Chiefs drafted impact players since 2009 - Jon Baldwin, Eric Berry, Jon Asamoah, Ryan Succop, Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Tony Moeaki, Tyson Jackson
I've spent some time contemplating the reasons for what I perceive as the Chiefs' lack of depth in 2011, specifically I wanted to take a look at whether the Chiefs' free agency and drafting in Pioli's time here was to blame for it. To do so, I decided to compare the Chiefs' and Patriots' drafts and free agent singings since Pioli has been in KC. To preface, my definition of an impact player is someone who sees the field regularly and/or has a significant impact on the game's outcome. I am only including players currently on their respective team's roster. The results are a little different than I expected. (more after the jump)
Patriots drafted impact players since 2009 - Nate Solder, Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez, Zoltan Mesko, Patrick Chung, Darius Butler, Julian Edelman, Ras-I Dowling
Chiefs FA/Trade impact players since 2009 - Matt Cassel, Thomas Jones, Casey Weigmann, Steve Breaston, Jovan Belcher, Leonard Pope, Ryan Lilja, Kelly Gregg
Patriots FA/Trade impact players since 2009 - Leigh Bodden, Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch, Danny Woodhead, Brian Waters, Benjarvis Green-Ellis
For sheer number of impact players, it would seem just about even, with a slight edge to New England. The Chiefs, with less draft picks, drafted and/or signed almost exactly the same number of impact players as the Pats. The difference to me appears to be some bad luck, some questionable draft choices, and a huge difference in the original base of talent. At the beginning of 2009, the Patriots had Brady coming back, a good offensive line, a good defensive line, and questions at TE, LB and DB. The Chiefs, on the other hand, had nothing at quarterback, an undiscovered Jamaal Charles at RB, nothing at TE (after trading Tony) a bad offensive line, a bad defensive line, bad linebackers, 2 good corners, and bad safeties. We're talking a true 2-14 level of talent team here in KC, and a true 11-5 or 12-4 team in NE.
For drafts, the jury is still out both in KC and NE on several players, as it's year 1-3 in their careers. The head-scratchers for me still are McCluster and Moeaki. McCluster is a talent, no doubt about it, but he's too small and not elusive enough to be a really effective player in the NFL IMO. He's going to get hit by much bigger guys and he's going to lose the ball from the impact. It's been proven. He's a good but not elite returner. We traded up to get Moeaki when Aaron Hernandez was still on the board. I thought then and think now that Hernandez had more talent and less injury issues than Moeaki. Moeaki is a good player and the talent is there just as expected, but the injuries are there just as expected too.
For Patriots free agents/trades: Bodden is a solid corner; Haynesworth hasn't shown much yet; Ochocinco, Branch, Green-Ellis and Woodhead all play well inside a very good offense; and Waters is a veteran who has stepped in aptly on an establish o-line. For the Chiefs: We all know Cassel's Pro Bowl and his weaknesses too; Jones and Pope played well inside a good offense last year, and Breaston hasn't had a chance to prove himself this year. Weigmann, Lilja and Gregg have neither distinguished nor tarnished themselves on average lines IMO. Belcher is an average ILB.
I guess to me that means Pioli has done a pretty good job here. Has he gambled? Sure. So does every team in the draft. As a fan, the lack of information from 1 Arrowhead is frustrating, but I get it and it has no bearing on whether he's done a good job or not. I think it does cloud some media judgment and tend to lend a harsher tone. However, other than Tony G (who I really count as already gone), I'd say every position group is better than it was 3 years ago. There really isn't much difference in the talent level acquired here vs. New England in the time that he's been here.
The question is where do we go from 89-10, 0-2? If the results continue to be as bad as they've been, I can't imagine Haley lasting. Pioli, though, seems to have done his job as far as acquiring more talent.