With the current labor environment, the only thing of which we're certain is that the 2011 NFL draft will take place. The Kansas City Chiefs will be in Kansas City but on Thursday, April 28th, they will make a selection (assuming they don't trade out of the first round).
Usually, free agency has happened long before the draft. It's usually the first week of March when the league year is over but, with the mess we're in this year, free agency is still waiting.
The two sides will go to court on April 6th at which point we'll start to get a better idea of when the doors to the NFL might open again, which would signal the arrival of free agency.
Peter King of SI.com guessed (not reported) that free agency will begin on May 1st if an injunction is upheld and the doors to the NFL are back open. That scenario means free agency would come after the draft.
Would this change anything?
Obviously it would change some things but the general approach wouldn't change a whole lot, I don't think. Heading int the offseason, you know what holes you have to fill and you use free agency to fill as many as you can knowing that you also have draft picks to use if you can't fill them.
It would just be the opposite this year. You go into the draft with holes to fill, and fill what you can, knowing free agency is right around the corner to fill out the rest.
There's uncertainty involved in both. You may be banking on a draft pick to fall to you, but then he doesn't. Or you may be banking on free agent X to come to Kansas City, but he doesn't.
I don't think things would change significantly. It would be different but the big picture would remain the same.