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Assessing Chiefs' Need For 2009 Draft

Bumped this up a few hours. Morning update will come around 8 AM. -Chris

It's never too early, is it? Nah.

I am, nonetheless, an addicted draftnik, to the point where I literally have a tackboard that I keep all my favorite draftees targeted at particular points in the Draft.

But the point of this entry is not necessarily to judge which players we might be more intrigued by (rest assured, there will be plenty of those in the months that come from yours truly). Here, I'm more convinced in our needs. What needs are the most and least pressing for the Chiefs in the 2009 NFL Draft?

A complete and obsessive breakdown follows, after the jump.



This is a large concern for the Chiefs. Huard is on his last legs this season, and at the end of 2008 I believe the Chiefs should thank him for his services. Many folks here have been hard on Thigpen, but I'm of the belief that Thigpen does have some potential. He was drafted out of a small college -- that screams "two-year project." Thigpen needs time, and he's not hurting anybody at the #3 slot. Ingle Martin is just a guy.

Croyle is just not reliable as an NFL starter, but he does have gifts, and he does have a certain amount of poise. He is not the future of this franchise, but he could make a solid-to-great backup.

Quinn Gray -- Keep, start.
Brodie Croyle -- Keep, make him earn it in camp against whatever stud we bring in.
Damon Huard -- Retire/cut.
Tyler Thigpen -- Keep, make him earn it in camp.
Ingle Martin -- Cut.

Need: 10 out of 10.
Pick: 1st to 3rd round. Maybe a second in the 6th or 7th to compete with Thigpen.


It goes without saying that Bowe's a true #1. It's tough to say if we have a true #2, but Will Franklin has some potential. He's a fast route-runner and he exploded in preseason. He'll struggle this year as he recovers from his injury and gets used to game speed, but I'll be watching. As of now, he's unproven.

After him, it's nothing but question marks. Webb will be an RFA, but isn't worth more than vet minimum. He's a 5th WR at best. Darling continues to be a huge disappointment, but we can keep him around as a 3rd or 4th. Hagans and Rucker are just guys. There's serious need here, not only as a #2, but for depth as well.

Dwayne Bowe -- Keep, start.
Will Franklin -- Keep, let him earn it in camp.
Devard Darling -- Keep.
Jeff Webb -- Keep at vet min.
Marques Hagans -- Cut.
Micah Rucker -- Cut.

Need: 8 out of 10.
Pick: We could take 2 and I'd be alright. 1st to 3rd for the first, and 4th to 6th for the second.


Albert has shown enough to be a starting LT for yet another year. Therefore I don't think the Chiefs should worry about spending a 1st on an elite LT. It's possible we already have one. We also have a very talented young steal from 2006 in Herb Taylor, who has handled LT duties very well in Albert's stead. He deserves to fight to start at RT next year.

McIntosh I'm not crazy about but he'd be about all you could ask for as a backup LT, or a backup RT. Richardson's a backup tackle at this point. It's tough to tell if he will ever be quick enough to block on the edge, but he's definitely talented enough to start inside. Moving him to guard is an option. There's a slight depth issue here, but for the most part I like Albert and Taylor in 2009.

Branden Albert -- Keep, start LT.
Herb Taylor -- Keep, start RT.
Damion McIntosh -- Keep, backup.
Barry Richardson -- Keep, backup and/or move to G.

Need: 4 out of 10.
Pick: 6th to 7th.


As Dorsey continues to face double-teams, this DL is going to have to showcase other talents that can take advantage of one-on-ones. Picking an elite DT in this draft with our first or second would free up Dorsey more often and our entire DL would benefit. However, it's tough to say whether Tank is that guy, thereby making that pick unnecessary for the moment. He has shown flashes.

It's also hard to say whether our backups are really up to the task. Boone fits as a rotational DT, especially in the nickel package, but TJ Jackson and Ron Edwards are probably disposable. Better options abound, in the Draft and elsewhere. Derek Lokey is just a special teams guy.

Glenn Dorsey -- Keep, start.
Tank Tyler -- Keep, make him earn it.
Alphonso Boone -- Keep, make him earn it.
Ron Edwards -- Cut.
TJ Jackson -- Make him earn it in camp.
Derek Lokey -- Make him earn it in camp.

