Oh, the Vermeil Era. A time when Kansas City was actually a Super Bowl contender. The only thing really holding them back was the lack of a defense (basically the opposite of today). Priest Holmes, Tony Gonzalez, Dante Hall, Larry Johnson and Trent Green were some of the superstars of that era, but the real work, the work that made this offense so unstoppable, was the work done up front.
Some of you may remember 2003, when Kansas City went 13-3. Consequently, this was also the year when Kansas City's line was constructed and about as full of talent as any offensive line in the history of professional football. Look at this lineup, that we all wish so much to have back.
LT: Willie Roaf. Future HoF, one of the best tackles ever.
LG: Brian Waters. Possible HoF.
C: Casey Wiegmann. Pro Bowler.
RG: Will Shields. First-ballot HoF, and probably the 3rd best offensive lineman EVER (behind Anthony Munoz and John Hannah).
RT: John Tait. Pro Bowler.
Can you recall a time when a defensive front seven was able to slow them, and the rest of our offense, down? It was a simply impossible task. How much fun would it be to have that 2003 offense again? Star running back and fullback, great receiving corps, and a possibly great QB (still shaky on Orton's future), along with an incredibly dominant line (built through both draft and free agency, like the 2003 version), and an actual defense that can keep the other teams away from the endzone?
Most of us here on Arrowhead Pride would agree that we should take either Jonathan Martin, Riley Reiff or David DeCastro in the first round of the upcoming draft. Problem is, we can't have them all and there are two positions worth replacing (Right tackle and left guard). We can draft DeCastro and put him at guard, draft Martin and put him at RT, or get Reiff who can play both. Whichever we choose, the other position needs to be addressed through free-agency. So I have compiled a list of offensive linemen who will be free agents soon.
Louis Vasquez, Guard, San Diego.
Obviously, San Diego would be stupid to let him go. Though he has always been a dominating lineman, he was often overshadowed by Dielman, McNeil, and Hardwick. He's big, fast, agile, young and nasty as it gets. Not to mention he mauled Ray Lewis on the goalline during a Monday Night game, a maneuver that I found eerily similar to this...
Bobbie Williams, Guard, Cincinnati
11-year veteran and 35 year-old guard/right tackle Bobbie Williams is obviously not our lineman of the future, and though nimble his power-blocking abilites and 350 pound frame may not be appreciated in KC like they were with the Bengals. Just throwing out names.
Carl Nicks, Guard, New Orleans
Nicks is the guy that everyone wants and not a lot of teams can afford. Huge, talented, smart, and if you ever watch Saints games, incredibly agile. If there's a screen called, he's always the first one out there, and oftentimes he'll bowl someone over and into the ground. Kansas City has the money, New Orleans doesn't. He's expensive, but oh so worth it.
Ben Grubbs, Guard, Baltimore
Mobility, strength, talent, attitude, free agent. All things that Kansas City needs. Baltimore will probably keep him, but Grubbs would be quite the addition if he came here. Not to mention the game against the Ravens next season could be a nice storyline.
Vince Manuwai, Guard, formerly Jacksonville
Yes, he was a free agent since last year which means that a lot of teams including KC passed on him. But I'm just throwing out options. He's a power-blocker that has a good pulling ability and since he went to Hawaii he has to be an above-average pass protector.
Kareem McKenzie, Tackle, New York
He's a good fit for our system, if possibly a little old. He's a tall, wide run-blocking natural Right Tackle that has done wonders for New York's great running attack (up to this year). Good in pass-protection as well.
Rob Sims, Guard, Detroit
Big, fast, mobile guard with a nasty mean streak. Could be a relatively cheap option and could help our offense a lot.
Demetrius Bell, Tackle, Buffalo
Great pass-protecting tackle that is not as physical as we might like in the run game (basically the opposite of B-Rich). Better suited to left than right tackle, but he could end up working in Kansas City.
Leonard David, Guard/Tackle, Detroit
Leonard is a big-ass man. 6'6, nearly 390 pounds at his peak during his career, the former #2 overall pick in 2001 has blossomed into a very successful player at both guard and tackle. He started at left tackle in Arizona, moved to right guard, and though his career there was successful and he established a reputation as one of the best guards in the league, he went on to Dallas where he got a bit of the national spotlight and got some recognition in the form of Pro Bowls. He then went to Detroit, where he has had an uneventful stint. They probably won't resign him, so he'll be a free agent again next year. Once again, not a potential long-term player. He's a ten year veteran, that I believe can still play at a high level. Unfortunately, his most feared talent, power blocking, will not be appreciated at guard in our ZBS. He could play, he could lose some weight for his current 355 pounds, or he could play right tackle like he did in Arizona. Just an option.
Thoughts? Ideas? Others I left out?