After the 2008 NFL draft came to a close, the Chiefs received a lot of attention from the media for their draft.
When the Chiefs traded Jared Allen to Minnesota for a first-round pick along with two third-round picks, it allowed them to be flexible as they had 13 selections to make going into the draft.
In the end, the Chiefs walked away with 12 draft picks and were given an A grade from many national media outlets including USA Today.
As the players enter their fourth season in the league, they’re now leaders on the Chiefs. Most of these rookies were immediately thrown in as starters by previous head coach Herm Edwards.
Under Todd Haley, the players have gotten better and played a big role in helping the Chiefs win the AFC West in 2010. How will they do in 2011?
Glenn Dorsey was drafted as a defensive tackle because the Chiefs were in a 4-3 defense at the time he was selected. Dorsey’s career as a defensive tackle was short-lived after Haley came in and moved him to play defensive end under a 3-4 scheme.
Dorsey hasn’t turned into a spectacular defensive end, but he has made strides and has lost 19 pounds since entering the league.
Haley has helped Dorsey get more in shape and improve on his pass rushing abilities. If Dorsey can be more consistent this season, he could become one of Romeo Crennel’s favorite players on this defense.
Prediction: 55 solo tackles, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Carl Peterson realized that the Arizona Cardinals wanted to take Branden Albert with the 16th pick. The Chiefs, who were originally 17th with their second first-round pick, traded up two spots with Detroit to make sure they got Albert. Coming out of Virginia, the Chiefs had Albert make the switch from guard to tackle.
Albert gave up 4.5 sacks in 2008 and only committed one penalty during his rookie season.
The following season, Albert gave up nine sacks which was the fifth most in the league and was penalized 10 times that season. However, Albert did improve in the second half of the season and did not allow a sack in the final three games in 2009.
2010 was Albert’s best year as he played a huge role in helping the Chiefs rank first in the league in rushing. Albert gave up less sacks and received less penalty calls.
Today, the addition of Jared Gaither worries many fans that Albert will lose his starting spot. It’s very doubtful Albert loses his starting spot after putting together a great third year.
His biggest highlight as an individual was blocking Ray Lewis in the postseason to allow Jamaal Charles to break free and score the only touchdown for the Chiefs against Baltimore seven months ago.
Albert will be the starting left tackle for the Chiefs and could receive an invitation to the Pro Bowl if his tailbacks find holes on the left side of the line.
Prediction: 5 sacks allowed, 5 penalties committed
Brandon Flowers has quickly become one of the best cornerbacks in the AFC.
Although Flowers hasn’t succeeded in racking up a high total amount of interceptions, he has limited his receivers in earning yards and is one of the best open-field tacklers in the game today.
With the Chiefs bringing in more pass rushers to help Tamba Hali force the quarterback to throw ill-advised passes, Flowers should have a better season.
If Flowers comes away with more interceptions, he’ll receive more recognition and will become an offensive coordinator’s worst nightmare.
Prediction: 8 interceptions, 70 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 25 pass deflections
After being the ninth running back selected in the 2008 draft, it’s safe to assume that Charles would be picked in the top five if teams were given a redo.
On 487 career carries, Charles has gained 2,944 yards, giving him a 6.0 yard per carry average. Charles also has 1,037 receiving yards on 112 catches.
The sky is the limit for Charles. He’s capable of putting up huge numbers if Haley feeds him the ball even more. Charles played behind Larry Johnson and Thomas Jones and has taken from what he’s learned from those two and has used it to help him win the 2010 NFL FedEx Ground Player of the Year award.
With the addition of Le’Ron McClain, it’s hard to imagine just how much better Charles will be in 2011 after finishing second in rushing yards last season.
Prediction: 1,600 rushing yards, 315 carries, 11 rushing touchdowns, 35 catches, 450 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown
Among all the players on this list, Brandon Carr is the only player to start every game since entering the league.
Like Flowers, Carr was thrown into the starting cornerback spot at the beginning of his rookie season and has had an inconsistent career so far.
In 2008, Carr impressed many people despite being a fifth-round draft pick, coming away with two interceptions.
The following season, Carr took a step back and struggled under his first season with a new head coach and defensive coordinator. He is most remembered for having a bad end to the 2009 season against the Broncos after allowing Jabar Gaffney to have a field day with 14 catches for 213 yards on the day.
Last year, Carr bounced back under a better defensive coordinator in Crennel and a new defensive backs coach in former Chief and Hall of Famer, Emmitt Thomas. Carr improved on his coverage and tied for second in the league in pass deflections.
Carr improved the most out of any returning defensive player on the roster and wants to play a bigger role in helping the Chiefs repeat as division champions in 2011.
Carr is playing with a strong core of defensive backs and could produce better numbers this season.
Prediction: 3 interceptions, 55 tackles, 20 pass deflections
Barry Richardson has played more games every year since being selected out of Clemson in 2008.
Last offseason, the Chiefs brought back Richardson and started him over Ryan O’Callaghan for all 16 games. Richardson was an effective run blocker, but struggled when blocking against the pass.
It’s doubtful that Gaither takes over at right tackle for the Chiefs. Many fans were hoping for a new offensive tackle to take Richardson's spot, but the Chiefs have no other options at this point and it’s likely that Richardson returns as the starter for the right tackle spot.
Prediction: 8 sacks allowed, 10 penalties committed.