Everyone has their own favorite players in the 2012 Draft. The Chiefs roster looks pretty good. At every position we have a player that most of us would feel comfortable starting week 1. But there are still openings on the final 53 man roster at several positions. I took a look back at Steve_Chiefs excellent post Numbers to get a better idea of what positions need to be filled via the Draft or as a stopgap—the second round of free agency.
Week 1 Starting Potential:
G, SILB, FB
*Italics and parenthesis indicate a roster spot up for grabs
As much as we'd all love to see David Mims own the swing tackle position, in 2012 it's just not that realistic. We need someone who can step up and play left tackle in place of Albert in Denver in week 17 with the playoffs on the line. Everything I've read would indicate that in that scenario, Winston would stay put at RT, but I'm not certain. Does it make sense to replace David Mims with a tackle that has a lower ceiling but higher floor? Let's look at an alternative.
In years past we had Brian Waters slide over from LG to LT with very little drop off. Could the Chiefs trade back for a more versatile, tackle playing guard like Georgia's Cordy Glenn, Iowa State's Kelechi Osemele or even a falling Riley Reiff instead of taking Stanford's David DeCastro.
Doing so would improve the line by replacing Lilja and would buy Mims a little more time to develop into the legitimate NFL tackle his size and athleticism hint at.
The interior line (LG, C, RG) only gets one backup between them, but would still be okay since Asamoah has the ability to cover the Center position in the event of an injury to Rodney Hudson and then the backup (Ryan Lilja) steps in to cover Asamoah's spot.
Strong Inside Linebacker
1. Jovan Belcher
2. (Brandon Siler)
This position is sort of an all or nothing propostion. Unless they think Luke Kuechly is such a good prospect they can't pass him up, I could see the remainder of the acquisitions for SILB being late round development projects or UDFAs.
1. (Shane Bannon)
I'm curious why Le'Ron McClain was allowed to walk. Regardless, Owen Schmidtt is available as a free agent, Peyton Hillis could see significant time lined up as a fullback this year and there are always a few good prospects available late in the draft. There is also a small possibility that they let Bannon keep this job.
Urgent Needs: Significant week 1 contributor not on roster
1. Eric Berry
4. Donald Washington
Mike McCarthy played primarily on special teams in Denver. I think his roster spot is moderately safe. Bringing him in on a 1-year deal looks very much like a tryout to see if he can permanently replace Jon McGraw. Donald Washington started a few games last year in because of the injury shuffle. To my eye he appeared to improve as the year went on (whereas Sabby Piscatelli did not). With razor-thing depth and Romeo's affinity for cover-3 looks, the Chiefs need at least one more safety—badly.
Unfortunately this is a piss poor year for safeties in the Draft. After Mark Barron, many of the best safety prospects are actually cornerbacks. Which is why I think that Donald Washington's roster spot is safe for another year. I've heard rumors that Jalil Brown (6'1" 205) could see some action at safety as well. If there was ever a place for Pioli to use his black magic Draft spells to find another Kendrick Lewis. This would be the spot.
1. Tony Moeaki
2. Kevin Boss
3. (Jake O'Connell)
4. (Steve Maneri)
Players experiencing an ACL tear come back with a reduced ability to make sharp cuts. This may drastically reduce Moeaki's effectiveness on the field. Jake O'Connell is a 7th round pick with 12 career catches who never went away. and Steve Maneri is a former offensive tackle whose primary talent is run blocking. With both Boss and Moeaki having a history of injuries, bringing in a #3 TE with actual talent seems wise. This could come as early as Round 2 if Clemson's Dwayne Allen is still available.
Serious Depth Needs: No suitable Week 1 backup on roster
RB, NT, G/T
4. (Shaun Draughn)
Depending on how the Chiefs choose to classify Dexter McCluster, I could see carrying 3 or 4 running backs on the 53 man roster. Shaun Draughn will likely not be one of them. He's a neither a speed back, nor a power back. Or an anything else back either for that matter. However this is a good year for drafting running backs. After Trent Richardson, there are several promising prospects with 2nd round talent. I could see the Chiefs waiting to see if any of them slide into the 3rd.
1. Jerrell Powe
These are big players but this isn't a terribly big hole. In years past Pioli has been very picky about selecting NTs. Unless he really likes a player like Josh Chapman, I think it's more likely we pursue a 0-tech in free agency, either by signing Romeo's old pal Shaun Rogers (who thought he had a Super Bowl shot last year) or re-signing Kelly Gregg. In either scenario I'd imagine we'll see a lot more of Jerrell Powe than we did year.
Other unfilled 53 man roster positions:
(1) DE, (2) WR
2. Glenn Dorsey
3. Amon Gordon
4. Allen Bailey
5. Brandon Bair
I think every player on this list is safe. The run stuffers, then pass rushers and the development project all have a place on the 53. Last year we did carry six defensive ends. This looks like the most fluid position, the final roster spot could be filled with a first rounder, a seventh rounder or by re-signing Wallace Gilberry.
1. Dwayne Bowe
5. (Jeremy Horne)
6. (Jamar Newsome)
I'm assuming that Dex gets listed at running back, which would reduce the number of wide outs to six. I could see the Pioli drafting a late-round boom-or-bust type player and a special teams ace. Keep in mind, there will be interesting options available after the inevitable post-draft veteran cuts as well as final roster cut downs.
2013 Free Agents:
Dwayne Bowe: I'm assuming they get a deal done
Branden Albert: I think the deal gets done in-season
Glenn Dorsey: Most likely gone
Dustin Colquitt: anyone ever franchise tag a punter?