April 24, 2010
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Come this weekend, Chief fans across the country will be very anxious. They should be. K.C. has not been major players in free agency under Scott Pioli. Picking up Ryan Lilja was a very good move.
But this draft is where it needs to happen for the Kansas City Chiefs. I have full confidence in Pioli's expertise and experience.
He didn't get the reputation for being one of the brightest minds and talent evaluators from nowhere. Chief fans want and need him to prove it this weekend.
I am well aware that it takes about three years before a draft class can be graded fairly. But let's be honest, last year's draft does not look too promising.
Pioli reached for Tyson Jackson, selected defensive tackle Alex Magee to play defensive end, and took a risk with cornerback Donald Washington. It speaks volumes that the most productive pick was seventh-round placekicker Ryan Succop.
Obviously the Chiefs are hoping that the addition of highly regarded coaches Charlie Weis, Maurice Carthon, Romeo Crennel, and Emmitt Thomas, will develop the young talent on this team.
Pioli passed on linebacker Aaron Curry last year. Curry had a nice rookie season. He had 61 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and five tackles for a loss. Most observers note that the Chiefs could use help at ILB and OLB.
It is hard to believe that Curry would not have strengthened the linebacker corps. Pioli passed on a player that was most NFL read. Funny how things happen. Here we are this year and a similar situation presents itself.
Consensus says that the player most NFL ready and that has the ability to help immediately is safety Eric Berry.
What will Pioli do this time around? If he decides to pass on Berry, all well and good, but he better hit it big with the players that he does choose.
I am fully aware that Pioli did not draft Glenn Dorsey. But he and the Chiefs staff decided to move Dorsey, a DT to DE. They drafted Tyson Jackson earlier than most had him projected him to go. Even though he fit the mold to be a DE in a 3-4 scheme, he didn't have any experience in doing so.
They also selected Alex Magee, a DT, and moved him to DE. Don't misunderstand me, these are all talented players. Hopefully for the Chiefs sake, they will develop nicely.
But if you are going to move players to new positions and change your defense to a 3-4 alignment, arguably the most important piece to the puzzle is the nose tackle.
The Chiefs do not have and did not get a stud to play nose tackle either through the draft or free agency. Just about every successful team using a 3-4 defense has a very strong presence at NT.
Does Pioli shock everyone again and draft Dan Williams (DT) from Tennessee? No doubt a nose tackle needs to drafted at some point.
The fact is that the Chiefs currently have eight draft picks in five rounds. Four of their picks are in the first 68.
In what is being called a very deep draft, they should have many good to exceptional players available to them. They need to make all eight picks count. The Chiefs rebuilding process depends on it.
Another weak to very weak draft and Chief fans everywhere will begin to question all the hype that came to Kansas City with Scott Pioli. Being judged in the court of Kansas City Chief fans may not be a pleasant experience.
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