Positional Needs: DE, MLB, C, T, QB, OLB
The Chiefs had a rough two win season that resulted in the departure of long-time President/CEO/King Carl Peterson and Head Coach Herm Edwards. Highly rated GM Scott Pioli was brought in from New England to take over.
To the casual observer, going from a four win season in 2007 to a two win season in 2008 it would appear that the Chiefs are trending downwards. However, the opposite is the case as the 2008 draft brought in several talented youngsters like Branden Albert, Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr and Glenn Dorsey. The good news is that much of the foundation has been laid. The bad news is that quite a bit more work needs to be done for the Chiefs to be a contender.
As of this writing, the Chiefs do not have a head coach. So, this evaluation is based on more or less a continuation of the current direction. It will be revised should a new regime decide to make major changes like trading Tony Gonzalez, Larry Johnson or changing to a 3-4 defense.
Looking at the Chiefs this year, the Chiefs have no pass rush, a poor right side of the offensive line and a linebacker corps in shambles. Hence, why almost all of the listed needs focus on those areas. Finding an effective pass rusher is the biggest need.
With so many holes to fill, I am hoping Scott Pioli makes a sizable play in the free agency market. Terrell Suggs would top my wish list, should he actually hit free agency. Filling the DE, a LB need and the RT need would be a major shot in the arm. This would also allow the Chiefs to focus their draft board more.
The status of Tyler Thigpen as the starting quarterback is one of the major decisions a new head coach will make. Outside of Matt Stafford, I do not see a quarterback worth taking with the #3 pick. I expect him to go to Detroit with the #1 pick. I can see a quarterback selected in rounds four or five.
Without any free agency signings, I expect the Chiefs to approach the draft with the following strategy. The dream would be for a stud pass rusher to be on the board at #3. However, this draft appears to lack such a player. I can see the Chiefs looking to move into the second half of the top ten of the draft. However, we can not assume such a trade will be made. Trading into the top five is a very expensive proposition both in terms of money and surrendered picks. For example, the Raiders at #7 are very lacking at the WR position. Putting aside the rivalry between the teams, a trade up to #3 to get in front of Seattle in order to take Michael Crabtree makes some sense. However, a fair trade, based on the existing trade chart, would call for a 2nd and 3rd round picks this year in addition to pick #7. Would the Raiders trade that or pick #7, and second round picks this year and next year to move up four spots? With crazy Al, who knows, but it’s a stretch to count on it.
In the first round, the Chiefs can justify going in a number of directions. An impact defensive player like Aaron Curry or Rey Maualuga could be the choice here. Drafting another offensive tackle is another logical area to pursue. The Chiefs could surprise and go QB or for a purely value pick like Michael Crabtree.
When you get to the second round, the options open up even more. I can see any of the listed needs going in round two. When you are near the top of round two, your best strategy is to see what first round talent falls to your pick. One or more first round talent always does, like it did last year with Brandon Flowers. Players I am looking at in round two include centers Alex Mack and Max Unger, defensive ends Michael Johnson and Robert Ayers as well as linebackers Clint Sintim and Brian Cushing.