It's the morning after and I'm still liking this signing of LB Zach Thomas. Thomas and Mike Vrabel make a lot of sense for a Kansas City Chiefs team that was just terrible at the linebacker position last year.
The obvious question that arises with this signing is: How does this affect the Chiefs' chances of drafting Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry?
I don't think it changes our view of Curry much, for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that the Chiefs needed to overhaul basically the entire linebacker corps of last year anyway. They've already released Donnie Edwards and Pat Thomas. The position needed a total rebuild outside of Derrick Johnson.
In case you don't recall, here were the Chiefs' linebackers on December 28th, 2008, the final game of the 2008 regular season:
- Demorrio Williams (starter)
- Derrick Johnson (starter)
- Rocky Boiman (starter)
- Curtis Gatewood
- Pat Thomas
- Wes Dacus
That was quite possibly one of worst linebacker groups in the entire NFL. Personnel problems like that aren't fixed overnight. At the end of last season, the Chiefs weren't one good linebacker away from stability. We were at least three away.
The Chiefs needed to rebuild almost entirely at the linebacker position, even if we don't end up drafting Aaron Curry. One draft tweak is that the Zach Thomas signing does allow the Chiefs to put less of a priority on fixing the entire linebacker group through the draft, which is what we would have basically had to do. We can still take a fantastic prospect like Curry without having to spend another draft pick on a linebacker later. The Zach Thomas signing gives the Chiefs freedom in the later rounds of the draft.
The next reason I think that this Thomas signing has little bearing on what we do in the draft is that these linebacker signings in general mimic what the New England Patriots did over the last five years or so at the position. It's clear Scott Pioli prefers smart, veteran linebackers as a general rule. Look at the Patriots roster now. Linebackers Junior Seau, Tedy Bruschi and Roosevelt Colvin have 43 seasons of combined experience and they're playing right along with New England's own top ten linebacker pick of last year, Jerod Mayo.
With Vrabel, Beisel and now Zach Thomas on the roster, if we added Aaron Curry, wouldn't this look very familiar to what New England did?
I'm not saying that these veterans are being intentionally signed to mentor Aaron Curry, not at all. The situation just seems set up well to benefit Curry, does it not? Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick drafted Jerod Mayo after they added Seau. Again, these veterans seem to be part of Pioli's overall strategy and not being done in relation to the Chiefs' draft possibilities.
Finally, Zach Thomas is just plain too old to last very long around here at age 36. Heck, Mike Vrabel is 33-years old. There's no way the Chiefs aren't still looking at building for the future with Aaron Curry with these veterans set to leave within a couple of years. Remember, this isn't the Herm and Carl show anymore. The new front office is actually thinking things out.
So the Chiefs have added one more Parcell's linked player and the draft possibilities remain the same- murky at best. The addition of Zach Thomas hasn't made things any clearer and I highly doubt we gain any clarity as draft day nears.