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Kansas City Chiefs Draft: Picking, Choosing, and Filling Voids

Johan TrotskyContributor IMay 17, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  Eric Berry (R) from the Tennessee Volunteers poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as they hold a Kansas City Chiefs jersey after Chiefs selected Berry #5 overall in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Last season wasn't one of our better years.  WRs couldn't catch, defense didn't seem like they could stop anybody, the offense seemed anemic, etc.  Our QB did not seem like the $63 million man and we ended with another 4-12.  Hey, at least it wasn't 2-14 again.

We had a lot of deficiencies and many weaknesses so we really didn't know what direction Pioli was headed.  We thought we did, but honestly we never knew.

He bucked his "tradition" (really Belichick's) of going for the trenches by picking up mostly positional guys—only one upgrade for the Front Seven and only two upgrades for our supposedly weak OL, if you consider Moeaki to be much of an upgrade.

However, one of the main areas we upgraded was our special teams.  We seem to have forgotten about it nowadays but go back a couple of years and it was a main focus.  Dante Hall was beastly and we fielded the best ST unit in the league for a time.  Is it a coincidence our offense was considered elite?

With such good field position every game and an OL considered one of the best in the league it's no wonder we were playoff contenders.  However, all good things must come to an end.  Our OL fell to shambles and Hall's production started to slip so badly that we sent him over to our neighbors, and now he's no longer in the league.

Returning was a big weakness for us last year.  Who were our returners? Lawrence and Wade? 

Exactly.

Now we've got three new guys who could return if we wanted: Arenas, McCluster, Berry.  Arenas is the only proven guy but I imagine all of them to be relatively successful.  McCluster has that ability to make people miss and Berry is, well, Berry.  If he can return kicks/punts as well as he can return interceptions I think he'd do fine. 

Don't forget Charles either. I still remember the return against Pittsburgh—priceless.  Hopefully Lawrence can continue to improve as well.

Then we've got five guys potentially who can trade off on the spot, which will prevent a drop-off like Hall's—being the only guy puts a serious toll on that one player's body.  With five trading off it's less severe on their bodies and this will improve the longevity of their careers.

It's not just ST, but on both sides of the ball that we've been filling voids.

Our biggest hole heading into the draft was strong safety, so we go out and pick up Berry.  Slot receiver, another position in doubt, is filled now by McCluster; plus he can fill in on trick plays, reverses, wildcat, etc.  We have never had a good nickel guy since Benny Sapp left, but now we do with Arenas, and who knows, he might just steal a cornerback spot from Carr if he can prove his game is that good. 

Although guard wasn't perceived as a need, it might just be.  Waters will be leaving soon and his play last year was filled with penalties.  Lilja has knee problems and isn't a true right guard.  So what does Pioli do? Find a true RG who can fill in anywhere on the interior in a pinch.

We had musical chairs at tight-end all year last year.  Sean Ryan couldn't block but could catch. Pope could block alright but wasn't known as a good catcher.  Cottam was an unknown quantity but started looking good (AVG13YAC) until his back injury, that may actually be pretty serious.  He's lucky he can still walk, let alone keep playing, so I don't think he could ever be the starter.

Although Moeaki is also injury-prone, they were all freak injuries, and I think with the right conditioning he might be fine.  He is probably one of the best all-around TEs in the draft and will fit right in with our offense.

Lewis provides depth and is a perfect complement with Berry, while Sheffield will compete for time with Studebaker and will also be learning under Vrabel.

Now all of you were crying RunD and nose-tackle and inside line-backer, and since we didn't upgrade you were pissed.  Then I started to think about it.

First off, team speed is atrocious.  I remember an ESPN segment where a commentator seriously railed on us about our overall team speed.  So what do we go out and do? We pick up speedsters in all facets of the game and an athletic TE. 

I'm thinking that we've got the guys we need in-house.  Smith and Edwards should be suitable in a rotation.  DJ will most likely be a full starter while Williams, Belcher, Lee, and Mays will all compete for the same spot.

At least on paper it doesn't seem like we really need upgrades at this point.  I'm guessing Pioli will either draft them in the next few years or wait for free agency. Also, this gives us more focus come next year.

We'll definitely know exactly what our needs are instead of a blanket "any guy could come in to help" kind of mentality.  We'll know we need an NT or ILB while the rest of the picks will be depth and BPA. 

I see a bright future for us, especially in the next few years.  A dominating secondary, offense, and special teams, at least on paper.  We can be a team with relatively few needs in the next couple years and we could, dare I say it, have "winning seasons."  Sounds good to me.

-JT

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