So the main buzz, wait what am I saying. The ONLY buzz on AP at the moment is what our beloved chiefs will do in this years draft. Now granted, this draft is important. Very important. But one can not expect Scott Pioli to turn this team around with his 2010 draftee's. To build a winning franchise, you must have the right infusion of talented youth and experience. For the chiefs to be successful in 2010, Pioli has to draft strong, but also make do with current players and make them reach their potential. In my view, 2010 will be mostly determined by the performance, and I mean consistant performance of players like Dwayne Bowe, Derrick Johnson, Matt Cassel, Brandon Carr, Brandon Albert, and the LSU boys, Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey.
Dwayne Bowe has been, at best, a good player for the chiefs. What stops me from saying great is consistancy. Bowe was picked 23rd in the 2007 draft. His first season was impressive. Second year, He showed a little bit of improvement. His third season, very dissapointing. His numbers were down and got suspended for a drug policy violation. The main knock on him was his level of consistancy. He could make a great catch one play, the next he would drop an easily catchable ball with no player around. Todd Haley was a WR coach and has said he believes in Bowe. Haley will probably look to work with Bowe and make him into the superstar he can be.
Derrick Johnson is the text book definition of a yo-yo player. He was drafted 15th overall in 2005. His best year, statistically was 2007. 94 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 INT. Since then his play has gone down and his inconsistancy caused his benching for most of 2009. He started 3 games in 2009, WK 6 vs Washington, WK 14 vs Buffalo, and WK 17 vs Denver. We all know he had the best game of his career against Denver. But against Washington and Buffalo he had 8 tackles, 4 in each, 0 sacks, 0 INT. Haley gave him 3 chances to prove he could play, 1 he did, 2 he didn't. After 5 season in KC and not much to show for it, it might be time to let him go.
Matt Cassel is the feel-good story you like to hear. Drafted 230th overall by the Patriots in 2005. Never started a college game. Served as back up to arguably the QB of the decade, Tom Brady. Got his chance to prove himself in 2008 when Brady went down for the year. Went on to lead the Patriots to an 11-5 season. Sadly, Cassel could not repeat those heriocs for the chiefs in 2009, leading them to a 4-12 season. Granted, Cassel had nowhere near the talent around him that he did in New England, but the number aren't really the problem. They will improve as his recievers learn to hold onto the ball. The Dallas game really highlighted the maturing of Cassel and him taking on the leadership role that a QB must take. You could see his enthusiasm as he lead the chiefs 58 yards for a TD to the game and take it to overtime. This is the kind of attitude we needed from him week in week out.
After a promising rookie season in 2008, Brandon Carr failed to take the next step in 2009. He often got out of position as WR burned him for big gains. Could it be he buckled under the pressure of having more passes passed to his reciever, while Brandon Flowers shut down his? Possibly. Were our expectations too high for a 5th round pick? While he has the potential to be a good CB, I think he will fall into the shadow of Brandon Flowers and suffer as opposing QB's continue to pick on him.
Brandon Albert's natural position, contrary to the belief of some "experts", is LT. It was the fact that Eugene Monroe couldn't play guard in college that Albert played their. Regardless, Albert was drafted 15th with the belief that he could translate into LT at the pro level. So far he has struggled to show that he can. His first season was patchy while showing some promise. 2009 was not so nice to Albert. He allowed 9 sacks in 2009. While most came in the first half of the season, this is still a bad number of sacks allowed for a LT. Given time, Albert will be able to become a cornerstone for an O line. Whether it's the chiefs O line is unsure.
Now the LSU boys. Our 2 starting DE's didn't have great season. Glenn Dorsey had a good season as switched from a 4-3 DT to a 3-4 DE, I wish the same could be said for Tyson Jackson. While it is widely accepted it takes D linemen around 3 years to turn good, these 2 weren't any ordinary D linemen. Dorsey was a steal at 5 in the 2008 draft and was the most exciting D linemen in that draft class. Tyson Jackson, while not as highly acclaimed, was selected 3rd overall and was considered the best 3-4 DE in the draft. The job of a 3-4 DE isn't so much to sack the QB, but to take up blockers to make it easier for the OLB to blitz the QB. Seeing as we got the second lowest sack count, it seems neither of them didn't do their job too well. Dorsey comes into his 3rd year this season. This is his make or break season. While Tyson Jackson must similarly step up as he has had his rookie season in the 3-4 and should know what's expected of him come September
So who out of those players is ready to rise up and reach their potential(and stay their) in 2010. Who will rise and help this team become respectable again. My thought is Bowe, Cassel, Dorsey and Albert. On a side note. I think Bowe will be going to the Pro Bowl this season. What about you AP? Who will most likely step up and reach their potential?