Before I go into baseball mode for the rest of the year, let me make you look at the Chiefs' draft needs. After Vermiel went all in and the Herman Edwards/Carl Peterson Zeppelin immolated almost every scrap of talent left on the roster, this was one of the ugliest seasons of Chiefs football that I've watched in a while. Ugh. It's pretty clear that the team has a lot of holes and what better way to plug them than through the draft? I'm not an NCAA nerd at all, so this is not going to be a specifically qualified draft wish list. This list is based upon what I saw this season as glaring needs for the Chiefs to address in the off-season. jumpling...
Offensive Line - The Chiefs probably need to draft at least two guys to play on the line. Casey Weigmann, Ryan Lilja and Barry Richardson could all use a permanent spell. Lilja could probably be the sixth guy on the line and play lights out off of the bench. He's too old and too small to be an every down guy. Richardson is, well, he's Barry Richardson. I hope that Rodney Hudson works out at Center, but that is yet to be seen. Some bigger, fresher bodies are sorely needed at Guard and Tackle.
Halfback - I was hoping that the Chiefs would have jumped for Mark Ingram in their last draft. I am looking forward to Jonathan Baldwin's career, but it's hard to trust a Jon
who missed half the season with a foolish injury without an H. Jamaal is, in my mind, one of the most talented backs in the league, but he's barely 200lbs if at all. His knee injury notwithstanding, I fear for his life every time he nimbly shreds a defense. Clearly the committee did not come close to happening in Kansas City. I don't care who you are, 10th in the league in rushing isn't going to win you a division nor will it get you within smelling distance of a championship (especially if your team is supposed to be a power running team). The Chiefs need a true power runner (remember how awesome Willis McGahee looked on Sunday?) to compliment their speed guys.
Tight End - Wow... Leonard Pope was a third year starter for the Kansas City Chiefs. The same Chiefs who recently enjoyed twelve years of the stellar play from Hall of Fame bound Tony Gonzalez. Oh, I know our new Tony has shown some serious flash, but we need a new Kris Wilson. Leonard Pope has got to have ranked pretty high in penalties for a starting tight-end (especially false starts) and is good for 1.5 touchdowns a season (He had 1 this season) and about 160 yards. He's like the Chris Getz of the Chiefs; his blocking is his strength, but it in no way makes up for the rest of his mediocre play. The Chiefs should go for a true blocking tight end in the later rounds of the draft and it would make a lot of sense if they looked earlier and got a guy that can actually play to back up Moeaki. I demand no Anthony Becht/Jake O'Connel carousel of shame next season.
Inside Linebacker - This one should be pretty obvious. Jovan Belcher, god bless him, went from being the un-drafted free-agent whipping post of the practice squat to the top of the heap that was Corey Mays, Demorrio Williams, and David Herron. Now, his adequately poor run defense and inability to cover are glaring weaknesses in a markedly improved defense. Derrick Johnson has come a long way since growing into a leader instead of a hot-head (maybe Todd Haley can take the proverbial page, eh?) but he can't do it all by himself. I realize Brandon Siler will be back next season, but he was originally supposed to be a "depth guy" and guarantees nothing at the position. I wouldn't be unhappy with a high pick spent on a promising ILB.
Nose Tackle - Is Powe ready to be the pre-season beast we all knew and loved next pre-season? Can he carry it into the regular season?! We'll have to wait and see. But until then, it wouldn't hurt to add some fresh bodies to the rotation at the most punishing and difficult grind in football.
Quarterback - The Chiefs quarterback situation, unfortunately, is much more complicated than a draft pick. I didn't put it last because I don't think the Chiefs should draft a quarterback, I just would hate to see them reach wildly for something that could be a disappointment. For every Tom Brady in the league, there is an Elvis Grbac and a Todd Collins and a Scott Dreisbach and a Brian Griese and a Drew Henson and a John Navarre and a Chad Henne. These all represented safe-ish picks from a proven college program (well, Michigan, anyway) of players who had tangible achievements on the field. Some of those dudes may not be in the NFL consciousness anymore, and I apologize for that. That's the way the NFL works though, you win or you are forgotten but to those faithful that love the game for it's own sake. They didn't win though and that's the same reason the Chiefs can't trust any Matt Cassels or Kyle Ortons to keep the job without generating some kind of competition for it. And it's the same reason the team has been gun-shy since drafting Todd Blackledge in the 1983 draft.
I watch some Hawkeye football and I believe Rickhardo Stanzi has the physical tools, but he may not have those "intangibles". Not having him play AT ALL this season sucked. I realize though that an unproven rookie doesn't give you much of a chance to win, but neither do any Tyler Palkos. Stanzi could have used the experience on the field, but it's not a wash because he got to watch a whole season of football and learn all of the sideline business with the coaches. At least he didn't get hurt, right?!
The Peyton Manning trade rumors seem far too good to be true. We'd instantly have one of the best offenses in the league with our
power running game and his uncanny knack for offensive wizardry. The real key in this or any kind of trade situation is going to be how the front office situation shakes out. I believe that Pioli would be wise to keep Romeo Crennel as the head coach, at least for a season, and not reach too far for coordinators. The locker room is united behind him and with a good draft, some sane preparation for the season and our injured players coming back to occupy their previous positions, The Chiefs could be a very good team in the Year of the Disappointing Mayan Apocalypse. However, a headstrong offensive coordinator or coach ::coughMcDanielscough:: could really clash with an established pro like Manning or take the locker room back to the darkness of Todd "Spirit Screamer" Haley. There's a lot of ways this could shake out and it's going to be fun to watch it all unfold. ¡Hasta la próxima!