2010 NFL Draft: Kansas City Chiefs Team Needs
Kansas City finds themselves in another rebuilding year and this off-season won’t be without its tweaks and upgrades.
Some could say there isn’t a single position on the roster that is without its weaknesses, but in reality, what team can’t say that?
The Chiefs have a few building blocks to piece together a 8-8 team next year and do even better in 2011. Jamaal Charles really showed up as the feature back in Larry Johnson’s absence and, while Cassel didn’t look like his ’08 self, he is still a starting-caliber quarterback who can put points on the board.
Age is starting to effect the line of scrimmage on both sides and a mix of draft prospects and free agency acquisitions is needed to upgrade those positions. Really, the team will work hard this offseason to prevent another Tyson Jackson.
Biggest Needs: OL, WR, RB
With the fifth pick in the draft, the Chiefs have a chance to pick up someone who can contribute immediately, and most people have them going in the direction of the offensive line. Brian Waters’ age is becoming evident and Rudy Niswanger can’t keep up with oversized nose tackles anymore.
In reality, when Cassel had all of his offensive weapons on the field, they couldn’t keep the points off the board. Injuries were a large contributor to their lack of success and the organization needs to target some much-needed youth if they plan on improving their legitimacy.
It’s a general rule of thumb that young offensive and defensive lineman need two to three years to truly develop and, while the Chiefs’ offensive line have only had a year to gel, injuries are always a concern, and I’m just not sure they have a genuine left tackle to seal outside.
Many fans of Arrowhead are calling for the dismissal of Waters but without a proper heir behind him, that wouldn’t be the most prudent decision. Rather, expect the front office to move him to the inside at center. His leadership skills as a veteran are not entirely inadmissible, not yet.
Russel Okung is the most popularly projected acquisition for Kansas City with the fifth pick and, while that would be a hell of a pick, I’m just not sure if it’s the right one. Okung has the capabilities to become the next Ryan Clady but he will still take time to develop as a player and as a new member of the team.
When Chris Chambers and Dwayne Bowe were on the field together, the team’s needs at wide out were not only absent, they were unthinkable. However, it’s clear that injuries and the possibility of losing Chambers to free agency will open the door for the Chiefs to acquire new talent at receiver.
Expect the team to keep an eye on Damien Williams or Golden Tate, guys that have great speed and hands and will be available in the second round. If they choose to wait longer, Jeremy Williams of Tulane will still be around on day two, as well.
Jamaal Charles is now the feature back we never thought he could be, but the possibility of having him worn down before the late stretch or losing him to injury creates a need to find a dependable, short yardage back late in the draft. Toby Gerhart would look great in red, but if he’s not around when they turn their attention to running back, Ryan Matthews out of Fresno State would be a lucky pick up.
Biggest Needs: DL, CB, LB, S
Ron Edwards is not a sufficient nose tackle, I think that’s evident at this point. That being said, it’s a more than likely fact that Ndamokhung Suh and Gerald McCoy will be off the board before the Chiefs’ fifth pick in the first.
So expect the front office to hold out on addressing their nose tackle need until later rounds in guys like Kade Weston and Jay Ross.
The team has invested tons of money in Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr but a youthful addition to the backfield would do wonders in helping Carr recover his old self and improve the team’s pass defense holistically. A guy like Brandon Ghee or Perrish Cox will likely be around in the third or fourth rounds and could be effective as nickel corners right off the bat.
The defense’s true weakness in ’09 was their inability to stop the run. With upgrades at defensive line imminent, it will be important for the front office to delegate their finances, even in an uncapped year, towards acquiring an inside/outside linebacker.
Again, it’s been a popular pick for Kansas City to go after Okung, but a stab at McClain here might work well for a linebacking corps that needs ample support. Otherwise, Micah Johnson or Boris Lee will be around late in the draft.
It’s been rumored that the Chiefs are considering moving Leggitt to safety, but even still, that position desperately needs an upgrade if they intend to contend the deep balls in ’10.
There are a number of credible safeties available in the early rounds (Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Taylor Mays) but the team may benefit more by trying to grab a veteran like Rolle or Sharper, guys that can command the backfield and provide some much needed leadership.
The Chiefs are still in rebuilding mode and will likely return to that form after the upcoming season. It takes time for any team to build contention in a league where trends tend to develop among large-market teams.
Smart scouting and a little luck on draft day won’t be enough for this team. Execution on game day and a lack of injuries will inevitably be what elevates this team to greatness.