Never have I seen a city fall in such unwarranted love with a player for his performance in a single game than I have with Kansas City and Andy Studebaker.
Hardly anyone knew Andy Studebaker's name until last season, in week 11, when he put on a performance of a lifetime. The previous season's Super Bowl champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers, were in town, visiting the 2-7 Kansas City Chiefs. No one was giving the Chiefs any hope for this game; a miracle needed to happen.
That miracle was Andy Studebaker.
Studebaker, a special teams guy and back up linebacker, got the start that day because of an injury to Mike Vrabel. He went on to record half a sack and 2 interceptions, one of those at the Chiefs 2 yard line after a lengthy Pittsburgh drive. He would then return the interception 94 yards before running out of gas. The Chiefs went on to win that game in overtime.
Since then, it seems that every Chiefs fan has hopped on the Studebaker bandwagon (I will admit that I yelled "that guy puts the 'stud' in 'Studebaker' after his second interception; and yes, I know that is extremely corny). But, probably more importantly, it seems the front office has bought in too. That was apparent on September 14th, 2010, the Chiefs gave Studebaker a 4-year, $5.74 million extension.
It wasn't a secret that Studebaker was being groomed to replace veteran OLB Mike Vrabel. This was apparent all last season when Studebaker and Vrabel would be doing almost constant subbing for each other.
But even with the increased opportunities on defense this season, he only finished with the same amount of tackles as in 2009 - 28 tackles. Granted, he had 2.5 sacks this season, and tackles aren't that good of a measurement for a pass rusher (Hali had 52). But even Wallace Gilberry, who came in about the same amount as Studebaker, had 23 tackles, 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
Why am I talking about this?
Both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of ESPN have OLB Akeem Ayers out of UCLA going to the Chiefs with the 21st pick in the draft. This is what Kiper had to say about Ayers (McShay had similar things to say, so I'm just going to use Kiper):
"Kansas City must draft an outside linebacker, and in Ayers the Chiefs get a player who can learn from Mike Vrabel if he's there or step in for him immediately if he's not. Ayers is known for freak athleticism, but his versatility is the real draw. He has good skills as a pass-rusher, can drop off into coverage and holds up well in the run game. A sound fit for KC's scheme."
And although ESPN isn't the only people that do mock drafts, most of the others agree with the idea of adding a pass rusher, either at the linebacker or defensive end position. It seems that most analysts concur that the Chiefs need another pass rusher to complement Tamba Hali. Most agree that Studebaker is not the answer.
I can't help but like the guy, but to be honest, I am one of those people that hasn't bought in to Studebaker being the future of our OLB position. But is a pass rusher our biggest need in the draft? If Ayers does make it down to KC in the draft, should we take him in the first round? Or do we have bigger fish to fry than a pass rusher? We will have to wait to find out.
This post is originally from http://tipofthearrowhead.blogspot.com/. If you like the post, give the website a look.