Rick Gosselin from the Dallas Morning News even gave out his only “A+” to the Chiefs and had nothing but rave reviews for the brass over at Arrowhead.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not hate the draft, and from what I have seen and heard from the players, I like the guys as people as well as what they can bring to the team.
My beef with the draft is the biggest holes on the team from last year were not filled.
After last season was over, I made a list of the top positions of need for the 2010 season. That list was modified after the acquisitions of OG Ryan Lilja (probable starter) OC Casey Wiegmann (possible starter), and NT Shaun Smith (probable starter), so I came up with this:
2. Nose Tackle
3. Inside Linebacker
4. Slot Wide Receiver
5. Outside Linebacker
6. Offensive Line Depth
This draft has seemingly addressed the top concern with Eric Berry, the fourth concern with Dexter McCluster, and the sixth concern with Jon Asamoah, but a missing nose tackle and inside linebacker still worries me to death.
Eric Berry being picked at Number Five overall was the perfect to make in that scenario and he will immediately improve our pass defense, plus he is a great kid off the field.
The Dexter McCluster pick I can fully get behind for a couple of reasons, the first being he is a flat-out playmaker, and a team can never have too many of those on the field.
Next, for us to allow Matt Cassel to fully grow and develop as a quarterback, he needs a good offensive line and weapons to throw to, so if Pioli gets him either of those things, I will not question it.
It's the Javier Arenas pick in the second round that really gets me.
We passed up on the only true nose tackle in the draft, Terrence Cody, a potential starter this year and probable starter for years to come for a player who at his peak is a return specialist / nickelback.
Anyway, without making this a strait "Grading the Draft" article, here are the four things with which this draft will not help us:
1. Help the Run Defense
The Kansas City Chiefs ranked second to last in the NFL in run defense last year for a couple of reasons, both of which have to do with being weak up the middle.
While Rod Edwards did an admirable job playing woefully out of position for all of last year, he simply is not strong or stout enough to play Nose Tackle in the NFL and, even though he tried his butt off, it showed.
This is where the "what if" scenarios start coming to mind with Terrence Cody.
While Derrick Johnson was not a full-time starter last year, I still maintain he is the best linebacker on the team. Still, even though Demorrio Williams led the team in tackles with 117, he still had eight missed tackles and is at best an average inside linebacker in the NFL.
Corey Mays was the other full-time starter at inside linebacker last season, and despite being probably our best preseason player, flopped during the regular season and is better suited as a backup in the NFL.
The combination of not having a true nose tackle and having weak inside linebackers killed this Chiefs team last year, and will continue to be the weakest point on this team this year as well unless a couple players can really step up their games between now and then.
2. Help the Pass Rush
While the pass rush in 2009 was significantly better than in 2008 (read - "not the worst sack production by a team ever in the NFL"), the Chiefs were still second to last in the NFL with 22 total sacks.
Tamba Hali was trying to do his part sacking the QB 9 times, but he was the only Chiefs player on the list of top-40 sack producers from last year. In fact, the next closest player was reserve defensive end Wallace Gilberry with five sacks.
Mike Vrabel will only be around for another year or two, and right now, the player who would step into that role would be Andy Studebaker.
Like Terrence Cody, this is where the "what if" scenarios come into play with Sergio Kindle who was available when the Chiefs picked Dexter McCluster.
3. Produce any Starters on Offense
Even though the Chiefs drafted three offensive players in the first three rounds, I don't think any of them will start this year, although tight end Tony Moeaki more than likely has the best chance, simply because of how pathetic our tight ends were last year.
As I said earlier, I like the McCluster pick simply because he is a threat to make big plays happen every time he touches the ball whether it's on a quick slant, a wide receiver end around, from the backfield as a running back, or as a quarterback in the Wildcat formation.
Jon Asamoah I think will turn out to be a tremendous player in the NFL, but with the free agent signings the Chiefs made, he is most likely going to have to wait a year or two before he starts. The only exceptions would be if he wins the center position, or if the Chiefs move Brian Waters to center, and Asamoah then could start at right guard.
Had the Chiefs picked a right tackle or center in the second or third round he might have a chance at cracking the starting lineup this year, but as it sets, Asamoah has a chance to sit back and learn from one of the best guards the Chiefs have ever had.
4. Produce More Than One Starter on Defense
Of all the defensive help the Chiefs need, ESPN's Personnel Man of the Decade Scott Pioli picked a player in the second round that is of arguably the position of least need, cornerback.
Pass-rushing specialist from Florida Jermaine Cunningham was available at this spot, could have challenged Mike Vrabel for his starting position, and could have put more pressure on the quarterback.
Run-Stuffing 'Mount Cody' was available at this point and would have stepped in immediately as this team’s starting nose tackle.
Even Florida's hard-hitting, tackling-machine Brandon Spikes was available at that spot and would have filled in perfectly next to either Demorrio Williams or Derrick Johnson at the strong inside linebacker spot.
Instead, we drafted a player who projects as a return specialist and a good blitzing nickelback.
Everyone has seemingly forgotten about last year's fourth round pick Donald Washington, whom Scott Pioli on multiple occasions raved about his athleticism and playmaking ability.
After the season ended last year, I think many people had him pegged as the nickelback coming into this season, and it appears as if we have a log jam here, as this will be a battle to watch come training camp.