With the draft rapidly approaching, many fans are thinking about who their team will pick up. The Chiefs hold the third pick in the NFL draft this year, and they have a lot of holes to fill. The biggest holes would obviously be on the defensive line and at linebacker. Here’s a breakdown of the team and what Scott Pioli and Todd Haley need to address.
Kansas City has obviously just traded for Matt Cassel, and we also have Tyler Thigpen returning. The quarterback position should remain stable for a number of years.
Disgruntled running back Larry Johnson has repeated several times this offseason that he wishes to be traded or released. Hopefully Pioli and Haley can work things out with Johnson. He is a solid player behind a productive offensive line, and now that the quarterback situation has been established, our run game should return to its normal form.
Pair LJ up with the speedy Jamaal Charles from Texas, and you’ve got quite a duo. Charles can complement Johnson in a number of ways if used correctly.
Dantrell Savage and Jackie Battle didn’t see too much playing time last season, but both could contribute if they see the field. Mike Cox was found to be a solid fullback last season, and it doesn’t appear that the Chiefs would try to replace him.
We spent our 2007 first round pick on Dwayne Bowe, a receiver from LSU. Bowe has had flashes of brilliance, being one of the best receivers out of that class. This past season, however, he was plagued with drops. I wouldn’t blame that all on him, however; he did have three different people passing him the ball.
Apart from Bowe, we don’t have too many other solid receivers. Mark Bradley was a nice addition from the Bears, but I don’t believe he is our solid number two. Will Franklin was drafted in the fourth round but also didn’t contribute too much. Devard Darling appeared here and there with a big catch but was never too involved in the game.
While we have much bigger needs, I wouldn’t be surprised if we took Michael Crabtree from Texas Tech with our third pick. Cassel needs more weapons on this offense.
As long as we keep Tony Gonzalez happy, we don’t have to worry here. I’m a big fan of Brad Cottam, the 6’7” tight end we drafted last season.
Branden Albert and Brian Waters gave our offensive line a nice boost on the left side last year. Unfortunately, we didn’t have anybody to do the same on our right side. Now with Waters demanding to be traded or released, I believe that Eugene Monroe could be taken with our third pick.
Monroe played with Branden Albert at the University of Virginia, so they have chemistry. Monroe has already stated that he would happily move to right tackle if needed. The Chiefs seemed very interested in Monroe at the combine, where they interviewed him and asked how he would feel to be a Kansas City Chief.
Apart from left tackle, KC can use an upgrade at almost any of the positions on the offensive line.
In the 2006 draft, we took the 6’3”, 277-lb. defensive end from Penn State. His name is Tamba Hali, and he was drafted to play on the left side, opposite Jared Allen. Hali had a promising rookie season with eight sacks. His sophomore season he ended up with 7.5 sacks, but was competing with a great defensive end in Jared Allen. The last season however, Hali only sacked the quarterback three times.
In 2008 we spent our first round (fifth pick overall) on LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. Dorsey was projected to be one of the best defensive players in the draft and was expected to make a big impact on the Chiefs. After being hurt in the preseason and losing valuable training time, Dorsey was a major disappointment for the Chiefs.
On the other side of Dorsey were supposed to be Tank Tyler and Turk McBride. Both players ended up hurt (along with almost every other defensive lineman on the team), and Hali and Dorsey were double teamed all season long. Both players have the big play ability, but due to injuries and bad coaching, the defensive line could not get any pressure during the course of the season.
I believe in Turk McBride and Tank Tyler, but I would like to see the Chiefs take a defensive lineman early in the draft. I don’t particularly want to see the Chiefs switch to a 3-4, because it would render Glenn Dorsey useless, but that is another discussion completely. This is solely if we are going by a 4-3.
Our linebackers are almost as bad as our defensive line. Derrick Johnson is the only LB worth mentioning. The others are not worthy of starting in my opinion. DJ disappears in games quite often, but that could be due to the lack of any other linebackers on the team.
Aaron Curry is my favorite pick for the draft, and I would not mind seeing him in the red and gold next season. He can give our defense a dramatic boost, along with the addition of Mike Vrabel.
I would personally consider this the strongest part of the team. Bernard Pollard and Jared Page were solid at the safety positions (for the most part—Page stepped it up when he was threatened with the bench). As long as Page gets re-signed, these two should be a dominant force in our secondary for a while.
Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, and Maurice Leggett all exceeded expectations too. Brandon Carr was forced into the starting lineup after Patrick Surtain sustained an injury, and he did a phenomenal job. As most of you know, Surtain was cut in the offseason.
I would expect the Chiefs to pick up another defensive back in the draft in a later round, mainly for the depth.
As Todd Haley said a few weeks ago, we do have a pretty good punter right now. Dustin Colquitt is one of the best in the league, and I wouldn’t worry about the Chiefs getting a punter. Our kicker, Connor Barth, wasn’t the best in the league, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chiefs brought another kicker in for competition.
As for returns, I would expect either Dantrell Savage or Kevin Robinson back there.
As you can see, my top three choices for our third pick are, in this order, Aaron Curry, Michael Crabtree, and then Eugene Monroe. Scott Pioli has found gems in the later rounds of the drafts (Tom Brady and Matt Cassel), and I would expect him to look for the same types of players. I’m also expecting our rookies from last season to step up big time.
As long as we don’t change our defensive alignment (yes, I’m glaring at the 3-4 as you probably can tell), our defense can make a dramatic improvement through our new coaches. Our offense should be rolling on all cylinders next season also with the addition of Todd Haley, an offensive minded coach. I’m predicting a big turnaround season for the Chiefs and their new management.