We all know there are a lot of holes on our team. Everyone points to obvious holes that need to be filled like the middle of our defense, the interior of our offensive line, finding a compliment for Charles, and our secondary. These are obviously more pressing matters that need to be dealt with. However, I think these are some other moves the Chiefs can make with free agency and the draft that might yield big results for us. More after the jump.
Two Birds, One Stone
In my opinion, our worst position on the field last year was punt returner. I don't think we even had a punt returner on the roster in 09. Field position is very under rated in the NFL. Dustin Colquitt has helped our defense look less inept than they already are. I think we need that same kind of impact for the offensive side of our special teams. However, I believe that a returner should also serve as piece to the defense or offense. I think that a slot receiver/punt returner would help our team immensely. First, he could give us an extra 15 yards in starting field position when we get the ball back from the opposing team. This is significant in that it could be the difference between field goal range or having to punt the ball depending on how the drive goes. Also, if the player is a good receiver he can give Cassel that needed safety valve we have missed in our offense since Tony G went to Atlanta. We need that slot receiver who runs crisp routes, has good hands, and can run after the catch. With one player we could see a much higher yardage in terms of field position and moving the chains on 3rd down.
Suggestion: Andre Roberts (SR/PR, the Citadel) - Roberts is smooth, athletic, and has decent speed with reliable hands. He runs good routes and knows how to get open. He is tough and not afraid to catch over the middle. He has great work ethic and is a team leader. The only knock on him is that he isn't very big (5'11", 195lbs) and he went up against weak competition in college. However, he was the best WR on the South team during the Senior Bowl. I think Haley has shown interest in him. He averaged 14 yards and had 3 TDs as a punt returner. We would have to take him with either our 2b pick or 3rd.
In architecture a keystone is the piece of an arc that keeps the main components together. I think there could be a seemingly insignificant position that could help the entire offense. That position is an H-back. The position is hybrid between a FB and a TE. The H-back is asked to block, pass protect, and run receiving routes from multiple sets. He could get help Charles get more yards per carry, give Cassel more time in the pocket, and provide an added receiving threat out of the back field.
Suggestion: Dorin Dickerson (TE/FB, Pittsburgh) - He is a 6'4", 226 pound tight end, who is a bit small to be a huge blocking guy, but might fit the bill as an H-Back and pose nightmares for anyone covering him out of the backfield or whereever he lines up. Too big and strong for a defensive back and way too fast for a linebacker, Dickerson is making huge strides with all the NFL coaches and scouts at the Combine off of some very impressive performances so far. Dorin had the best time of all tight ends in the 40 yard dash (4.40), in the 225 pound bench press (24 reps), 1st by far in the vertical jump (43"), second in the broad jump (10'5"), and 3rd in the 3-Cone Drill (9.6 seconds) and the 20-Yard Shuttle (30 seconds). We all know Charles is fast as hell, and this guy just might be able to keep up with him as his lead blocker. He might be a great goal line option as well. We would probably be able to get him in the 3rd. (side note: I would keep Pope, Cottam, and O'Connell on the roster and part ways with Cox and Castille)
Defensive Role Player
I was glad to see that we resigned Vrabel. That being said he only had 2 sacks in 09. We desparately need someone to come in on 3rd down to rush the passer. Tamba is getting too much attention and can only do so much. God forbid if he goes down with injury. We have to get off the field on 3rd down and we aren't ever going to be able to do that if we can't get heat on the QB. I think a vetern free agent would be good for this role since we haven't seen any pass rushing ability from Studebaker or Walters and rookies aren't going to make an immediate impact usually.
Suggestion: Joey Porter (OLB, Dolphins) - everyone knows Joey Porter. He is a trash talker and might not be a great fit for the new culture of the Chiefs. He also might not want to revert to a role player. However, if those two issues don't concern Porter or Pioli this could be a great fit. Porter had 9 sacks in 09 and is two years removed from his 20 sacks season in 08. I think he still has great pass rushing ability and would provide an attitude that this defense needs. They need to get meaner and tougher and Porter can change that culture. Vrabel can be our run stuffer and Porter our pass rusher. I haven't heard much in terms of teams pursuing him. If the market isn't that hot for him we might be able to work out a reasonable contract. He might also want to come here because he was born and raised in KC.
We don't have to go with these three specific players. I just thought they were good examples. If we can aquire more picks in the draft we might be able to have the luxary of adding these components that will help progress our team by simply doing their stated role.