I have been thinking about our conundrum with the O-line and how Scott Pioli will go about planning for the eventual retirement of Brian Waters and Casey Wiegmann. Chiefs fans are all in agreement that OT is also an area of concern with Richardson and Albert still having question marks over whether they are the OT of the future. All this time Ryan Lilja and Jon Asamoah are sitting there wondering where they fit in all this. Funny how there's quite a few question marks yet this O-line was arguably the best in the league this season just past. I think I have some answers to these questions.
Let's start with Barry Richardson. A late round pick from that great 08 draft class. He had his first full year of starting last season and had a lot of chief fans stunned by the fact that he actually could play pretty good. He is a great run blocker which is what you like out of your RT, yet he lacks in his pass protection. I'm happy with Richardson getting another year to learn and grow and see if he can further strengthen his game.
Now we move over to the most important position on the O-line, LT. Branden Albert has been somewhat of a disappointment in his time as a chief. His rookie year he showed some promise. His second season started out as a train wreck but rounded out the season with a solid run down the stretch. In 2010 we saw some good improvement from Albert but still after 3 years, he's not really resembling a Pro Bowl calibre player. I believe Albert will be given another season to see if he can take his game to the next level, but Pioli will want to draft a 3rd-5th round OT for insurance on both Albert and Richardson.
Brian Waters has been a great player for the chiefs. He's a great leader and an all round great person. I get the feeling though that 2011 will be his last season. He wasn't all that great this year and it's widely agreed he got into the Pro Bowl this year based on his name only. Jon Asamoah figures to be his replacement but I have a feeling the Chiefs plan on having him be the next starting center. Pioli said when he drafted Asamoah that his versatility on the line was one of the main reasons he was picked.
Casey Wiegmann I feel will retire and not be a chief for the 2011 season. As stated before I feel Asamoah is going to be his replacement. Now we all remember arguing where Branden Albert's "natural position" is. To me, It's LT or LG. We drafted Albert as a LG but King Carl figured he would be able to play LT in the pros. Albert hasn't proven a whole lot as a LT and should he not progress to that Pro Bowl calibre level, I think he will be moved to LG after Waters retires in 2012. Albert showed through college he can be a great LG.
So now you're thinking "well why not spend a first round pick on one of the OT that will be around when we pick at 21." The answer, None of these OT are that impressive. None of them looked decent playing LT at the Senior Bowl. I doubt Pioli has any faith in them being Franchise LTs in the pros. So why draft a first round RT when you have a young RT already who has shown to be at worst an average RT.
With all that in mind we would have a future O-line that looks like this...
LT:? LG: Branden Albert C: Jon Asamoah RG: Ryan Lilja RT Barry Richardson
The LT will either come through FA or the draft in the next offseason. This is all just purely speculation and just a thought I had. Love it or hate it but I wouldn't mind seeing that lineup, provided that unknown LT is good. I doubt Pioli will settle for anything less. Crazy Idea isn't it, well you can just call me Kramer...
Seinfeld - Kramer going crazy (via ephracis)