I've posted one of these before, seeing as the situation in KC has been changed lately I'd like to go over what has happen and what must happen for Kansas City to be in contention once more.
Step 1) Hire Todd Haley
Step one in my original plan was all that really came to realization, that was to hire Todd Haley as our head coach. I could not be more happy with the decision to do so. However I'd like to follow up step one a little more thoroughly with whom we should hire as our DC and OC. Right now the DC job is up in the air. There really aren't any proven coaches willing to make a lateral jump to a team that went out of last season as the second worst defense in the league (next to the 0-16 Lions), all the while setting a record for sack ineptness with 10 total sacks on the season. It seems we are down to Romeo Crennel and Clancy Pendergast as far as experienced coaches go. I would love to have Keith Butler as our DC but I think Arizona is going to throw the bank at him. Plus with Wisenhunt leading the Cards his connections to Pittsburgh should pretty much seal the deal. I like Crennel the most given our options, fact is he is an elite D coordinator, I trust that he will be able to run a 4-3 if needs be. Plus he specialized in defensive lines, we could use that given our situation. We could at the same time ease into switching to a 3-4 should the 4-3 not work so well. 3-4 DT's often fare well in 4-3 defenses because of the falloff of pressure on them. So there's no saying we couldn't make the switch from 4-3 to 3-4 eventually if we go after a solid NT soon and let him play DT until were ready to make the switch. As for the OC situation, KEEP GAILEY. Imagine the destruction the Haley/Gailey era would reap? Gailey is too good of a talent to let go of.
Step 2) Get Karlos Dansby
I don't know why every one is so high on Jonathan Vilma. He's a solid performer don't get me wrong but his name is practically engraved into every teams IR list that he has ever played for. Karlos Dansby still hasn't been coined with the franchise tag and the Cardinals have had some time to do it. There are talks going on between his agent and the Cardinals, this means they don't plan to apply the franchise tag to save some money. If I were Dansby I'd test free agent waters. Dansby is an absolute BEAST at inside linebacker and he could play both 3-4 and 4-3, Arizona ran both. He was a key to Arizona's playoff run and is only 27. Haley could draw him to us.
Step 3) Retain Jason Babin
Does nobody realize that Jason Babin got two sacks in the three games he played in KC? I think we may have a talent here and we could probably resign him for a small price. Turk McBride is in his final year of "young d-lineman" excuse eligibility and if he doesn't compete soon he may be cut as soon as next season. I think Jason Babin and a 2nd or 3rd round DE could fire up the competition in training camp and we could end up saving money. The popular argument is go out and grab Julius Peppers. I don't see it happening, Peppers looks like a sure defect for some money laden team with playoff potential, Tennessee, has got some major cap and could throw some serious coin his way. Denver has got some cap to spend as well, they're switching to the 3-4 this season and it's been said that Peppers wants to leave to play OLB in a 3-4 system. It may ultimately end up being that Peppers is franchised and traded for a couple first rounders, picks we can't afford to give up.
Step 4) Get Vernon Carey
There's been rumors Vernon Carey is going to get the franchise tag slapped on him. I don't buy it. The Dolphins haven't done it yet and were a couple days pass eligibility. Plus I don't think the dolphins want two tackles with ridiculously high salaries. The Dolphins gave up ten sacks the whole season and Vernon Carey was a huge part of that playing opposite Jake Long. Carey is only 28 and can play both left and right tackle. A trait that may prove vital should Barry Richardson pan out as a starter. Then we could slide Albert in to guard, and put Carey at left tackle in the event that Brian Waters retires.
Step 5) Get Chris Kemoeatu
His production went down this year as a result of playing next to Max Starks and Justin Hartwig, both of whom could stand to be replaced. But Kemoeatu is a legitimate guard that we can get for a low price. He has had two Super Bowl starts, and is hardly ever injured. We could wind up with a legitimate starter in this guy if we can get Vernon Carey into camp. Plus he's only 26 so he could even be a project with veteran experience with some good coaching if anything else.
via media.scout.com via upload.wikimedia.org
Step 6) KEEP GONZALEZ, trade LJ
As I have said before keeping Tony Gonzalez on our team for this year will delay the need for a #3 receiver and the need for a Franchise QB. It's been widely said that Gonzalez has had his best years these past couple years, and could play solid for another two seasons. With Gonzalez catching passes Thigpen looks a lot better at QB. They have deveoped a real chemistry together and Gonzalez's services for another two years will help Thigpen develop into an NFL quarterback. This means we can use our Draft picks in other areas such as the O line. Larry Johnson's stock right now may be the highest it will ever be with him in a Chiefs uniform. I still wish he was willing to stay, despite how terrible he is off the field, his on the field production is excellent when he has a decent O-Line to run behind. Then again that applies to most NFL running backs, which is why we need to trade LJ for whatever he's worth and use the draft pick(s) to build up an O-Line for the Charles/ Smith combo. I think a third from the Pats is pretty reasonable, they're the only team to even show any sort of interest for his services. Another huge plus in trading away LJ is we trade off his ridiculous cap number as well, that drops his stock considerably, but who knows maybe the cowboys will want another convict to destroy their talented self- destructing franchise.
Step 7) The big day
Here's where I think we should spend our picks assuming LJ is traded for New England's third. I've posted a draft before but this one's a little different because I've factored in some free agent signings.
