It's not Pioli-related, but in 2009 offseason news it appears that USC safety Taylor Mays, a likely first-rounder in this year's draft, will be returning to USC for his senior season. According to Mays:
"I wanted to leave. I still want to leave, but I just think it would be best for me to stay, the best for my future," he said during a brief interview on campus.
"I can't say I want to come back so I can take Spanish 2, but I just think it would be best for me in the long run," he said. "It might affect making a million dollars right now but hopefully in 10 or 20 years I'll look back on it and be like, 'That was the right decision.' "
I doubt that Mays was a guy on many Chiefs fans' radars for this season, particularly since our team's deficiencies on the lines, at linebacker and at quarterback rate so much more attention. But the idea of the Chiefs maybe getting a shot at Mays in the 2010 draft definitely piques my interest. Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard have done a decent job on a terrible defense this year, but when you have the chance of adding a Jack Tatum/Ronnie Lott/Steve Atwater caliber of free safety to your team (and I truly believe Mays is in that class) you're pretty foolish not to want that guy roaming your defensive backfield for the next five to six years.
I seriously doubt that the Chiefs will be selecting in the top five of next year's draft (they shouldn't have been bad enough to select in the top five of this year's draft) but Lott, Tatum and Atwater (all highly touted coming out of college) fell between picks 8 and 20 in the first rounds of their respective drafts, so even with a moderately successful season next year the Chiefs may still have a shot at drafting Mays to be one of the core players of a rebuilding defense. That's certainly a sight I wouldn't mind seeing...particularly if the Chiefs opt to use their first-round pick this year on Mays' superstar teammate at Southern Cal, linebacker Rey Maualuga.
With the addition of two core players like that, some upgrades along the defensive line and (most importantly) some competent coaching, the Chiefs' defensive struggles would become a thing of the past in very short order.