Need: 6 out of 10.
Pick: 3rd to 5th.


Lots of trouble here. We need everything. Turk McBride really seems like the only thing that's working out here. He's not a good pass rusher but he plays the run on the strong side fairly well. Tamba Hali is talented but he over-exerts himself and gets injured frequently. Hali would work best not as a feature DE but as part of a lethal rotation, which he's never had in KC. Combine him and Turk with an elite pass-rush specialist and things might open up.

Still, that's just three guys. Nothing else looks great here. Brian Johnston needs another season to develop, and Jason Parker is just a guy. Depth is needed here -- drafting two guys is probably worth it.

Tamba Hali -- Keep, start in rotation.
Turk McBride -- Keep, start in rotation.
Brian Johnston -- Keep, make him earn it in camp.
Jason Parker -- Make him earn it in camp.

Need: 10 out of 10.
Pick: Two picks, 1st to 2nd with the first, 3rd to 5th with the second.


This is such an important position in the Cover 2. The Cover 2 MLB needs to be one of the bigger LBs in this league, and he needs to be one of the fastest. That said, you simply can't put anyone in this position who isn't an insane athlete and expect them to succeed. Pat Thomas has struggled but deserves a spot on this team -- however, he's certainly no starter. We don't have one on this roster.

Napoleon Harris is either constantly injured or constantly disappointing. He needs to be released. Weston Dacus looks good on special teams; let him earn it in camp.

Pat Thomas -- UFA, resign on the cheap.
Weston Dacus -- Make him earn it in camp.

Need: 9 out of 10.
Pick: 2nd to 3rd.



Running back by committee is really the way to go these days if you have decent talent at the position. What you don't need is an elite guy anymore, especially one that is incredibly limited in the ways you can use him. LJ is not only a poor 3rd down back due to his poor blocking, but he broods and runs poorly if not given the ball early and often -- which you'd have to give him, basically, on 1st down and 2nd down. A large part of why our offense is predictable is attributable to that weakness... LJ is worth a lot on the market, and little to a team rebuilding. I say trade him for a 2nd.

To replace him, we're largely set. While my belief in Savage is middling, I have really enjoyed Charles and Smith. Both guys can be a solid combo package, but this team will still need a bruiser. Battle fits the role, but it's tough to say whether or not he can be that guy in 3rd and goal situations. I like Battle and Savage just enough to have them prove it in camp, but I'm not opposed to us finding a bruiser in the Draft.

Larry Johnson -- Trade.
Jamaal Charles -- Keep, start.
Kolby Smith -- Keep, start.
Dantrell Savage -- Keep, let him earn it in camp.
Jackie Battle -- Keep, let him earn it in camp.

Need: 5 out of 10.
Pick: 4th to 7th round.


It's hard to say if Rudy Niswanger can really hold it down. He's definitely got the head for the job, and he seems to hold his own most games, but he gets absolutely killed by massive nose tackles, and he gets zero help from the right side of the line. I'm willing to give him another year before trotting in a rookie, but if a golden goose falls in our lap early on, I'd go for it.

Wade Smith is serviceable as a backup. No real complaints there. I'm pretty forgiving at this position right now as we try to reconstruct the right side of the line.

Rudy Niswanger -- Keep, start.
Wade Smith -- Keep.

Need: 3 out of 10.
Pick: 6th.


As of now, we've got two viable starters for next season. Derrick Johnson can obviously hold down the strong side, and Demorrio Williams shows enough promise to warrant a season as the unquestionable starter on the other side. But since Williams is not a sure thing, and because DJ will be in the last year of his contract, drafting a stud OLB is not exactly out of the question.

Our backups is where the real mess is. Nothing's there. Donnie Edwards is on his last legs this season, Walden is worth keeping but is just a special teamer, and Durde isn't worth anything but an international spot on the practice squad. Depth here is a must.

Derrick Johnson -- Keep, start.
Demorrio Williams -- Keep, start.
Donnie Edwards -- Retire/cut.
Eric Walden -- Make him earn it in camp.
Aden Durde -- Cut.

Need: 7 out of 10.
Draft: We could use two picks on OLB and I wouldn't mind. 3rd to 4th, and 5th to 7th.


Finally, two young corners with promise! What are we going to do with that? Flowers and Carr are probable starters next year to round out a very young secondary. But they've got no depth behind them, especially as the Chiefs probably release Surtain this year.

