St. Joseph, Missouri—The 2012 Kansas City Chiefs have been picked by many to win the AFC West after missing out on the playoffs following the 2011 season. If what we saw at training camp is any indication, the Chiefs will be contenders for the West and more.
After a lackluster campaign in 2011, general manager Scott Pioli got aggressive, and it led to one of the best offseasons of any NFL team. Pioli added free agents Eric Winston (RT), Peyton Hillis (RB), Kevin Boss (TE), Stanford Routt (CB) and drafted defensive tackle Dontari Poe in the first round to anchor the defensive line. No team brought in a crop of free agents with as much proven talent as the Chiefs did, and the on-field performance is noteworthy thus far.
Winston is as solid as they come on the right side—in fact he was our top-ranked right tackle in our B/R NFL 1,000 rankings. Winston is a perfect fit for the zone-blocking scheme being implemented under offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and offensive line coach Jack Bicknell. The scheme not only benefits Winston, but the entire offense looks faster with the linemen moving through the defense as opposed to sitting and waiting. With top-level athletes like Branden Albert (LT) and Rodney Hudson (OC) in place, a transition to an agile blocking system was smart by Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel.
Having Winston on the edge, where he can seal the strong side in run situations, is key. He's able to get upfield to block for speedy Jamaal Charles—something we saw in camp.