2010 NFL Draft: Chiefs Banking On Improvement From Defensive Players In-House

The Chiefs did not make any significant changes to their defensive front seven in the 2010 NFL draft.

This was a major surprise to many of us. A common mock draft for the Chiefs had LB Rolando McClain and NT Terrence Cody as the first two picks. Both major positions of need and neither addressed in the draft.

"Number one," Chiefs head coach Todd Haley began on Saturday when asked about the run defense, "we are developing the guys that we have here on campus and I think each and every one of those guys are working their backsides off trying to move up the ranks so to speak."

Right....but I don't see where the improvement will come from at inside linebacker.

This is the way I see it: The Chiefs obviously put an emphasis on playmakers in this draft. I think that says something about the direction of the team and the types of players Pioli and Co. want.

Let's take a quick look at the Chiefs inside linebackers.

Demorrio Williams played nearly the most snaps of anyone on the team and ended up with:

  • Zero interceptions
  • Zero sacks
  • Zero forced fumbles
  • Zero fumble recoveries

That is not the definition of a playmaker. In three years, he has totaled zero sacks and two interceptions. Now, he's 29 years old and players don't tend to deviate (in the right direction) much further than what they've already shown us once they hit 30. I do not see why we shouldn't expect another 100+ tackle, zero interception, zero sack, zero forced fumble season from him -- this coming the year after an entire draft was focused on playmakers.

Then there's Corey Mays who, like Williams, is apparently a Haley favorite because his statistical production did not match his playing time. Mays busts his hump (which is very much appreciated among the fanbase) and must've really impressed the coaches early in the season because he saw plenty of action, too.

However, again like Williams, Mays is not a playmaker if we want to define that statistically. He passed the 60-tackle threshold for the first time in his career in 2009 but did not sack the quarterback or intercept a pass all season. Actually, he has never sacked the quarterback in five NFL seasons. It's unlikely his production will dramatically increase at this point.

Derrick Johnson, meanwhile, did record an interception (three of 'em) and a sack. In fact, he's sacked the quarterback and intercepted a pass in each of the last three seasons. He's made plays when the opportunity presented itself.

The Chiefs focused on playmakers in the 2010 draft. The front office had obviously felt that was a priority. Logic says they thought that was a priority because there were not enough playmakers on the 2009 defense.

The (starting) inside linebackers were not playmakers. That position was not addressed in free agency or the draft.

Haley called Romeo Crennel one of the best defensive pick-ups for the Chiefs this season.

That may be the case but I'm having trouble figuring out where the production will come from at inside linebacker. Logically speaking, failure to address the position simply does not make sense to me.

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