Round 1-Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest. The dudes a cant miss prospect and the fact that he can play every position in a linebacking core means we can slide him to the strong side. This will give us a legitimate linebacking core with Derrick Johnson at weak and Karlos Dansby at inside backer.
Round 2-Max Unger, C, Oregon. If not for Alex Mack Max Unger could very well have gone in the first round. Max Unger is one of the better center prospects to come along in a while, he could bolster our O-Line for a long time because he's consistently healthy and does well when he's in.
Round 3- A) Fili Moala, DT/DE, USC. This pick almost makes too much sense. Fili Moala can play DE in a 3-4 and DT in a 4-3. He's a perfect player for us going into the future if we plan on switching, and if not he could be a huge body playing next to Dorsey, the two could create some serious issues for defenses.
Round 3-B) Rashad Jennings, RB, Liberty. Basically the truck in the RBBC that's bound to replace Larry Johnson after we trade him. Rashad Jennings is a brute coming out of the backfield and has some agility about him as him as well. Had the need for running backs in the NFL not been so low he could have gone in the second instead we nab him at the bottom of the third.
Round 4- Nathan Brown, QB, Central Arkansas. From what I hear this kid is pretty good, and that he has been talking to our scouts. I'm going to take a leap on this one and hope Pioli catches us with this guy. If we draft him on day two however, the expectations for him will be crazy. The Tom Brady rumors will be worse than the Warren Sapp rumors when Dorsey was drafted.
Round 5- Rey Feinga, OG, BYU. Basically some competition to help push Kemoeatu to play as a legitimate starter. He's vastly underrated given his speed/size. He runs a 5.2 and is 6'5" 329 pounds. If he pans out well, we could always groom him to replace Brian Waters at LG when he retires.
Round 6- Ryan Mouton, CB, Hawaii. He has a sick 40 (4.3) time but is underrated due to the fact that he went to Hawaii for college. With Flowers, Carr, and Leggett this is a luxury pick. He played some FS in Hawaii so we could always put him there if anything else, and he returns kicks so there may be value there as well.
Round 7- Ian Johnson, RB, Boise State. Still Ian Johnson. except now this pick is a little less pressing. He would be more of a camp body taking some returns he may pan out to be a better version of Kolby Smith however given his sick numbers in college, then we'd be rolling deep with an "earth wind and fire" backfield rolling for us. Then again he may ultimately be cut from the team. This pick could also be Antonio Dixon (more on him below) if his stock rises at the combine.
I would rather take a kicker in round five in Florida's Graham Gonel, he's on point all the time and he's hit 5 of 7 attempts past fifty yards. He's no Mason Crosby but he's a step up from Connor Barth, but we can't afford to be thinking of a kicker in this rebuilding phase.
Step 8) You Know the rest
The starting lineups go as follows
Wide Receivers- Bowe, Bradley, Franklin, Darling
Tight Ends- Gonzalez, Cottam, Meritt
O-Line (left to right)- Albert, Waters, Unger, Kemoeatu, Carey
QB- Winner of Thigpen/ Brown/ Gray camp battle
RBBC- Charles(wind),Jennings(earth), winner of Johnson/Smith camp battle (fire)
Corners- Flowers, Carr, Leggett, Mouton
Safeties- Winner of Morgan/ Page/ Mouton camp battle, Pollard
Linebackers (weak to strong)- Johnson, Dansby, Curry
Linemen (LE to RE)- Hali,winner of Moala/Tyler camp battle, Dorsey, winner of Babin/ McBride/Moala camp battle.
Rookie FA's to watch for: (I've only got two for you.)
Jeremy Perry, LG/RG, Oregon state. He's a quick guard and could end up being a hidden gem for us just like Brian Waters. His freshman and sophomore campaigns were nothing short of outstanding for someone as young as he is,he made Pac-10 rookie of the year and was headed for an all-star berth in the Pac-10 his sophmore year until he damaged his knee. Such injury concerns have dropped his stock from the third round all the way to undrafted. If we can give him a year to rehab we could take a chance with him in 2010.
Antonio Dixon, DT, Miami. Not the best candidate for stats but he could be a Pat Williams like pickup, because this kids got size. Standing at 6-3 328 pounds he could clog some holes up for us in a 3-4, or just be a body to take up running space in a 4-3, also allowing Dorsey to rip it up. If his lack of numbers is due to a lack of passion then there's only so much we can do, but no loss in cutting a rookie free agent anyway. This is all assuming he doesn't get drafted in the 7th. His size alone has been raising his stock.
With these pieces in place we are SET to make a playoff run. That's two big name free agents and a free agent flying under the radar. obviously the concerns are going to be QB, RG, and RE. If they don't pan out then we can make a run at both QB and RE in next years draft. It's not like our D-line situation could get any worse.Our Guard problem could be solved pretty quickly should Kemoeatu not pan out. Niswager could prove to be a serviceable guard to pull us through until the end of the season. I think with a staff of head coaches in Kansas City (Crennel, Gailey, Haley) all of them being very good at what they do, working with these new weapons could make for a dangerous team. I know the chances of it going this way are one in a million but I'm just making a case. All of the moves listed are for the long run, keep that in mind.
Tell me what you guys think!