You want to see this image because, if this is duplicated in real life, Scott Pioli wins the Super Bowl as the Chiefs’ GM and Bill Belichick lost a bet with Pioli somewhere along the way and had to ride on the float.
Now that the season is over for the Chiefs, they can look forward to the draft while hiring a coach, re-signing some players and maybe doing something in free agency. At this point, it is way too early to say much about players who will be draft eligible except for some of the marquee players such as Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson and Jonathan Blackmon. As you might guess, I will only talk about Luck and maybe Robert Griffin III. I want to look at needs without really finding players in the field to draft. You have to see what is broke before you know what needs to be fixed.
It’s About The Quarterback
The number one need for the Chiefs is at quarterback. Matt Cassel is most likely coming back but I think that the grand prize in this offseason is whoever goes mobile in Indy; either Peyton Manning or the pick that represents Andrew Luck. Either one (other than an unreachable Drew Brees) may command the house but both will be worth it. The Chiefs must take every opportunity to get a quarterback that can take the team to a Super Bowl and win it. The chances may not get better than around three years of a healthy Manning (do your own discounting if he is not quite healthy) or years of another generational prospect in Luck. I did not see Luck light the world on fire in Fiesta Bowl but I like what he does and he definitely can play in the NFL. His ceiling given by the experts is much higher and I have to believe they may be right.
If the Chiefs are on the clock and they can draft a quarterback that they believe is a franchise quarterback, they should draft him and that is a no-brainer. I don’t think that Scott Pioli thinks the same way but I hope that he eventually starts to think about life after Cassel sooner rather than later. Sounds like I am a defeated fan but you can hire Romeo Crennel and he may be fine but the more important decision involves the present and future of the quarterback position and I hope Scott Pioli finds the next Tom Brady rather than staying the guy who filled in for Brady one year and got paid $60 million for doing so.
The Offensive Line Needs Help
The next need requires multiple players and this need is offensive line help. I am in favor for moving Brandon Albert, either to right tackle or left guard. I think he would be better suited for either one. Rodney Hudson in at center or left guard, Jon Asamoah stays put at RG and the Chiefs draft two lineman or they draft one and search for a free agent. I don’t see them sticking with Ryan Lilja and I definitely don’t think they have anything to do with Barry Richardson anymore.
Stack The Tight End Position and Keep Stacking Safeties
Now I want to talk about two positions where the Chiefs are good when healthy but would do well to stack these positions often: tight end and safety. Are the Patriots “good” with just having Rob Gronkowski? No, they have Aaron Hernandez too. The Chiefs have a tight end of similar talent with less payoff on the field. No need to replace what Tony Moeaki can be. Getting a tight end or two in the draft can be about adding to what Moeaki can be while insuring against him. Maybe a third tight end who can block in max protect packages and play special teams. I have had enough of Leonard Pope, Jake O’Connell and Anthony Becht and the Chiefs need to upgrade at this position.
As far as the safety position goes, a healthy Eric Berry make the Chiefs defense a Top-10 NFL defense. Kendrick Lewis made some strides this year and really started to be a real safety at the end. Why draft a safety then? Insuring against an injury is not a bad idea but I really can’t think of a team that has too much safety depth and the way the Chiefs run some of their six DB sets, why can’t three of them be real safeties? You can’t get enough depth at this position.
The Chiefs Need More Horses
The Chiefs could focus on running backs, especially late. I would like them to get a workhorse running back with low mileage but more speed may not be a bad thing. I think the Chiefs could find a guy who was like Thomas Jones but when he was young and good. If Jamaal Charles comes back healthy and stays that way, why not have a running back that complements his style? The Chiefs have to stockpile running backs because, as painful as it is to think about, JC won’t be around forever and they need to follow the model where running backs are found in later rounds and they are brought up and succeed because the offensive line can run block and the team is a threat to move the ball in the air. This could start with improvements on the line and a replenishment at running back.
If a player doesn’t already have this ability, I think it is time to move on to finding another kick returner. Javier Arenas has proven to be a decent nickel back and Dexter McCluster is what he is, a small but electric player who is good for a big play once in a while but is not really that dangerous and he is less inspiring at KR than Arenas is. Both players do well to get some decent returns but it just doesn’t seem like either player has that home run threat and the Chiefs could try to find that in the draft.
All in all, a general manager is judged by his drafts and I think a lot of people want to say that Scott Pioli has been bad. I think his drafts to this point will be judged as average in time (except for the 2009 draft; that’s real bad). He does have to get better and that goes hand in hand with coming to grips the fact that the answer at quarterback for the future is not on the Chiefs roster and he needs to go get one.
Whether or not it is true, Pioli is too bought into Cassel but, if the Chiefs would like to get a quarterback who would do well to sit for a couple of years, that can put the heat on Cassel without effectively replacing him. Kevin Kolb turned into a lot despite being a second round quarterback and the Chiefs should be doing all they can to grow talent at the most important position in the game. Ricki Stanzi may fit that mold but he should not be more than a third-string QB at this point. Stanzi definitely needs more time and I would expect nothing less out of a 2011 fifth round pick. They all need time and Stanzi is no exception.
I would hope that the Chiefs have a plan while picking what they believe are the best football players available. At the same time, if it means moving a lot of these picks for a franchise quarterback, you move them. It seems so easy to address the Chiefs needs but they need more than one draft to get to contender status (unless they get Manning or Brees) and they need talent at all points in the draft. They can improve in every position in football and must take that approach when evaluating talent in these next few months.
One last thing, I think the Chiefs will have the ability and the wherewithal to retain both Dwayne Bowe and Brandon Carr. If I had to choose, I would pick Bowe because this is a league about offense and Dwayne Bowe is more valuable than Brandon Carr would be if he were in the lower Top-10 at his position like Bowe is. That said, Brandon Carr is a great cornerback whom the Chiefs would be stupid to part with.