When the Kansas City Chiefs line up to make their 2011 NFL draft selections next week, I think it would be wise of them to focus on experience and the prospects that are ready to play immediately. While this is probably the goal every year, I think it's especially pertinent this year.
That's because, once the Chiefs make their selections and the NFL draft ends, these players' are on their own until the lockout ends. There won't be playbooks handed out and the Chiefs won't immediately get to preparing their rookies for the season as they would in a normal year.
The NFL lockout very well could last into August or September. If JaMarcus Russell's rookie season taught us anything, it's that draft picks waiting until September to get with their team and prepare for the season could be in trouble. (JaMarcus is probably a bad example considering he's arguably the worst draft pick in NFL history)
The Chiefs need players that will work out on their own immediately upon being drafted. They need guys that can pick up an NFL playbook and learn it -- quickly. They need guys that, if the lockout lasts for a while, can hit the ground running.
Selecting a project may not be much of an option, unless you're OK with not getting much production in year one. The Chiefs public comments indicate that they need guys contributing immediately.
That's why I think experience matters with the Chiefs 2011 draft picks. Guys that have started for multiple years and understand the nuances of the game should be a high priority.
We always say these are the types of guys GM Scott Pioli is looking for. That needs to be the case this year for reasons that are beyond the Chiefs control.
Basically, they need another draft like the 2010 class.