It is a fact that Branden Albert had a difficult year at LT for the Chiefs in 2009. He allowed twice as many sacks as he did in his rookie year of 2008 (9 vs. 4.5) and was the worst LT in his peer group of “franchise left tackles”.
We also know about the “extenuating circumstances” he had to deal with in 2009:
-Had to adjust to a new playing weight (lost 30 pounds during the offseason at Todd Haley’s request)
-Lost his offensive coordinator two weeks before the start of the season
-Had to learn an entirely new playbook for the second year in a row
-Blocked next to an aging and declining LG in Brian Waters (and with a C, RG and RT who would be backups, not starters for most NFL teams)
-Directly felt the loss as the protector of the “blind side” of the “safety valve” in the Chiefs passing game, Tony Gonzalez, who always seemed open in 2008 for a short pass when the opponent’s d-line was closing in on Thiggy
-Suffered for the 1st half of the season, as the entire offense did, with a feature running back (LJ aka Valdemort) who averaged 3.3 yds a carry. Defenses waited for the inevitable 3rd and long (after a failed run and a dropped pass) and then sent everyone
-Had to master a new zone blocking scheme
But here’s what you may not know:
2. Every “franchise left tackle” in the NFL allowed more sacks in 2009 than he did in 2008 except for Jason Peters and Duane Brown (both of whom had HORRIBLE years in 2008 with 11.5 sacks allowed each). The avg last yr is around 6-6.5 sacks
3. The only “Class of 2008” left tackle chosen after Albert in 2008 to outperform him by more than 2 sacks allowed was Sam Baker (3 sacks less)
4. Branden Albert allowed the same amount of sacks in 2009 as the “no show Pro Bowl substitute himself”, Bryant McKinnie, who protected “the ancient one” for Minnesota. Don’t forget that McKinnie has the perennial All-Pro Hutchinson at LG
5. The two first round tackles chosen in 2009 who played in 2009 (Jason Smith was injured) allowed only slightly less sacks than Branden. Oher allowed 8 at RIGHT TACKLE, a much easier position for pass protection
Check out my chart below. I believe in "Don" Pioli and he will make the right decision. I will be VERY SURPRISED if the Chiefs take a left tackle with the 5th pick in the draft.
I believe that it's much smarter to draft Maurkice Pouncey in the 2nd round and let Brian Waters and Pouncey compete for the Left Guard position next year with the loser sliding over to Center. Rudy Wisenheimer becomes the Right Guard, O’Callahan is the Right Tackle (having learned the system, had a full training camp and pre-season with the team, etc.), Leonard Pope actually blocks at TE (instead of the human sieve, Sean Ryan who had allowed 5 sacks in the early season games we started him in. In spite of the two touchdowns he scored, we couldn’t afford to keep him in the lineup - 5 sacks/2 TDs = 2.5 sacks per TD ratio! Any doubt why he was invisible for the last 10-12 games?) and we have the makings of a competitive NFL offensive line. Hope for development at Guard from Colin Brown, grab another interior lineman in the 3rd – 5th rounds (a strength of Pioli’s) and the Chiefs offensive line will be just fine.
You often read in mock drafts that the Chiefs pick a Left Tackle at #5 to “improve 2 positions with one pick – Left Tackle and whatever position Branden moves to”. What about improving 3 positions by drafting Pouncey? LG, C, RG (assuming Rudy’s better at RG)
I pray Eric Berry is available at #5 and beseech Pioli and Haley to take him if he is. The last time the Chiefs had an “erry” at safety (Deron Cherry), we had a pretty awesome defense. Eric Berry makes Flowers even better. He makes Brandon Carr much better. He even makes our mediocre inside linebackers better. The NFL is going through a pass-happy, big play phase. TEN, that’s right TEN quarterbacks (almost 1/3 of the league!) passed for 4,000 yards last year. Four of the ten, Romo, Roethlisberger, Rivers and Eli Manning, shredded the Chiefs. We need Eric Berry in the worst way whether Page comes back healthy or not.
If Berry is gone at #5, I think Scott will try desperately to trade down and failing that, grit his teeth and reach for either Rolando McClain or Dan Williams (actually prefer Mt Cody in the 2nd over Williams in the 1st – even if we trade down).
Lord, hear my prayer. BB wants EB at #5.
BBEAR'S CHART OF SACKS ALLOWED IN 2009 BY “FRANCHISE LEFT TACKLES”
Best performance in 2009 = 2.5 sacks by Light/Vollmer NE and Johnson/Ugoh IND
* = PRO BOWL 2009
CLASS OF 2008 2009 SACKS 2008 SACKS DRAFT POSITION
Jake Long MIA* 5.0 sacks 2.5 sacks before Albert
Sam Baker ATL 6.0 sacks did not start after Albert
Ryan Clady DEN* 6.5 sacks 0.5 sacks before Albert
Duane Brown HOU 7.5 sacks 11.5 sacks after Albert
Chris Williams CHI 8.0 sacks did not start before Albert
Branden Albert KC 9.0 sacks (0 in last 6 games) 4.5 sacks
Jeff Otah CAR NO STATS FOUND/INJURED did not start after Albert
VETERAN LEFT TACKLES
Michael Roos TEN 5.0 sacks 1.0 sack
Marcus McNeill SD 5.0 sacks 3.0 sacks
Joe Thomas CLE* 6.0 sacks 4.5 sacks
Jason Peters PHI* 6.0 sacks 11.5 sacks
D’Brickashaw Ferguson NYJ* 8.0 sacks 4.0 sacks
Bryant McKinnie MIN* 9.0 sacks 4.0 sacks
CLASS OF 2009
Jason Smith STL INJURED
Eugene Monroe JAX 7.0 sacks
Michael Oher BAL 8.0 sacks at RIGHT TACKLE