We've spent our time leading up to the 2011 NFL draft trying to identify the top need for the Kansas City Chiefs. There are varying opinions but that list generally includes nose tackle, outside linebacker, receiver, offensive tackle, guard and center.
For Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, there's not a true No. 1 need in the draft. In fact, he said at his annual pre-draft press conference on Friday that he's never gone into a draft with a single No. 1 need.
"Because of the way this league is now," he said, "there are these cycles where you have free agency and what is in need today immediately for 2011 to line up in September, you can't be so short-sighted to not understand what might happen to your roster at the beginning of 2012."
Think back to Jon Asamoah last year. He was a third round pick yet the Chiefs were seemingly set at guard in 2010 with Brian Waters and Ryan Lilja. The Chiefs drafted him, though, likely realizing that Waters is getting up there in age and Lilja is only on a three-year contract. So they need someone for the future.
When I hear Pioli reminding us that the draft isn't always about the immediate future, I think of cornerback. The Chiefs have Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr penciled in as the starters now but Carr is on a one-year tender and Flowers is entering the final year of his deal.
Cornerback is not one of the top need positions I listed and I think many folks would argue that cornerback is the position the Chiefs are most comfortable at right now.
The key words there are "right now".
Just because the Chiefs are set at cornerback in 2011 doesn't mean they're set for 2012, 2013 and so on. Drafting a cornerback in the first round would be a disappointment for fans, I think, because we want immediate production out of a first round pick.
But Chiefs GM Scott Pioli's contract probably doesn't expire at the end of this season so he needs to select players that are good for the long-term health of the team and perhaps cornerback would fit that.
So when looking at who the Chiefs will select on Thursday, April 28, remember that it's not just about 2011 and the immediate future.