Every GM has to gamble a little. There are big-name blue-chip pro-bowlers who never play at a high level again and injury prone journeyman players who click with a team and win championships. Measuring risk and making smart gambles is why Scott Pioli makes the big bucks.
Which brings us to Shaun Smith. A lot of us on AP were disappointed that the Chiefs didn't draft a nose tackle. There was however, a certain degree of relief when Pioli picked up veteran NT Shaun Smith from Cincinnati. Unfortunately there's a good chance that Shaun Smith is Mike Goff 2.0
About this time last year, we were all excited about MIke Goff being a successful veteran that could come in an steady the shaky interior of our offensive line. It turns out that Mike Goff was never that great to begin with, and when surrounded by mediocre talent he was a huge liability. The Mike Goff experiment was a dismal failure.
Which brings us back to Shaun Smith. We all like the idea of a true 3-4 NT that can at the very least split time with Ron Edwards. Anecdotal evidence would indicate that Edwards played better in the beginning of the season when he was still sharing snaps with Tank Tyler.
But like Goff in San Diego, nobody in Cincinnati was sad to Shaun Smith go. The feeling there was that Shaun Smith was never a dominant DT for the Browns or Bengals. In 2009 he was a backup that only played in 4 games accumulating a rather pedestrian 8 tackles. He will not beat Ron Edwards out for the starting NT job.
Walter Football, the most curmudgeonly of NFL analysis sites, HATES Shaun Smith challenging him on his general fitness and work ethic. In a recent season preview of the Kansas City Chiefs he called out Shaun Smith specifically, "the newly signed Shaun Smith is a fat, lazy sloth." Ouch. Regardless of what nasty names Walter Football chooses to call a player, anyone that has fitness and work ethic issues doesn't sound like a part of Todd Haley's right 53.
Todd Haley keeps preaching that they're developing younger guys on the roster. Well the word out of OTA's is that Derek Lokey is tearing it up out there. The coaching staff is really high on him at the moment. He's stronger than he's ever been and is playing way better football than he ever has before.
I've heard that some people inside Arrowhead have Lokey as lock to make the team and might see a significant number of snaps at NT rotating in for Edwards depending on how training camp goes.
So why did we acquire Shaun Smith? Insurance. If Lokey failed to develop or Ron Edwards went down due to injury we'd at least have a proper NT sized body big to throw into the middle of our defensive line.
I think Nose Tackle will be a really interesting battle in training camp, when the actual pads come out. Based on what I've heard already I wouldn't be at all surprised if Shaun Smith was with the third team.