Chiefs Can Go Worst to First in AFC West If They Pick This Player First Overall
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In just 51 days, new Kansas City General Manager John Dorsey has endeared himself to Chiefs fans more than Scott Pioli did in four years with the team.
Dorsey has successfully done what Pioli couldn't: he signed star wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a long-term contract, making him the third highest paid receiver in the NFL. He has also re-signed the best field position punter in the league in Dustin Colquitt.
Dorsey continues to work with left tackle Brandon Albert on a long-term deal, but has given him the franchise tag until they can get a deal done. The new GM also agreed to a deal with the San Francisco 49ers to acquire Alex Smith, the first overall pick in 2005, And finally, Dorsey, who appears completely in touch with the needs of this team, has reportedly renegotiated the contract of defensive end Tyson Jackson in order to free up money the team can spend elsewhere.
Now, equipped with an excessive amount of available cap dollars and the first overall pick in this year's draft, Dorsey has the Chiefs in a position to go from worst to first in the AFC West this coming season.
Beyond the moves that the Chiefs have already made, the success of the Chiefs from here on out will ride on the correct decision in how to deal with the Chiefs' needs at inside linebacker, cornerback and defensive end.
Currently, the Chiefs defense relies heavily on linebackers Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson. Whether it is rushing the quarterback or dropping into coverage, those three players are integral in whether or not the Chiefs succeed on defense. And while the Chiefs could definitely use a high-end upgrade over outgoing defensive end Glenn Dorsey, the team would be better served to address their need at cornerback with the first overall pick.
Depending on your school of thought regarding defense, you could either argue that the pressure generated by the defensive line helps the secondary by limiting the amount of time they need to cover receivers, or that the ability of the secondary to cover all eligible receivers allows the line to generate pressure.
However, with the way the Chiefs defense works, pressure on the quarterback is generated by their linebackers, not their lineman. That said, they live and die by the ability of their corners and safeties to cover the offense's receivers.
That said, the number one priority for the Chiefs to address this offseason is cornerback.
With the exception perhaps of former Kansas Jayhawk Aqib Talib, there are no cornerbacks available via free agency who are good enough to provide the lockdown pass coverage necessary in a division with Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.
While there are many players the Chiefs could draft on both sides of the ball that could benefit the team in the long-term, only Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner can help the Chiefs win this season.
Milliner is everything former Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr is, except he's faster and more athletic and has the ability to unseat Brandon Flowers as the team's best corner.
The Denver Broncos rose to the top of the AFC West because of Manning's ability to connect with larger talented receivers like Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Likewise, Rivers' Chargers fell off somewhat because of the loss of Vincent Jackson, but improved later in the season with the addition of Danario Alexander.
Needless to say, in a division where their opponents averaged 34.9 pass attempts per game, the Chiefs must find a cornerback opposite Brandon Flowers who can make plays and generate turnovers.
That player is University of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.
Similar to another first-round draft pick out of Alabama by the Chiefs back in 1989 named Derrick Thomas, Milliner is a team leader on defense who is at his best when matched up against the opponent's best player.
In this season's BCS National Championship Game, Milliner was asked to shut down the best receiving tight end in the country in Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert, and he did a good job of limiting him to just 61 yards on six catches. His effort was indicative of something Milliner has become known for since high school: reliable consistency in shutting down the other team's best player.
The Chiefs defense will be become a playoff defense if Dee Milliner is a part of it.
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