After being involved in free agency early with the signing of Steve Breaston, it seems like the Kansas City Chiefs' search for free agents has come to a crawl. The first week of free agency saw the Chiefs sign three significant free agents, with another being signed the week after.
Although the Chiefs did address several position of need through the NFL draft and free agency, there are still several holes that should be looked into.
The biggest and most glaring hole on the Chiefs' roster is nose tackle. The Chiefs lost veterans Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith along the defensive line and decided to passed on the Aubrayo Franklin sweepstakes. Instead, the Chiefs brought in a ten-year veteran who may or may not be on the decline, Kelly Gregg, after playing nine years with Baltimore, compiling 124 games started and recorded 19.5 sacks. The problem with Gregg is that he will be 35 this coming season, and he was just cut by the Ravens, a team who he had played with most of his career.
Gregg is a veteran who knows his position quite well and is known for being a good mentor. It appears Gregg was brought in to fill a need on a short term basis while he mentors and prepares rookie Powe for the position in the future. While this was a step in the right direction, the Chiefs need to continue to try and improve this position.
This was the position of concern on the Chiefs' roster as the season ended, going into the draft, and now going into the preseason. The Chiefs failed to address this position through the draft and free agency.
This is a position that Matt Cassel must rely on for consistent play and protection. With either Barry Richardson or Ryan O’Callaghan most likely as the starter, this could become a position of concern early in the season.
Richardson was part of a line that led the NFL in rushing last season and he only allowed five sacks. While Richardson does have holes in his game, he is still young, 24, and the Chiefs support him. If Richardson succeeds at right tackle, it will look like another move of genius by Scott Pioli. However, if Richardson fails, the Chiefs offensive line could be in serious trouble this season.
The Chiefs are set at both free safety and strong safety for years to come. Kendrick Lewis proved that he may have been one of the steals of the draft in 2010, as he started 10 games last year and played well.
Behind Eric Berry and Lewis, however, is NFL journey man Jon McGraw and Reshard Langford McGraw may be a great veteran leader, and know the defense better than any other player, but his skills are just not up to par. Langford has seen very little playing time while in Kansas City.
Kansas City needs to look to bring in another veteran safety with a little more left in the tank and a little more to contribute than McGraw. The Chiefs should look at a veteran player such a Lawyer Milloy.
Matt Cassel is the only quarterback with NFL playing experience on the roster. If Cassel goes down, the Chiefs would be relying on last year's practice squad quarterback, Tyler Palko, or a rookie quarterback, Ricky Stanzi.
There are also rumblings that head coach Todd Haley is very high on Tyler Palko. With a shortened training camp, expect Palko to be the backup quarterback this season. As a three-year starter for Iowa, Stanzi demonstrated good ability to read coverages and make the right decisions. However, this is the NFL and relying on a fifth-round pick would not be a wise decision.
The Chiefs should consider bring in a veteran quarterback who could run the offense effectively if Cassel goes down. A player such as Todd Collins, a former Chief and a 17-year NFL veteran, could be a good option.