. If Tannehill is still available, the Chiefs could get a lot of offers during their 10 minutes on the clock. But because the Chiefs are selecting 11th and not 21st, Pioli must demand a much steeper price for the presumed ability to select Tannehill.

    Another thing to consider is that the Chiefs could risk losing DeCastro or Poe, depending on how far they slip. The Chiefs cannot afford to pass up on a guard like DeCastro. In the end, Kansas City should go ahead and make a pick rather than trade down.

Will the Chiefs Take an Inside Linebacker Early in the Draft?

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    Some people want to see the Chiefs take an inside linebacker with the 11th pick, and Kuechly and Dont’a Hightower are the top ILB prospects on the board.

    The Chiefs are in an interesting position with their inside linebackers.

    They already have a solidified player in Derrick Johnson, who has improved, amassing 199 individual tackles in the last two years combined. Johnson started all 16 games alongside Jovan Belcher last season. The Chiefs signed Brandon Siler last year, but he suffered an injury shortly afterwards, missing the entire preseason and regular season in 2011.

    With Siler returning, the Chiefs could already have some competition brewing at inside linebacker.

    But what is the likelihood of Siler taking Belcher’s spot after missing an entire year of football? Regardless of whether he does or not, both Siler and Belcher stand to see plenty of snaps this year.

    If they go in another direction with their first rounder, the Chiefs may consider adding some depth to the linebacking corps in the second or third rounds. One option could be Mychal Kendricks out of California. The Chiefs could also come away with a good pickup in the fifth round by taking Jerry Franklin out of Arkansas.

    The Chiefs had a lot of missed tackles in 2011, even from their best players. Getting a linebacker early in the draft might be profitable for the Chiefs.

Will Matt Cassel Have Any New Targets to Throw To?

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    Last year's addition of Jonathan Baldwin didn't work out exactly as the Chiefs had hoped, after an off-the-field injury put the receiver out of action for the majority of the preseason and the first five games of the year.

    If the Chiefs can sign Dwayne Bowe to a long-term deal and bring him back to play with Steve Breaston and Baldwin, Cassel could go into Week 1 with a prepared group of receivers. The Chiefs' offense also has tight ends Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss to work with. Additional pass-catchers on the team will include running backs Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis and Dexter McCluster.

    The Chiefs offense is giving Cassel a lot to work with after an active offseason. Therefore, the chances of a receiver being taken in the early rounds are almost zero. Pioli might bring in a receiver in the later rounds, but that would be for depth purposes only.

    Who will the Chiefs take in the later rounds? It is hard to predict with wide receivers, after 28 of them were taken in last year's draft and 27 the year before.

    If Chiefs fans think Pioli will take an Iowa prospect for the third straight season, then Marvin McNutt could be a guy for fans to keep their eyes on during the fourth and fifth rounds.

Where Will the Chiefs Draft a Fullback?

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    The Chiefs will be without fullback Le'Ron McClain after the two-time Pro Bowler signed with the San Diego Chargers this offseason, making the fullback position an area of need that should be addressed in the draft.

    Shane Bannon is already on the roster after being taken in the seventh round of last year's draft.

    But if the Chiefs are looking for another fullback through the draft, they might look at Temple’s Evan Rodriguez in the middle rounds. Rodriguez is considered the best fullback in this year’s draft and might have a chance to be a starter for the Chiefs by Week 1.

    The Chiefs might also consider Brad Smelley out of Alabama towards the end of the draft if Rodriguez is off the board.

Is It Important to Take a Defensive Back in the Draft?

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    The Kansas City Chiefs defensive backs have the potential to be great this year with a dominant pass-rusher in Tamba Hali playing up front. Hali can force quarterbacks to throw ill-advised passes, giving the defensive backs an opportunity to come up with interceptions.

    Last year, safeties Eric Berry, Jon McGraw, Reshard Langford and Donald Washington missed 30 games combined. Kendrick Lewis was the only safety for Kansas City to start all 16 games while Sabby Piscitelli was available for all 16 games though he started in only two of them.

    The Chiefs might want to consider free safety Markelle Martin out of Oklahoma State in the third round. Should Berry have more bad luck, the Chiefs will need a reliable safety who could start right away if his number is called.

    As for cornerback, the Chiefs know what they have in returning corners Brandon Flowers and Javier Arenas. Despite not being able to retain Brandon Carr, the Chiefs came away with Stanford Routt in February to bolster a strong cast. But in a passing league, a cornerback might be considered at least once at some point in the draft every year.

    The Chiefs are not looking for a starter, but they would like to have some able bodies on the field when opposing teams come out with a four or five-receiver set.

    Arizona State’s Omar Bolden and Iowa State’s Leonard Johnson are possibilities at cornerback in the third round to give Kansas City some depth behind Flowers, Routt and Arenas.

Scott Pioli Is Ready for 2012

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    So many teams wanted Pioli as their general manager in 2009 because of his ability to evaluate talent and help the Patriots build an annual contender.

    The Chiefs have their coaching staff in place and have had a good offseason, so let's hope that Kansas City's draft adds the last few missing pieces to a team that could compete in the AFC West this year.

    All it takes is a good draft for Kansas City to surprise a lot of people in 2012.

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