Maurice Leggett can't get past Patterson on the depth chart, and Patterson is nothing to write home about on defense. He's a good special teamer, though. Travarous Bain intrigues me, but I doubt he's much to write home about.

Brandon Flowers -- Keep, start.
Brandon Carr -- Keep, start.
Patrick Surtain -- Cut.
Maurice Leggett -- Keep, make him earn it in camp.
Dimitri Patterson -- Make him earn it in camp.

Need: 6 out of 10.
Picks: 4th to 6th.


We're pretty much set at safety for a couple years. Page and Pollard continue to grow but fail to establish themselves at starters. Morgan may challenge either of them to start. Let 'em at it, says I. McGraw is a special teams guy who can play in spurts -- but man, Morgan needs to develop. McGraw does nothing but surrender yardage on defense.

Jarrod Page -- Keep, start.
Bernard Pollard -- Keep, start.
DaJuan Morgan -- Keep.
Jon McGraw -- Keep.

Need: 2 out of 10.
Picks: 7th.


Nobody knows the woes of being unprepared at this position more than the Chiefs. Nick Novak never did and never will deserve the opportunities the Chiefs have given him. I know Herm infamously misfired with Medlock, but the Chiefs should not be gunshy about a kicker should a good one drift along.

Connor Barth -- Make him earn it in camp.

Need: 5 out of 10.
Picks: 4th to 7th.



Cox is a versatile, smart FB. He is a sturdy blocker, and a reliable receiver in the flat. He needs to improve more on his blocking, but there is nothing to complain about here. Cox fits the bill for 2009, and probably beyond.

Mike Cox -- Keep, start.

Need: 1 out of 10.
Pick: Don't.


It's an absolute imperative that we trade Tony G. Not because I dislike the guy, but because he is still an amazing TE, but he will not be around by the time this team is Super Bowl competitive. I say we eat his 2007 signing bonus and trade him for at least a 3rd. Someone out there will take him.

It's also important that we trade him off because he's such a complete package, there's virtually no opportunities for Cottam to play. Cottam will never be the athletic stud that Gonzalez is, but he's proven to have good hands in the preseason and he's a huge target in the middle of the field. He's a great matchup problem. It's cloudy what we have behind him, but if Merritt's as good a blocker as Kuharich makes him out to be, he's our blocking TE. Michael Allan can always be brought back as a #3 TE, but Foschi's just a guy. But the Chiefs will need depth here if Merritt doesn't pan out.

Tony Gonzalez -- Trade for a 3rd.
Brad Cottam -- Keep, start.
Mike Merritt -- Keep.
John Paul Foschi -- Cut.

Need: 3 out of 10.
Pick: 6th-7th.


Really shaky here. It's hard to say if Brian Waters has another season in him, and if he does it's hard to say if he can start. Given the needs across the board for this team, he'll probably have to. Nonetheless, there's no reason to lose him. Adrian Jones, however, is a waste of a roster spot. He is a backup at best. The Chiefs would be best to let him walk since he's an UFA. I'm in favor of trying out Barry Richardson at RG.

Our backup situation at this position is dire. There is nothing there. Edwin Harrison is the best looking guy we have, and he's currently on the practice squad. De La Puente and Tavaris Washington are just guys.

Brian Waters -- Keep, start LG.
Barry Richardson -- Move to RG?
Adrian Jones -- UFA, let him walk.
Edwin Harrison -- Let him earn it in camp.
Brian De La Puente -- Let him earn it in camp.
Tavaris Washington -- Let him earn it in camp.

Need: 7 out of 10.
Pick: 3rd to 5th.


We're a mess here. We've simply got to give youth a chance, and I think Savage is showing us why that's necessary. Drummond was a joke last year, and Sams was developing into one this year. I'm really interested to see Kevin Robinson when he gets healthy, but I see the writing on the wall.

Dantrell Savage -- Keep, let him earn it in camp.
Kevin Robinson -- Keep, let him earn it in camp.
B.J. Sams -- Release.

Need: 2 out of 10.
Picks: 7th.


We are set and happy with Colquitt. He's our MVP, after all.

Dustin Colquitt -- Keep.

Need: 0 out of 10.
Picks: Don't.

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